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Revealing Our True Natures


Years ago I heard an anecdotal story about the famous Italian artist, Michelangelo. While I have no idea if it’s true, the message so moved me and altered my perspective that the message became true for me. When you hear it, perhaps you’ll feel the same way.

Michelangelo is indisputably one of the greatest artists ever. He is perhaps best known for his sculptures of the Pieta (so delicate and lovely) and David (so visceral and strong). Of course, he was a true Renaissance man of many talents, and was also the master painter behind the scenes at the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

The story goes that Michelangelo saw himself as more of a revealer of art and beauty than a creator. It is said that when he looked at a huge slab of marble (from which, for example, David would be made), that he could already see the perfection of what God, or the Divine, had embedded within the slab.

It was not his job to “create” the sculpture. His job, as he saw it, was to reveal it. He would carefully, methodically, and masterfully chip away at that which did not belong, until the inherent beauty was finally, painstakingly revealed.

In white tantric yoga, we see the human spirit in much the same way. It is not our job to create ourselves, as our inherent perfection is already deeply embedded within us. At our core essence we are essentially good, radiant, complete human beings. It is only our task to reveal our true nature.

With compassion in our hearts, our job as yogis is to carefully, methodically, and mindfully chip away at all those elements that hide our true beauty. Against the meanness, the low self-esteem, the fear, our breath and awareness can act as a master’s sculpting tool. We carefully bring awareness to where our work lies and slowly expunge those aspects of our psyche that cause us (and others) suffering.

As a yoga teacher I consistently encourage students to take this approach with their lives. And I encourage you to do the same as well. You are already wired for success. Allow your mindfulness, as led by your conscious awareness of your breath, to be the master sculpting tool that can help you manifest joy. What could be more beautiful?

Will Donnelly

Will Donnelly is a nationally recognized, certified yoga teacher and writer, and is the author of “Practical Yoga’s Wisdom for Everyday People: Essays & Inspiration for Life" (2017), a compilation of his most popular online essays now available at Will has been a pioneer in the field of yoga, developing Practical Yoga, and co-creating a yoga–reality series for fitTV (Discovery Communications, 2004). As a writer and teacher, Will encourages all students to trust their impulses and find their true voice. Will currently lives in Hawaii, where he leads weekly yoga and writing classes at Kalani retreat center. He also leads several popular Practical Yoga adventure and healing retreats throughout the year. Information on retreats, his book, DVDs and other inspiration to be found at

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Practical Yoga's Wisdom for Everyday People: Essays & Inspiration for Life 
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Holiday Yoga Retreat (7th Year!) December 21 - 27, 2017

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