Faith Hunter, author of Spiritually Fly: Wisdom, Meditations, and Yoga to Elevate the Soul, offers a technique for diving deep with your demons.
We all have little demons lurking in the closet. If these demons are continually ignored, physical and emotional blockages surface that ultimately keep us from living healthy, balanced, and full lives.
I’ve learned through experience that suppression mani- fests into varying levels of discomfort. In fact, it has pushed me headfirst into the fires of self-loathing. The crazy part is that we know these demons hold us back from living our best life, but somehow our fears keep us under their control.
To fight the fear and make another choice, we have to do the work. There’s no getting around it, nor can we spiritually ghost our demons. The work requires us to dance in the shadows of the soul and commune with the spirits.
I believe we have to see our emotional demons as what make us whole and use them to make positive, conscious choices based on our highest self.
I honestly thought my yoga and meditation practices made me a better person, that they would keep me in a state of love and light. Well, they didn’t! Yoga, meditation, breath- work, ayahuasca, and many other spiritual practices hold the heart while we walk in the dark. All of these and many others are beautiful methods of personal elevation, but as complex humans, we have to use an assortment of tools to recalibrate our minds and rewire our hearts. So here we go.
INNER DEMON EXAMINATION EXERCISE
This exercise can begin the process of recalibrating. It includes a mix of breathwork, journaling, and meditation. Before moving through this process, I recommend giving yourself time to feel and experience. Carve out 30–45 minutes in a safe and comfortable environment where you will not be disturbed. Don’t be hard on your- self. Instead, show yourself compassion and love
WHAT YOU NEED: pen, paper, and an open heart.
STEP 1: In a seated position, close your eyes, and take 10–15 long, deep breaths. Relax your shoulders and only focus on your breath.
STEP 2: Answer these questions as honestly as you can:
- What characteristics or behaviors did you dislike in your parents (or caretakers, etc.)?
- How do you classify these behaviors: shameful, embarrassing, aggressive, etc.?
- When you notice these aspects in others, how does it make you feel?
- Do you periodically see these in yourself?
STEP 3: Identify one characteristic or behavior. Write it in the center on a blank piece of paper. Close your eyes and practice Breath of Fire for one minute. Breath of Fire is a rapid, rhythmic, and continuous breathing pattern, with inhales and exhales of equal length, two to three cycles per second, through the nose. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your spine straight. At the end, breathe in and hold the breath for five to ten seconds. Then exhale with force through the mouth. Repeat this two times.
The power in Breath of Fire is generated from the navel and solar plexus, and you should expel the air out by drawing the navel toward the spine. Breath of Fire amplifies the engagement of the core, which increases digestion and purification.
Pairing Breath of Fire with this recalibration exercise aids in gaining more clarity around your feelings because there’s a clear and open pathway of energy moving upward toward the third eye and crown of the head. (Caution: Do not practice Breath of Fire if you are pregnant or on the first few days of your moon cycle, or if you have any relevant physical limitations.)
STEP 4: Set your timer for ten minutes. Remain seated or lie down on your back. Close your eyes and visualize your favorite place in nature. Feel your feet grounded beneath you and a sense of safety, security, and stability.
Once you feel this, begin to think about a time during childhood where you saw the selected behavior or characteristic in yourself or someone else. See how this behavior or characteristic was shamed or criticized. Take note of your age. Observe all the feelings you experienced in this moment of life. Slowly begin to shift the story of this situation by letting go of the shame, fear, and uncomfortable thoughts.
If your parents or another adult caused the negative thoughts, visualize how they could have approached the situation differently. If it was another child, use your voice by speaking up for yourself. This is your moment to recalibrate the story of the emotional demon. Remain still for a few more seconds after the alarm goes off. Then slowly begin to bring yourself out of the meditative state.
STEP 5: Write or draw whatever came to mind during the meditation around the characteristic you wrote in the center of the paper in Step 3. Describe the feelings and shifts. I recommend working on this behavior or characteristic multiple times until this aspect is no longer owning or guiding your heart and thoughts. It could take weeks to months to experience a major difference, so know it’s okay to repeat the meditation two to three times a week while your subconscious is recalibrating.
This exercise is simply one approach to start the process. So remember, your deep personal work is a spiritual practice of peeling back layers of old habits and behaviors. As you move along the haze and heaviness, know the uncomfortableness far outweighs a lifetime of hiding. Be kind and patient with your heart, and give your soul space to heal.
Read Spiritually Fly: Wisdom, Meditations, and Yoga to Elevate the Soul by Faith Hunter.