Ikigai- your reason for being

This was something I learned about early on in my Yoga Teacher Training with @arrichion. Whether you are a yoga teacher, yoga student, or neither of those finding your Ikigai is said to bring joy and fulfillment to your everyday life. Ikigai (pronounced Ick-ee-guy) is derived from two Japanese words “Iki” which means to live and “gai” which means reason. Finding your ikigai is finding your sense of purpose or your reason for being (think motivation, inspiration, your true self). Ikagai is a feeling, an expression, and your reason for getting out of bed in the morning.

Finding your ikigai takes some deep digging. I also believe it is ever changing- as you grow, your ikigai may grow and evolve. I am including two versions of ikagai here because after doing some research I have found there is some variance. The original ikigai shown in the first graphic is the intersection of

  • Hobbies and interests
  • Values
  • Roles and relationships
  • Presence

The westernized ikigai shown in the second graphic is the convergence of

  • What you are good at
  • What you love
  • What the world needs
  • What you can be paid for

There are many obvious similarities between the two versions and at the intersection of these elements we find our ikigai.

What I love about this ongoing exercise (especially right now when we are all feeling unsure of the future and often feeling cooped up) is that it is simple to do. Life can get us down, throw us around, and get in the way of us remembering our why. Finding your ikigai may not fix that but it may give your some peace, ground your feet in your why, and remind you of all of the joyful things in your life. All you need is a piece of paper, a pencil, and some quiet time to reflect. There are also some cool online versions you can use. On Creately you can edit and create right on your device and Dandy People has a really in depth printable version!

I hope this exercise speaks to some of you and helps guide you to identifying your ikigai and using it to be joyful and intentional in your daily life.

Follow these 10 rules to find your ikigai

1. Stay active and don’t retire.
2. Take it slow- adopt a slower pace of life.
3. Do not fill your stomach- think 80% full.
4. Surround yourself with positive people & friends.
5. Get in shape through daily exercise (walk, stretch, move, do what feels good for your body).
6. Smile and acknowledge people around you.
7. Reconnect with nature.
8. Give thanks.
9. Live in the moment.
10. Follow your ikigai.

Rules inspired by the best selling book “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles.

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