One of the definitions of integrity is “the state of being whole.” I think that is a perfect definition for it.  I know personally that if I am out of integrity with myself or another person I feel as if I am disassociating from my soul and it is left outside my body shaking its finger at me with a disapproving look on its face. Not a good feeling.

We all step out of integrity at times; it is what being a human being is all about. We make mistakes, make amends to ourselves or others and try harder, then we fail again, get back up and try again. Imperfections are what make us human.

We all have different ideas of what  integrity means to us, but one thing that most people who I have talked to about this subject agree with it’s that integrity means being true to one self.  You might ask, “well, this is all great and dandy, but how do I know if I am being true to myself?” As I said earlier, for me it is simple. I can feel my soul’s disapproval of my behavior, but if this is a complete foreign concept to you, then let’s start with the basics.

Yoga. Yes, I said it. Yoga.

Let me give you a little bit of background. I have been teaching yoga for almost 10 years and over the course of the past decade I have seen the practice evolve and become more main stream. What I have also seen is that the word Yoga has morphed into many different interpretations, from a good stretch to a powerful workout, but one thing that the masses have a tendency to forget is that Yoga means Union; Union and connection to one another and to one’s soul.

So why can yoga help you understand integrity? It is simple. To fully experience a yoga class, you must let go of all ideas of perfection, accept where you are at, how your body feels and not put any judgment on it. Not an easy thing to do when you are practicing next to someone who is standing in a perfect tree pose and you can barely lift your right foot of your mat for 2 seconds without falling over. It is when you can smile, be patient with yourself and accept what is without comparing yourself to the person next to you that you are fully being true to yourself. It is through acceptance of oneself that we can connect to our soul. Once the connection is established it becomes easier and easier to realize if you are making the wrong turn so to speak.  Your soul will tell you.  Some might call it a gut feeling.  Call it whatever helps you, but know that it starts with you and your complete surrender.

The main thing that often takes us out of integrity is our ego. Our ego stops our surrender to what is.  It wants to control and manipulate and play God. To have integrity, the ego cannot be involved because then it becomes about being right to prove someone or something wrong, and it stops being about keeping us whole and in alignment with our soul.

I will leave you with these words a dear friend of mine said to me years ago when I came to yoga and was fighting so hard to be perfect in every pose.  He told me to surrender to God. At the time the idea of God made me raise my eyebrows and roll my eyes. He said to me not to think of God as the God religion describes, but to surrender to a God of my understanding. It took me a while to grasp the concept, but one day I told him after class that I thought I finally understood what he said about a God of my understanding. He said that this was great, but I still wasn’t surrendering to God. At that point I was frustrated and getting ready to walk away when he said something so simple, but so powerful, that it changed my entire practice and my way of being in my integrity.  He said “It doesn’t matter if you believe in God and what type of God you believe in.  Just know that you are not Him and stop trying to control everything, and just be.”

So here you have it. May your yoga bring you bliss and a better understanding of who you are.

Below is a Kundalini meditation which is called “the ego eradicator”.  Practice it for 3 minutes every day for 40 days and see great changes in you.

Ego-eradicator pose


Raise your arms at 60 degree angle with your thumbs up. Do breath of fire for 3 minutes. To end inhale deeply, hold your breath and touch your thumbs together with arms straight above head.

Malaurie Barber is the creator of the yoga DVD series “Not Your Everyday Yoga.” She lives in Orange County where she teaches yoga and holds a private massage and life coaching practice. She can be found at


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