14 Ways to Cultivate Inner Wisdom

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Like courage, optimism and mindful presence can be cultivated, so too can our connection to intuition. In fact, everyone—every body—holds this wisdom; we've just forgotten how to listen. Here are 10 ways to turn up the volume on this trustworthy inner voice:

1. MEDITATE. Messages from intuition tend to be quiet—much quieter than your mental chatter. Create space to explore what lies beneath the analyzing, planning and rehashing.

2. USE YOUR SENSES. Intuition is often called a "sixth sense", more subtle than the other five. That's why paying attention to our other senses is a great way to develop the sensitivity required total into this more elusive one. 

3. NOTICE YOUR DREAMS. When the cognitive mind is busy, it can override the subconscious mind—a wellspring of intuition. Conversely, when you are asleep space opens for the subconscious mind to unveil itself in the form of dreams.

4. INVITE CREATIVITY. Allowing free-following movement in any form (drawing, writing, dancing, singing...) is another way we bypass this analytical aspect of our mind. In doing so you also get in touch with your bodies—and the sensations, energies and feelings it holds. 

5. TRY IT OUT. Getting a sense that it will rain tomorrow even though the weather forecast says it won't? Have a feeling a friend has good news to share? When you feelings about what might happen in the future, write them down and then check later to see if your hunch was indeed intuition.

7. CONNECT WITH YOUR BODY. Intuition speaks through the body so the more you cultivate somatic awareness, the more sensitive you become. If you get an uncomfortable physical feeling when you're trying to make a decision, pay attention. Do you feel light or heavy? Got a sick feeling in your gut? It could just be the result of stress responses activated by false fear, but it could also be your intuition ringing loud and clear.

8. TAKE A BREAK. Get away. Slow down. Spend a day in comfort with nothing planned. When you're overly busy, it's hard to be sensitive to the quiet voices of intuition. Try clearing your schedule and see if your intuition pipes up.

9. VISIT WITH NATURE. Being in the natural world—away from technology and other distractions—can open up the kind of intuition once needed when we as a species lived outdoors and relied upon it to keep us safe.

10. LEARN FROM THE PAST. Recall a negative experience from your past (ideally something fairly recent that you can easily picture). Before this thing happened, think back to whether or not you got any feelings that urged you to steer clear. You may remember a gut feeling indicating something wasn't right. Or perhaps  you had a foreshadowing dream or a vision. If so, did you pay attention or did you talk yourself out of it? Try to recall as many details as possible and how you felt in the experience. The more you can get in touch with those quiet cues, the more likely you'll hear—and head to—them next time.

11. FEEL MORE (THINK LESS). The mind thinks, intuition feels. If you're not sure whether you're listening to your fearful mind or your trustworthy intuition, see if you can differentiate whether you're thinking or feeling.

12. CREATE ALIGNMENT. Your mind may steer you away from your integrity, but your intuition never will. Become comfortable with how you feel when you're betraying your values, and you'll learn what intuition doesn't feel like. Learn what it feels like to behave in alignment with your values, and you'll start to sense your intuition more clearly.

13. PRACTICE WITH OTHERS. See what kind of information you can glean from observing people and feeling their energetic signature before you engage. The more you pay attention, the more you'll realize you already know things that weren't available to your cognitive mind.

14. LEAN IN. Be loving with yourself when you get an intuitive hunch, and disruptive as it may feel. With kindness and curiosity, lean in to the messages emerging from within. Trust that inner knowing that always present, waiting for you to tune in. 

Sachi Doctor

Elemental Alchemy, 90 Rio Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94611

Sachi Doctor is an Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach who founded Elemental Alchemy with the mission to provide a resource for those navigating their way towards optimal mind-body health.

Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at a young age, Sachi has spent over twenty years exploring different health modalities, treatment plans, diets and mindfulness practices to help alleviate chronic pain and restore balance.

After years of looking to others for a model of health with no relief, Sachi realized that the answers she sought were not hidden in someone else’s prescription for wellness but unique to her, and that the first step towards discovery was actually tuning out what was right for others and tuning into herself.

As she tapped into the wisdom of her own body, she discovered that the elements foundational for health  — the blueprint she so fervently sought — was within her, within each of us. Since then Sachi has been passionate about helping others also cultivate clarity and inner wisdom for vibrant health.

In addition to her Ayurvedic and nutrition education, Sachi has completed over 800 hours of yoga teacher training and continues to study with her mother, her first yoga teacher, for whom these practices are a way of life.

Sachi is a board member of the Prison Yoga Project at San Quentin State Prison and serves as an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit that raises funds within the US yoga community to support microcredit programs for women in India. She holds a Msc in Development from the London School of Economics.