The Enneagram is a map of personality based on motivations. It shows how we see the world and act accordingly from our innermost motivations, fears and needs. Once we see these patterns clearly, we can be open to transformation. Far from typing you into a box, discovering your type allows you to see how you perceive things through a colored lens. With this knowledge, you are able to transcend your habitual pitfalls and build on your inherent strengths.
The Enneagram of Personality and the Practice of Yoga
The Practice of Yoga and the Enneagram are powerful when used together. First, an understanding of oneself is valuable as one explores a spiritual practice. One can also use the yoga postures to experience the concepts presented in the Enneagram and to achieve emotional and energetic balance. Using this knowledge an optimum practice can be designed for each Enneagram personality type.
The foundation of the Enneagram pattern is a triad of centers: the Gut, the Heart, and the Head. Each personality type has a certain balance of these three centers. Riso and Hudson, leading developers of the Enneagram, have observed that working with the third, or unused center, is very helpful for finding emotional balance.
The idea of centers brings us to the study of chakras. The practice of yoga is directly related to balancing our energetic anatomy, which includes the seven chakras. The chakras are vortexes of bio-electrical energy located along the spine, occurring in basically the same location as the physical nerve complexes, and each corresponding to a certain aspect of our lives. Each chakra has a certain energetic influence over the mind and body. Particular yoga postures, sequences, and even breathing techniques (pranayama) affect the chakras.
I reasoned that based on this understanding an optimal yoga practice for each Enneagram type could be developed. My proposal is that you focus on postures related to the unused center.
The Nine Passions, Lenses or Veils
1. ANGER / RESENTMENT – Anger is repressed, leading to continual frustration and dissatisfaction.
2. PRIDE – Inability or unwillingness to acknowledge one’s own needs or suffering.
3. DECEIT – Deceived into believing one is only the Ego, a focus on the exterior self.
4. ENVY – A feeling the something within is fundamentally missing.
5. AVARICE – A withholding of energy and resources, and minimization of needs.
6. FEAR / ANXIETY – A constant state of apprehension and worry about possible future events.
7. GLUTTONY – The insatiable desire to fill up with experiences and pursue a variety of stimulating ideas and activities.
8. LUST – A drive for constant intensity, control and self-extension.
9. SLOTH – A reluctance to fully engage in life and avoidance of conflict.
“The beautiful thing is that there are at least nine primary ways to experience Divine Essence and awaken to Source. The Reformers experience Source as Perfection, the Helpers as Love, the Achievers as Magnificence, the Individualists as Creativity, the Investigators as Intelligence/Wisdom, the Loyalists as Faithful Communion, the Enthusiasts as Bountiful Joy, the Challengers as Omnipresent Power, the Peacemakers as Peaceful Harmony. Like colors of a rainbow, they make up the spectrum of the Divine Experience.”
From Yoga Nine Ways: Awakening to Source… by Debi Saraswati Lewis
What are these Nine Patterns?
Gut - Body - Anger Basic Fear Spiritual Gifts
8. Challenger Being harmed or controlled. Strength, Confidence
9. Peacemaker Experiencing conflict or separation. Peace, Harmony, Connection
1. Reformer Being bad or wrong Integrity, Moral Vision
Heart - Feeling - Shame
2. Helper Being unwanted, unworthy of love. Compassion, Generosity
3. Achiever Being worthless, unsuccessful Paragon of Virtue, Skilled, Talented
4. Individualist Having no identity or significance. Creative, Emotionally Deep, Empathic
Head - Thinking - Anxiety
5. Investigator Being useless, incapable Perceptive, Knowledgeable
6. Loyalist Being without support or guidance. Security Conscious, Faithful
7. Enthusiast Being deprived, trapped or in pain. Enthusiasm, Joy, Productivity