MONTEREY — For some, talk of the higher self might be akin to a foreign language. For others, like Nanette V. Hucknall, this terminology rolls off the tongue. Not only is Hucknell, the founder and president emeritus of Higher Self Yoga, fluent in this form of communication, she has also spent a lifetime studying spirituality and psychology. Her goal is to help others on their own personal journeys, and one way she’s doing it is through her new book, “Higher Self Yoga: A Practical Teaching,” a recent winner of the 2022 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.
“The Higher Self is in everyone,” Hucknall told The Edge, pointing to the spiritual part of the individual “that is connected to the source,” (yet distinctly separate from religion) where one’s positive characteristics reside — including creativity, wisdom, inspiration, and unconditional love.
“[The Higher Self] knows exactly what vocation you should be in,” said Hucknall, who started off in New York City as an art director before pursuing career therapy and ultimately psychotherapy. Over the course of four decades, Hucknall has had cause to use her own Higher Self to overcome problems, navigate relationships and understand her personality. This book offers practical applications for others to use in their day-to-day lives, the very desire that drove Hucknall to start Higher Self Yoga more than three decades ago.
Using yoga in its original sense — not as a physical practice, but rather a spiritual one — the potential for personal growth expands exponentially with spiritual development. “Your heart is your conduit to the Higher Self,” Hucknall said, pointing to a primary focus fueled by “the wise being within.” It is this alignment with one’s inner wisdom that allows an individual to become the best possible version of themself.
“Our Higher Self knows our purpose in life, and encompasses our potential to live a fulfilling and joyous life through personal growth and self-awareness,” said Hucknall. This book, her eighth, is an approachable guide for personal discovery that taps into the reader’s unknown potential, unexamined desires and new possibilities that can be applied to myriad arenas — spanning career to spiritual development. The use of colorful anecdotes coupled with exercises provides a step-by-step approach for anyone at any stage of their journey. In a fitting nod to the personal work involved, Hucknall’s book won in the “Self Help” category.
“I was really, really surprised to win the award,” said Hucknall of the prestigious, international recognition, honoring an outstanding contribution by an author or book to the industry or society at large. Experienced editors and judges select books based on content, quality, writing, style, presentation, and cover design. And, while the publication of this book feels both timely and evergreen, “it was written two years ago,” said Hucknall, who discovered the Higher Self when studying psychosynthesis, which is rooted in the human inclination toward finding wholeness.
“The founder of psychosynthesis, an Italian man called Roberto Assagioli (1888–1974), taught about the Higher Self and [encouraged practitioners] to use it in their therapy work,” she said of the medical doctor, first psychoanalyst in Italy, and contemporary of Freud and Jung. In addition to her extensive writing, Hucknall offers a free, online introduction to Connecting with the Higher Self: Guided Experience. The eponymous experience is based on the writing, lessons, and exercises from earlier works and aims to develop a sincere relationship with the wise being within.
After four decades of practice, Hucknall is well-versed in moving this way. What begins with routine exercises eventually evolves into a way of being, “where you start to awaken, and all you do is just link to your heart,” she said. “I think it would change the world if everyone was talking about this.”