Part 1 – Ideas I have cultivated from an embodied yoga practice
In the next two blog posts, I will express a series of ideas that I have cultivated from my daily embodied yoga practice. These thoughts, some rather evident and some more obscure, have woven themselves into the fabric of my being and I continually call upon these pillars, these anchors, for humility, grace, support, and guidance. Perhaps these principles can help all of us see ourselves and each other more clearly.
The intention to pay attention brings clarity.
When I remember to pay attention to a specific relationship in my body, eventually that focused attention in a particular area brings clarity and I get better at finding that relationship. For instance, paying attention to my pelvic halves relating to my legs and feet; through focused attention, I develop a more keen sense of this relationship. The familiar sensation or perception of what I once experienced, gradually shifts over time, bringing forth a freshness, an unfamiliar perception in an area of body. The intention to attend to, listen, feel, stay awake and let my body move without getting in the way of its’ wisdom, as best I can, continually brings forth a deeper and clearer understanding of myself. There is always another facet to learn about yourself.
Get curious about the relationships in your life.
Every day, I open my tissues and my skin, I move my muscles and bones, I roll through my organs, in order to awaken to the continuity and presence of me. More of me becomes available to feel, respond, move, breathe and enter into a rich conversation, full of various relationships and pathways. These rich relationships and conversations with myself, allows me to be present and open to having rich relationships and conversations with others. The more I listen, see and feel in myself, the more I am able to see and empathize with others. Opening to the beauty of myself helps me remember to open my eyes to see the amazing beauty in others. This internal embodied practice does not bring me so far into myself that I can see only me, it brings me so far into myself so that I can expand out and be available to hold and support others with compassion and understanding to the best of my ability.
Difficult is okay.
Difficult moments arise often in life, and this fact remains true in one’s practice on the mat. When I practice, I work to meet the difficulty with patience and acceptance, and I continue to hold myself with understanding and support as I move through the challenging experience. The more I go through this process, the more I trust that I can get through a moment even if it is difficult. I learn to be with the difficult or uncomfortable experience. The difficult or the uncomfortable will change, and knowing that reminds me, again and again, that I can grow more capacity for feeling, for difficulty and for challenging moments.
Respond vs React .
The more I practice from an embodied perspective of yoga, the more I become conscious of how it is I am responding in any moment. Practicing this way develops self awareness and trust in the intelligence of my body. When I trust my body, and as I become more self aware, I am more able to feel where I might be hiding, harming or serving… where I might be over reacting, over doing or not doing enough. As I spend time feeling, sensing and perceiving, this gives me the support and trust to adapt and respond to the moment in front of me. To react is to shut down, or to act quickly or impulsively without reflection or awareness. We need to practice in a way that makes pausing, feeling and reflecting our default mode… we need to make space to be responsive, to be curious, to step back and see how else we might approach a given situation.