Cooler weather invites a deeper quieter yoga practice. A perfect opportunity to hear our own dialogue and embody the wisdom that brings deep inner peace.
Yoga recognizes that we have several bodies called koshas; the physical, breath, mind, personality and emotional body. Each has a language of their own and communicates to us.
Most of the time in our busy lives it's all too easy to get stuck in the mental layer, which reflects into our yoga practice like a dictator, telling the body how to move by saying 'am I doing this right' or 'I can't do that I am not flexible enough'.
This has some positive effects because you are questioning what you are doing, but doesn't guarantee or imply embodiment or integration into our mind-body layers.
So what is embodiment?
Yoga is a practice that works towards a goal of mind and body union Our perception and action are used as the means to quieten the mind and move into meditation. Our bodies are like an archaeological library of all the experiences we've had since our birth. The held tension in our shoulders from years of responsibilities, or the hurt from a fall. Yoga with its wonderful invitation to turn inward, gives us the tools to discover the wisdom of these internal movements and the movement of our minds.
“Instead of directing the body as a separate entity, we relocate our minds within our body and begin to listen to the nonverbal, nonmental information contained within the soma. As we give our full attention to every breath, movement, and the subtlest of sensations, the body becomes mindful, the mind becomes embodied." Donna Farhi
One of the most important texts of yoga, The Yoga Sutras, written by Patanjali describes yoga as the cessations of the fluctuations of mind.
chitti vritti nirodhah sutra 1.2
Slowing down. Getting curious and courageous
So with the winters invitation to slow down, and explore the depths of interoception, here are some tips to awaken and work with the gifts of your body-mind.
- start with a baseline check in of body breath and mind. Ask yourself 'what is here right now as sensation or emotion that I can feel in my body?
- instead of automatically diving into a sequence, instead, use a gentle breath centred movement to begin opening and awakening a conversation with the body through movement.
- notice when the mental body imposes movements that may be 'right or wrong' or 'safe or unsafe' and go back to being curious and building trust.
- imagine your yoga practice as an act of love, building intimacy through expanding breaths, repetition, pauses, and stillness. You know you are embodying the practice if the mind is content and you are connecting to the 'now'.
Your body is a storehouse of greater wisdom and awakening. I personally love how time ceases to exist and you can bath in the truth of now.
Enjoy your practice and please share your discoveries.
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