Yoga and the wisdom of the body
The physical body holds information from life experience like a catch net. Learning to connect with our bodies enables us to decipher the wisdom we already hold within. Most of the time our bodies communicate with us through intuitive messages and physical tension or sensation, but unless we are open to listening, these signals go unnoticed until it literally has to scream to get our attention - this can be manifest as disease or dysfunction. The body is a vehicle through this life, it is our home, our sanctuary. Yet mostly we abuse it and take it for granted that it will keep on trucking regardless of how we treat it. Stress, overeating, poor diet, lack of movement, over training are all examples of body abuse.
Our bodies will tell us when we need to move, what we need to eat, when we need to be still. But we can be so detached from those messages due to filling our lives with distraction, commitments and the never ending cycle of sending and receiving - anything to avoid being still and listening to what our body-mind has to say. I know that when I struggle to get on my yoga mat, its my ego’s way of avoiding being still and facing up to emotions or thoughts that I just don’t want to own. It is all part of our avoidance of the dark shadow of self. The shame, the guilt, grief, sadness, repulsion, hurt, blame or whatever else is hiding in the closet that is being ignored. When we refuse to look and see what needs to dealt with we create energetic blocks which manifest as physical disease. This is our bodies way of going to extreme measures to grab our attention and propel us into action.
With the practice of yoga we can unravel those blockages and bondages. Time on our mats is not about the snazzy leggings you have on or how much you can sweat or whether or not you can hold a handstand, its about coming home to your body, your sanctuary, and listening to the deep vein of wisdom pulsating within you. Yoga can stir feelings of resistance or expansion, it can draw emotions to the surface such as anger, frustration, sadness or heart ripping love and joy! Time spent in silent savasana, should not be a time to create ‘to do lists’ and start preparing for the next part of our day, rather it is a magical time where we get to tune into the frequency of our home ground and notice the rivers of subtle sensation that writhe through it after practice. Giving the body space to re-calibrate and for the energetic dust to settle, allows the autonomic nervous system to restore and absorb nourishment from our practice; the fascia to realign and remodel after manipulation and our minds to take a break from the constant ‘doing’. This is an essential part of the practice to prepare the mind for meditation. You might like to think of yoga asana as the washing, pranayama as the rinsing, savasana as the drying and meditation as ‘ironing out the creases’ of our minds.
Meditation is a potent time of stillness where mind and body are fully receptive and divine body-wisdom can bubble up to the surface to speak with you intuitively. In this place you can observe the subtle sensation of precious life within you with renewed vigour of focus, allowance and acceptance away from the frustration and expectation of doing. This is the sweet place where the fruits of your practice can be transmitted and transformation can blossom.
Through practice of yoga in all its forms, we can not only get to know this magical, mysterious home we live in, but we can start to make friends with it too. Cultivating compassion and kindness within our practice is essential to creating sensitivity to our limitations and honouring our needs moment to moment. When we can learn to be kinder to ourselves, our outlook on life changes, becomes softer and kinder, freeing us from the backlog of tension and stress accumulation that we have been hauling around within us like a heavy suitcase. With this sense of liberation, the world opens up around us and we are more able to see the good in others and accept them as they are without the judging, the expectations and frustrations that boiled up within us and got unconsciously pushed out to others as their inadequacies when really they were just a perception of our own.
When we learn to love and respect our bodies, our minds and our souls, it doesn’t just have an impact on our own happiness and well being, but that of all others around you. So if you can’t find the motivation to make peace and connection with yourself, do it for your partner, your children or your family - do it for the people you love most. And in the shining light of awareness, you will find the light of love deep within you that holds the key to your true authenticity and inner wisdom.