Posts Tagged ‘yoga’
Anatomy and functionality of our physical body is only one part of our yoga practice…as much as our sense of touch is only one of our senses.
Our deep belly or core is also called the Dantian (Chinese) or Hara (Japanese) is the considered to be the centre and source of all of our vitality. It is considered the physical center of gravity of the human body and is the seat of one’s internal energy (qi). A master of calligraphy, swordsmanship, tea ceremony, martial arts, among other arts, is held in the Japanese tradition to be “acting from the hara”.
Through breath and movement in yoga, we quite literally stir qi – our life essence. Stimulating these areas of core work, we naturally invigorate our deepest Self. But this connection can feel elusive to even the most eager mind. To simplify – we can look at how we act based on our sense of inner trust.
We are often seeking answers, resolution, and relief outside of ourselves. Day to day we are often caught up in blaming others, our past and what has yet to happen, to directly result in our current well-being. When we begin to work inwardly – we are forced to take a long hard look at all the ways we avoid being present and centered inside ourselves. All of the layers of conditioning, unconscious habits and ways we ‘check out’ of our reality to avoid taking responsibility. If we take responsibility – then we must act. But first we must trust our instincts.
The physical core and our relationship with ourselves are intimately related. You know, that whole body-mind connection everyone is always rambling on about? Yeah – it exists. But instead of it being a hardship of learning to rely on ones self and intuition – this is a moment of true freedom. We are able to start, with great compassion, a long and passionate road to learning who we are. From that starting point, we are also able to make healthy choices that support our most poignant values. To trust that we do know what feels right/wrong for ourselves.
Yogis might call this dharma, or life’s path. We can often feel like we are walking blindly in this life – but quieting down and settling into the breath is a deep illumination to where our personal path will lead. Whether we are venturing on a new relationship, deciding to raise children or changing careers to follow our dreams – this is all related to our winding dharma. The more connected we become to our bodies and ourselves, the more intimately we are able to detect the subtle shifts in energy that will lead us in positive and fulfulling directions.
What we receive from core strengthening is so much more than an abdominal workout. It’s an avenue to find ways to “act from the Hara” and a process of turning away from over- reliance on things outside of us. So, Trust your gut…and enjoy the journey!
(Adapted from an article in the Treloar Talker)
So often I say to myself and to others – I wish I could call yoga something different. Relieve “yoga” of all its stereotyped afflictions and shift the perspective of those who are resistant to it – show them the practice that changed my life – for the better.
When I first began doing yoga, I thought it was all weird. I did not chant, I often left during savasana because it felt torturous having to just…LAY there. My mind chattering monkey that I could not quiet. I did not connect with the language or the stereotyped lifestyle. I did not want to “sparkle out my fingertips” and cringed and the smell of nag champa – ok, ok…I still do.
This is not a post about how I changed my mind or was drawn in when I realized all the amazing benefits of yoga – which are more than I can name (I hope it would be obvious!).
This is about yoga and its ability to open up the acceptance of self as we *already are*. Eventually, I knew that I could get into my flow alongside any Lulu-clad muscle man or patchouli princess and still feel like I was right where I belonged. That the only thing separating me from the other human beings I took class with was….ME.
Over the course of time, tears and near-criminally honest self-evaluation; it was all too clear. We are all a little weird. Whether we do yoga or not, the important lesson lies in our ability to stop judging others and ourselves. To find clarity in the present moment and feel peace with what already is. Yoga is just one way to get there.
So, instead of trying to change yoga to make it more palatable for the masses of folks who feel more comfortable judging it than doing it – I have decided to accept that it may not be for everyone. But the fact is, there is a practice that everyone can do and feel better for it. JUST BREATHE.
After all, that’s all it really is.
If we are able to breathe – a whole world of possibility opens up for us. The opportunity to shift, change or accept becomes all the more available. The breath is our bridge between the body and the mind. So if you can breathe – you can do yoga. In fact, you already are.
How weird is that?