Here is the thing about yoga, you really have to feel it from the inside out. There is no way around it. You have to feel your physical body. If you go through the motions without tuning into your body, you will not get much out of it. When you use yoga as a workout, it will be a workout, not yoga. Nothing wrong with a workout if that is what your goal is. If your goal is more spiritually oriented, calming the nervous system and reaching a state of presence, then the spiritual aspect of yoga will be lost in the workout. I have been to so many yoga classes where I get out feeling worse then when I got in. Putting together an effective asana sequence is not as easy as it looks. There is a lot that goes into building an effective yoga class. Understanding anatomy, sequencing, a creative touch, and also an understanding of metaphysics, ie, the emotional, subtle, and the unseen.
It is important to remember that tuning into the physical body requires us to get out of the mind and into the breath.To be in the body one must use the breath. The key to being in the body is the breath. Once we check out and get into our mind we are not in our body. Next time you are at a yoga class notice how your mind is always trying to pull you out of the present moment and out of your body and into some other scenario. Another key point is coordinating the breath with the movement. Knowing when to inhale and when to exhale is important to achieve the required tension release.
Awareness of body while practicing is important to get the most out of one’s practice while also tuning in to what is arising in every moment. This is how we are able to somatically understand our trauma. We begin to feel the trauma arising from the physical body, where it has been suppressed.
There has to be a feeling of relief when we get out of a yoga class, if the ‘relief’ state is not present, the feeling of anxiety and agitation will be present and a feeling of being drained. This is not yoga. This is a workout. Working out is not yoga. Yoga is about releasing tension, and preparing the body for meditation. Workouts tend to build more tension in the body, and are not meditation preparation.
Next time you are in a yoga class keep bringing yourself back into your body awareness. When you feel your mind wandering elsewhere bring it back to the sensations you feel in every stretch and every move. Notice where there is tension, hypertension or even irritation. Try not to judge what you feel. Be with it as best as you can. Try not to change anything about it. Trust that what is coming up is there because it requires a release. Give gratitude for being able to feel it, and know that in feeling there will be a letting go. When you feel you know you can give your feeling attention. Something miraculous happens where you understand every inch of your physical being and are able to be your own healer. You know without a doubt what you need, when you need it, and why you need it.
The first step to becoming your own healer is to become completely aware of your entire physical body. Some of us are eventually able to understand our subtle, and emotional bodies all at once. What a gift it is to be able to be in tune with all three bodies.
Look for future blogs on how to tune into the subtle and emotional bodies while practicing yoga.