Seattle Yoga Arts, July 2016
Yoga for Everyday Sanity
This world can be confounding, beautiful, ecstatic, painful, sweet, and filled with blessings as well as pain. As one of my meditation teachers said, "It's a tough school down here." A few days ago I did a short twenty minute asana practice and the phrase came into my head, "After all these years, yoga is still magic." For me, and for many others, the magic has to do with the bond of body and feeling/emotion. 

Image by Lindy Longhurst.

I n her book "The Body Remembers," Babette Rothschild says "every emotion has a discrete set of body sensations associated with it." She emphasizes that "awareness of current body sensations anchor one in the present. Sensing the body is a current time activity." 

The sensing of body in space becomes a meditation, one that, for me, is deeply relieving. It's as if much of my positive life energy is held in the little rivers and streams of my fascia and muscles, and if I don't refresh that stream with movement, my perspective on the world can become very clouded. My energy and optimism toward the world can diminish and I feel less life moving through me. I also notice that when I'm not moving my body regularly, my creative thinking is not as juicy and the world looks flatter and less colorful to me.

All of us are over stimulated. Our bodies, hearts and minds were not designed for the level of noise, information, activity, and worry that we all currently experience. An idea from psychotherapy that I love is "down-regulating." It refers to activities that slow down the nervous system, give us time to think and breathe and heal. In yoga, we can, as Babette Rothschild says "build a positive experience of being in the body by developing musculature that can better contain hyperarousal and the full range of emotions."  In other words, we are making the container of our body sturdier, more resilient, and more pleasurable to live in ... and we're liberating imagination and wisdom while we're at it. 


A deep bow of gratitude,
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