BY MELISSA GOODMAN
In our fast paced society we are constantly surrounded by distractions. Endless emails to respond to, cell phones always attached to our side, family obligations, television and movies, the list goes on. There are thousands of distractions daily that lead us into our mind usually causing us to disassociate from our own bodies. Sensing the depth of our own existence can be hard as we live thousands of miles outside our bodies. Every emotion, thought, feeling, conversation and experience we have is felt in the body whether we are aware of it or not. We often miss the impact this has on us at a cellular level until the body demands we listen. So we listen until the body becomes quiet or we learn to live with it so we can return to our fast paced life.
What if there was something we could do for ourselves that would help us slow down and restore balance. This technique could call us from our minds into our own bodies teaching us the subtleties that are ever present.
Yoga is one avenue that will guide us back to our bodies through awareness. This awareness often takes time to develop because as a culture we often know more about the latest celebrity gossip than we do about our own bodies and the systems that make it up. There is no reason to feel guilt or judgement about this but rather be aware if this is true for you or not.
At the beginning of the journey into awareness it may seem overwhelming. What do you focus on – alignment, breath or what you are feeling? If you notice these thoughts you have moved out of the body and returned to the mind. Rather bring your awareness to the moment you are in, with a competent teacher they will help guide you deeper into the body and breath. It may be a challenge to stay present but with time, patience and practice this becomes easier.
I have seen it often in class as I guide everyone into a pose, for example, draw your right hip forward and left hip back. Some move right into it, others pause and I can see them trying to process how they will move their bodies like this. With a hands on adjustment, the puzzled look on their face turns into an aha moment, they just deepened their connection with their body.
It’s similar to building a foundation for a home. Once the foundation is in place the rest of the structure will slowly be placed upon it which adds depth and dimension. The foundation of yoga is awareness, learning to move your body in a way that is respectful. From there you begin to deepen your practice. Communication is restored between the left and right side of the brain, the organs awaken with a sense of flexibility as the nervous system starts to fire back up. We begin to respect and see our bodies in a whole new light.