Yoga: Wordless Truth
In yoga, we become quiet.
Just the body moving, the breath, the mind stills.
Here, we find our wordless truth.
Today, I met with my beautiful friend M.B. We talked about yoga, self esteem, and manifesting dreams with two feet planted firmly on the ground. And the strange thing that, sometimes the very things that you deeply love and enjoy, are things you feel embarrassed about. As if the sheer feeling of deep joy is somehow sacrosanct. Something not to mention in our mainstream lives.
There is a deep joy that we contact when doing something we truly love. In this space, there can be a sense of vulnerability, innocence, and purity, that we think others would not understand. Yet in this place of wonder, of joy, and a deep congruence on all levels of self, there is a reminder of whom we are. What we truly love. What makes our energy hum and our hearts come alive. From this bright place, we can see clearly what the truths in our lives are. To me, yoga is one route in to this place of truth. Standing face to face your your core self. From here, I can then see more clearly how to move forward in my life. However, there can be great fear in the actual act of living our truths, and choosing to state them, make them central to our careers, and even, to commit to them.
Yoga, for me, is a deep commit. Every time I bring myself to the mat, or beach, or whatever floor is my practice ground, I face the truth of how my body, emotions, mind, and spirit are. As a former dancer, I know there is no hiding in movement. "The body never lies" says Martha Graham. In dance-theatre, you had to source the emotion from a real place, to dance the character with sensitivity that makes the audience respond. In their hearts. Yoga makes me respond to my self, in my own heart. Out of my head, into a truth that needs no words, and often is sensed or present in images in my mind's eye, or in a sense more than simply a feeling. As if I can sense the atmosphere of my soul.
In yoga, we can choose a "dristi". A dristi is a focus point. The dristi can act to engage our visualization powers similar to the techniques used by Olympic athletes to discover new abilities. It can be as simple as focusing on the breath. Which, is also what mindfulness is. It can be as complicated as focusing on an aspect of yourself that you wish to grow. Deep self honour. Self love. Love for others. Bliss. Clarity. Kindness. Strength. Vulnerability. Delicacy. Gentleness. Fire. Grace. Sophistication. The dristi can be muscular, like focusing on developing more core strength, or tightening the waist muscles to give greater back support and whisk away softness acquired from stress. Or the dristi can be "sankalpa" - your greatest heart's desire, wish, dream for your future. Or the dristi can be your energy field, chakras, or the central point of your life energy, your soul, your spirit.
Science has proven that humans have energy fields. Electromagnetic in nature, and a function of the electrical impulses of nerves firing throughout our forms, these fields also can be measured, and perceived. As you move, you can bring your attention to the energy field of your body - the flow of the field around you, points of stasis, centre points of energy. Yoga seems to balance the energy field, bringing greater clarity of mind and peace, even contentment, by the end of practice.
Whatever dristi you choose for your yoga, you can approach it as something that you listen to, something that you discover in yourself. Something that you know is already there, but that you simply have not sensed for a long time. This way, yoga becomes a process of uncovering your wordless truth. Without telling your self or your body, who to be, how to be, or what to think, you simply uncover, through repetition of focus and determination to keep navigating your experience in one direction of inquiry.
Or, for more of a ride, it becomes a great unknowing. Where each moment, and moment to moment, you allow the body to unfold into postures it wishes to, and you observe and sense and feel, as your body-mind waves through its mysterious dance.
In my mindfulness practice, clients really enjoy the "soul star" or "core star" exercise. When the mind and body become relaxed and quiet, they then see if they can find the sense of a light within. They then grow this light, to infuse all aspects of them, and even into the air around their body. I've watched people's faces become lit with joy, or deeply relaxed, when they take a moment to simply be in their true self. It's a very pure moment. By using an image, thoughts become quiet, and a person's access to the beauty of her or his essence, is potent.
When I started using this in my daily practice, I was surprised at how quickly I became peaceful. I felt a deep sense of honour, for my own life force. And, beyond words, was this most beautiful experience. So the focus on the core star helps bring us to a place of deep peace, deep sense, and the buzzing of the mind stops.
The beauty of the core star mindfulness is what gave me the impetus to begin to teach. To me, teaching yoga is about holding space for a beautiful sense of humanity. That of the class gathered present. That of each individual. And that of each person's essence, and the beauty and honour therein. In our wild times, we need to experience the beauty of humanity again, in ourselves, in others.
This October marks the beginning of a new series of classes created to connect you to your body, mind, and core self. Grouped in classes of 4 sessions, and limited to 10 participants, the classes will create time and space for you to honour your core essence. Intermediate classes, they will also bend and move and make supple the physical body. Each class will include practices from energy work to teach you how to care for your energy field. At the end of class, a yoga nidra practice will teach you relaxation skills, engage your oh-so-popular parasympathetic nervous system, and invite you to embody the idea of your light body, a concept from the teachings of energy medicine of the Sacred Valley of Peru.
If you like, the series also includes a daily practice that grows over the four weeks. The daily practice eventually becomes 20 minutes per day, in which you create your own personalized practice of yoga, breathing, energy practice, and meditation or mindfulness. Discussions at the end of each class support you to create this 20 minute practice by the end of the series.
If you are interested, you can contact me through the bookings form on the website.
The class series is guided by my experience in mindfulness, yoga, dance, and energy medicine, and is not medical or therapeutic in nature.
The Path of Yoga. 2011. G. Feuerstein.
The Brain-Training Secrets of Athletes. 2014. C. Gregoire. Huffington Post.
Yoga and Meditation. M. Wei, MD. 2015 Harvard.
The Life Changing Magic of Practicing Yoga. S. Denning. Forbes
The Energetic Heart. R. McCraty. 2004.
Luminous Energy Field. 2017. A. Villoldo.