This is a story that I need to tell myself. I have experienced this message before and I’m sure I will again and now I’m including you. I use my writing to read again my evolving stories and remind myself what faithful presence might look like.
Every Monday and Thursday, Carrie, a Naturopathic Doctor, teaches the yoga class I attend. Her class reflects her deep knowledge of anatomy and explores the connection between sensation and experience. She guides us to make connections between those sensations (often unimaginable ones like the edge of your right foot or the muscles around your ribs) to explore and expand our mobility. According to her bio at the college where she is full-time faculty, she has a great interest in the connections between somatic sensing and the mind.
Yes, I realize this yoga class affords me an amazing opportunity for practice. However, what I took away from a recent class was an embodied experience beyond Carrie’s guidance.
On this day, the focus of the class was stability. Carrie skillfully guided us through a progression of poses to build capacity and awareness of how our bodies support us through small shifts in where we put weight; how we transfer weight through hands, feet, or even the slightest shift in our hips. We moved from standing (mountain pose) to a high lunge (crescent lunge) and eventually to a very challenging balancing pose (half-moon) over the course of the 75-minute class using foam blocks and sensing variations of moves throughout our body.
As I focused on the micro-movements and shifts, I was amazed at the ease of my transition between positions when I followed her lead. Even with all this expert guidance, there were a couple of moments when I wasn’t able to sustain that ease.
No matter which pose, I noticed that if I even just glanced in front of me or beside me to see how someone else in the class was moving, I lost my way. I wobbled, fell out of position, and had to reset my body and my mind to maintain the posture. In other words, I lost the stability that Carrie guided me to experience that required all of me.
As I’ve heard it said about embodied practice: that might be one that I take off my yoga mat and into the rest of my life.