Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Body Wisdom

Yoga continually reminds me how to listen to the insights within my own body. This past weekend, I participated in twelve fabulous hours of workshops led by Martin and Jordan Kirk of, two Anusara teachers who hold a permanent spot in my heart. At one point, I overshot my edge in the very last handstand technique. Instead of opting to work with a spotter, I went for it and ended up falling.

Interestingly, had I remained calm in that moment of uncertainty before I found my balance, I could have used the principles of alignment to protect myself and remain upright. Instead, fear overtook me and I crumpled to the ground, bruising my shoulder in the process.

The soreness in my shoulder the next morning made me worried that I might not be able to finish the weekend workshops. But Martin and Jordan are renowned for their yoga therapeutic expertise. They showed me how to use Anusara principles of alignment to not only protect but also to help heal my shoulder.

Over the next two days, the level of wisdom that emerged from my own body astounded me. Each time I unwittingly let my side body collapse or failed to keep my shoulder blades back, my body reminded me with pain. But when I practiced the principles, I was not only painless, I felt much more freedom in that wounded area. The pain, instead of being a showstopper, actually helped me more fully embody life-affirming movement.

We often consider learning to be an external process. Women in particular are often taught to perceive our bodies through external lenses and criteria. But when we turn inward, our body can share its own power of knowing. Yoga is about learning how to listen.

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