There are many wonderful and exciting new challenges in Yoga for me, but the one that surprises me the most is the difficultly I have turning my awareness inward, to the deep places that are my body. What makes this so surprising to me, is that I never would have thought it would be so hard. I mean, come on, it is my body!
As part of my meditation practice, I do body scans on a regular basis. I intently focus on each separate area from head to toe, and every body part in between and I can fully tune in the sensations deep within. I can easily visualize energy and light sources radiating to and from any body part that I feel needs it. When I do my guided imagery, I can easily put myself into any peaceful setting I desire and whether it be the ocean or the forest, I can see, hear and feel myself in these places with full conscious attention and awareness. This stuff is easy for me. It’s Cake. So why doesn’t it translate into my Yoga practice?
In class, I struggle with instruction to find and connect with those very same parts of my own body. As an example, even when instructed to move into a very basic downward dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana, there is the challenge of changing the way I move and connect with myself. Prior to finding a Yoga Studio, I had always used my shoulders as my main power source in this pose. While doing my solo home practice, there was no way for me know any better. During my practise with my YouTube Yoga Teacher, I thought that as long as my arms were long and outstretched in front of me, my butt was in the air and my heels were pressed down on the mat, that I was doing pretty well. How very wrong I was.
Now that I am in a real class, I listen to the gentle instruction of my Teacher and I understand that the power source must come from my hips and legs. (I think). So moving into Adho Mukha Svanasana, I now try to lift with my lower body instead of my arms, and push back into my legs and feet to find the pose. Sounds easy right? But it is not. I really have a hard time connecting or feeling myself inside my body to make the correction. This is a huge problem for me, and I don’t understand why?
Obviously I know the difference between my legs and my feet, or my front and my back, and I can focus my attention on any given body part, get it into my mind and visualize it, but I cannot feel it. In class, when my Teacher instructs us to either be in our front body, or back body, I draw a blank. I simply do not know how. I scan the body parts in my mind, focus on them and try to feel it, but it’s like there is a huge disconnect. I honestly feel as thought I am not in my body at all during these times. It’s not like I am distracted, or thinking about being anywhere else. I am fully present, acutely attuned and trying really hard to work with this construct, but there is a blockage. A massive brick wall before me, preventing me from finding the deeper meaning of this connection with my body, my soma, my core inner self.
And so this is my Yoga Practice. I know I will get there. I know I will eventually break through and find the other side. And I know that when I do, it will be utterly crystal clear.
In the meantime, it’s a challenge. And I love a challenge. And I love Yoga. So I will keep trying. I will embrace the process, be gentle and patient with myself and continue, with awe, this amazing journey on my mat that I have begun. And I am grateful for every wonderful minute of it.
Photograph Credit: Google Images