Over the last year I have noticed my yoga practice changing out of necessity.
With the pandemic, juggling life as a peri-menopausal self-employed mum, at times I have felt as if I am going mad and I don’t trust myself to make rational decisions.
From a focus on physical poses and mental intents there has emerged another limb: embodiment.
What is embodiment?
For me, it is consciously seeking out the sensory elements during my practice and noticing how I am feeling. Not trying to force anything but allowing the physical sensations and feelings to rise up.
This is different from simply setting an intent to a practice. It is without direction so anything is possible.
Embodiment allows us to delve deeper into our unconscious selves and unlock feelings and emotions that perhaps we have no words for; that we didn’t even know existed.
Why is an embodied practice so helpful right now?
The extended period of pandemic, lockdown, fear, loss, uncertainty, global polarisation and outrage is unprecedented and has facilitated information overload.
With this sensory deluge from external sources, how do we know who to trust and what to believe?
It is just so confusing and that confusion spills over into daily life.
“We can reconnect to lost ways of knowing. And to do that, we have to do the thing that seems mad. We have to close our eye. To listen to the sounds around us. To shiver as the mist touches our bare skin and we feel within it the hint of a clearing ahead. We can make ourselves achingly vulnerable to uncertainty. We can let go, for a moment, of everything we thin we know and everything that hs made us feel safe.”
Using an embodied yoga practice we can relearn how to use our ‘lost ways of knowing’, our intuition and gut instinct.
How to have an embodied practice?
Incorporate hands on work into your practice and consciously notice the sensations that arise in your body:
- Tapping and self massage before, during or at the end of your practice
- Place hands on belly and chest during breath work and notice the movement of the body on the inhale and exhale
- Self assist by placing and moving hands on your ribs in extensions and twists
- Listen to body scan meditations
- Take time to relax your whole body in Savasana
I am discovering this is a process like any other, it takes time to relearn a skill that hasn’t been used.
But it is there, in every cell in our body, whispering in our ears. We have just forgotten how to listen.
There have been light bulb moments of realisation but, honestly, this one is a slow burner and the work continues.
Wishing you well on your own journey of self awareness.