The Build Your Own Practice (B.Y.O.P) is a monthly videos series all about helping you find your own practice. The video below is intended to encourage you to think about your own body within your own practice, to listen to the intuitive rumblings you have when you feel a cue or movement just isn’t quite right. This is a reminder that you are in charge and when you can listen to your body you can be set free on and off the mat.
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Hope you like it;)
I used to think I had to figure out how to learn the poses the way I was told. Enforce the breath to the rhythm of somebody else metronome. Express the shapes in a robotic way that I had become, not truly feeling the poses just perfecting them, comparing them to what I thought was going to make me more likeable. Don’t get me wrong… it was an essential process of truly uncovering what yoga was all about. It’s the journey of most beginners to yoga, coming from our cultural programming of getting in rows, regurgitating what we are told, striving to achieve approval, searching for a unconditional love buried underneath the long chair pose holds and the perfect warrior 2 alignment.
The thing that we often cant let in is that we truly are already more than enough because its scary to feel it. Feel how hard we are on ourselves and how often we put ourselves down when the truth is love and pleasure is our birthright and we are more than deserving of it, we are it. Exactly who we are, flaws and mistakes included, painful history and lost opportunities too, sweet successes and hard earned achievements as well. The thing that reveals itself is how willing am I to listen to my own body and become inspired in the expressions of my heart.
That feeble offering at the opening of a yoga class to listen to your own body by taking child’s pose or lowering your knee in lunge pose is a pathetic and inadequate encouragement of what it truly means to be guided by your own unique unfolding. That this limited representation was bred from the system we came from…. Listen to regurgitate, explore to reproduce, embody to fit in line or in order.
Astoundingly we wake up on our mats to realize there is another way. After years of taking the shapes to be approved and then getting injured or feeling still unfulfilled, I started to listen to the teachings of non-harming and truth and refine them in my practice. I observed the places where I was forcing a pose on my body and I began to notice all the places that were aggravated by my fighting to get what I think would validate me succeeding the result of the shape. I began to practice the sutra II.47 instead of the “right” biomechanical cue that the teacher was saying. “Prayatna saithilya ananta samapattibhyam” which means, perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached. By releasing (shaitilya) the struggle (prayatna) that we offer while holding the pose, we experience boundless bliss (ananta samapatti). What that looked and felt like was noticing where I was collapsing or forcing and in turn feeling excess aggravating tension caught in one area of the body instead of feeling it shared by the whole body. It would also become apparent in my restrained breathing pattern caught in the wheel of my mind’s dwellings attached to a result instead of curiously enjoying the experience as it was arising.
As I practice more in a way that listens to my body, I am amazed how little the poses mean and what it reveals about how much I am in expression of loving myself or not. Eventually the noise of the head, and the rules of our culture no longer apply as we understand the purpose of this practice to open us to our greatest expression yet. That the action of our dedication to a mindfulness movement practice offers us a container to uncover our true nature. Which is unique to each of us but so equally wrapped up in all the common bullshit limiting beliefs and insecure feelings of ‘alone’liness and the most deeply unstable fear we hide from… DEATH.
Massage more feeling into your own matrix and let it distillate and deliberate a form of yoga that unleashes your big love and tames your menacing fears. That in its essence, this practice can and must be everything you need it to be, anything you want it to mean, energizing your own essential evolution. Commit to a yoga that makes you truer and brighter in you no matter what cues you have to ignore, what perspectives you have to throw out and what guidance you might kindly disregard. Because as you will soon discover more blatantly, you have all the wisdom of your own life design inside you already… and this practice of old is solely meant to reinvigorate that honest truth for you… not make you feel lesser or lacking of or unable to or weaker than or irrelevantly unheard.
SO begin here, by listening through feeling and sensing your body right now.