Image / Edvard Nalbantjan
"Sensations are the language of the body. Listen to your own body’s story as if hearing a friend confide secrets she’s never shared before. Tune to the parts of your body that are crying out to be heard—and also to those areas that may have been numbed into silence.
Move from feeling—and allow your movements, in turn, to bring more feeling to areas that may be invisible to your awareness. Fully inhabit your body—opening locked rooms, exploring hidden crannies, flinging open the shutters in airless garrets.
Practice your yoga as a way of opening the boxes you have put yourself inside, not jamming yourself into more of them. What other shapes have you forced yourself into in your life? Where else might your perception of how freely you can move be constrained by other people’s conventions?
Along the way, you’ll uncover parts of your body that are stuck, injured, or vulnerable. Be with them with particular tenderness—not as obstacles to success, but as gifts to be unwrapped. Ask them how they want to be healed or released. By being with yourself in this way, you are expanding your capacity to attend your inner world with kindness and sensitivity —a capacity that will serve you well as you turn your attention to more and more subtle aspects of your experience.
Remember, it’s not just structures and alignment that you are feeling into. Yes, you are tuning in to your proprioception of bones and organs and muscles and skin, and their optimum relationship and function. But as you go deeper, such anatomical distinctions begin to dissolve. Your body emerges in your awareness as a shimmering field of sensations—arising and disappearing like bats swooping under a streetlamp. What you think of as hand breaks down into a pixellated field of dancing detail, just as an impressionist’s painting of a lake is composed of thousands of tiny dots of color.
Use the conventions of the yoga asanas as chisels to open your range of movement, build your strength, and awaken your body’s intelligence. But then move through them and beyond them. They are a trail map helping you navigate a majestic wilderness. But don’t confuse them with the silver river flowing between granite cliffs, or the red-tailed hawk soaring over them, clutching a fish in its talons.
Don’t just tramp down the well-traveled fire-roads of a familiar pose. Instead, meander down all the deer trails. Stop at a hidden beach for a picnic. Sit on the sand and listen to sea gulls call, and take a bite of an apple you pluck off an overhanging branch—sweet and crisp and tasting of rain and eternity."
- Anne Cushman, in "Yoga from the Inside Out"
Dana Wyss Healing Arts
Breathe deeply, practice often, be well.