Welcome yourself

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Last night as I opened a yoga class I teach I encouraged my students to…

“Welcome yourself out of your mind, into your body, and onto your mat.” 

This suggestion just fell out of my mouth with no plan and it seems to have a residual lasting resonance in my person, so much so, that here I am sharing it with you.

“Welcome yourself out of your mind, into your body, and onto your mat.” 

It compelled me to make a suggestion one step further because while being present with your body and your breath when your on the mat is important, and basically the whole point of the moving meditation that we call yoga; yoga practice only takes up a sliver of your day.  Most of us who consider ourselves yogis might only make it to our mat a few times a week.  So for what might sum to a total of 4 hours of your week, the week contains 168 hours.  Even if you did sleep a full 8 hours every night (which lets be honest, you most likely don’t) that still leaves 108 hours where you’re moving and interacting in the world.  There is a decent chance during the bulk of these 108 hours you are occupied mainly by the thoughts in your mind, memories, and the tasks of your day.

Body awareness isn’t your first thought while your in line, pumping gas, cleaning your house, doing dishes, or reaching for produce.

So how do we more frequently welcome ourselves into our body and out of our mind even when we aren’t on our mat??

The how is actually very simple.  You take one moment to step our of your brain and scan your body, allow yourself to become aware of how your holding yourself and make any small adjustments you can to be more in alignment with yourself.  These adjustments vary from body to body.

Common ones would be:

Find your breath.

Move your body from your core.

Inhale, lift your shoulders up- up- up- and let the exhale melt them down and back.

Lift your heart.

Let your jaw relax.

Let the space between your eye brows become light.

Try a smile on.

Draw the crown of you head up, lengthening through the back of your neck and slightly tuck your chin.

Specifically when standing:

Gently tuck the tailbone while you subtly lift up from your front hip points/pelvis.

Disperse your weight evenly through both feet.

 

None of these things are hard to do.  In fact, they are very easy but what is hard is constantly reminding yourself to be present as you weave your way through the world.  That’s why even when you are in a physical yoga practice it is nearly impossible to remain with your breath and out of your mind for the entire practice.  Pulling yourself out of your habitual mind patterns and into your present body is an entire lifetime of work, it is a fundamental practice that unifies every individual on this planet.  As beings on this earth our commonality is in our pit falls/humanness, and the beauty is observing each creature navigate or maybe neglect the challenge.

“Welcome yourself out of your mind, into your body, onto the mat.  And just maybe as you leave class today you carry with you some of that body awareness.”

 


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