Image: Red Feather Colorado, just outside Shambhala Mountain Center...Too beautiful not to stop on this dirt road and take pictures.
“You cannot step into the same river twice” – Heraclitus.
After a week in Red Feather, Colorado at the OTM Yoga Leadership Training with Seane Corn, Hala Kouri and Suzanne Sterling, I came back with far more insight into my body and mind than I had expected. In addition to more self-reflection than I might like to admit, I discovered how easy it is to disconnect from my own body.
A few months ago, I taught a class, beginning it with the above Heraclitus quote, acknowledging that just like the river, the sediment [in our bodies] is constantly shifting, every minute, every day as cells constantly regenerate. Each time we step into the river and each time we step into a pose (albeit for the hundredth or thousandth time), it IS going to be different.
The invitation I presented to the class was to be curious, to feel the posture as if it were the first time. Then when we repeated the same posture later in the practice, to notice the difference as the body would be more open or perhaps, more tired.
It is said that you teach what you need to learn the most: this last week at the OTM training had me hold up a mirror to another aspect of feeling the asana, posture, in my own practice. I was regularly asked, “Where do you disconnect? Where do you go when sensations arise? Into the ether? Into your mind? How often do you sit with the sensation and how often do you choose to ignore, either backing off listlessly or powering through mindlessly?” I was surprised [and unsurprised] to observe how and when I disconnect.
So this week we come back to the quote, “you cannot step into the same river twice.” Whether you are on the mat, or off the mat driving, in a board meeting, or with your children or loved ones, can you check in with your body, can you really feel it?
Can you notice how often you carry tension, perhaps in your jaw, the back of your neck, your shoulders or your hands? Our bodies are incredible tools, often ignored as we walk, sometimes robotically, throughout our day.
Today, the invitation is to pause at any point in your day, and give a few moments of attention to your body. Notice how that awareness affects next steps, physically (the way you hold your body), mentally (perspective) and spiritually. If you feel tired or agitated, rather than ignoring the physical sensations that arise and get stuck in your body, what might help ease that tension? For me, it’s often 3 slow, deep breaths.
Once you connect, does that affect the way you approach the following moments at work, with your children or in your relationship? We believe ourselves to be constants, always the same, shifting only with time, however, just like rivers we are ever-changing sediment: when conscious, we can purposely shift the sediment, thereby altering how the river flows.
With love and light,
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