For a very long time, like nearly half my life, a daily quiet meditation practice has been… at least my aspiration. (Because I believe in full honesty, it has not always been my reality). And for a while, despite my consistency with the practice, I really struggled. I struggled because I never felt that I got any peace with the quiet. In fact, I got the opposite. I felt haunted, hunted by my thoughts. I asked different teachers, who gave me some different techniques, mudras, etc. None of them really helped.
One of the things I have found as I have studied movement, embodied anatomy and Franklin method, takes me back to when I studied dance. I realise that what brings me peace, what takes me to a state of mindful awareness is going into my feeling sense. It is like the mind doesn’t have a track for thinking if it is feeling. And actually, the more precisely engaged that feeling sense is, the more the quiet comes.
So for me, embodied awareness is mindfulness. It is how I access those states (because I think of yoga and mindfulness as states not techniques). There is so much to learn and be present to in that feeling, sensitive space.
One of the best techniques to get there is feeling the movement of breath. It is the best tool for meditation I have found. The reason to study the biomechanics of breath is because it sharpens your feeling sense with images that match what is happening. It brings mind and body together, truly.
The breath is magic. And it is also the most ordinary thing we do all of the time. Our whole life. It is one of the only functions that is both controllable and involuntary. And understanding breath and breathing mechanics can completely change your practice- your physical abilities and the quality of your presence and focus. Isn’t that cool?
My workshop Breath: Anatomy and Embodiment for Physical and Spiritual Practice explores the images and processes that create the ground for physical and spiritual practice. We explore the physical movements of breathing and the magic of embodying them, and what kinds of instructions facilitate or hinder the breath in yoga practice. It starts out pretty fun. It ends up pretty deep.
You can check Upcoming events for workshop dates and times. I’d love to see you there, and bring questions if you have them. As with most of my work, it is geared towards yoga teachers and experienced students, but you can probably get something out of it regardless of your experience level.