There’s the yoga you can see, and the yoga that you can’t see.
Initially the emphasis of our yoga practice is external. The body, the poses, building strength and gaining flexibility. But as our practice matures, the focus naturally shifts to the internal.
Often people are surprised at how much internal focus there is in yoga.
Essentially the practice is all about the internal connection. Uniting mind and body.
So what if you don’t have an internal connection? What if your signal is weak or you have no reception when you close your eyes?
Most of us are used to focussing externally. Doing stuff, making stuff, getting stuff and of course interacting with other people.
What many of us struggle with is focussing internally.
Not doing, rather being.
Busy, achievement-oriented people struggle with this the most. It can seem like a waste of time when we’re not doing.
Our yoga practice can open the door to this mysterious inner world.
But first, we have to find the door, the way in.
Funnily enough, the body is the way in.
We can’t think our way in. We need to learn how to drop thinking and let it go.
When we tune into sensations in the body, we’re plugging in. Feeling into the body, helps us to drop out of the mind. Sometimes though, when we try to tune into the body, we can’t feel anything.
We expect to feel something and then, there’s nothing there.
The less time we spend in the body, the more desensitized we become. Being in our head all day desensitizes us. So when we do try to plug in, we’re numb.
Sensitivity returns with more frequent and longer sessions ‘in the body’.
It’s a process of re-sensitising.
When we feel numb or nothing, notice what that actually feels like.
There is ALWAYS something to feel. Even if it’s just the floor beneath us or the air on our skin.
The more we feel, the more we can feel.
But before we can heighten sensation in the body and experience more ease, joy and pleasure, we also need to prepare ourselves to deal with the heightened sensations and feelings that are uncomfortable, awkward and even painful.
This is the double-edged sword and the reason why so many of us struggle with being in the body.
If it was the warm and fuzzies all the time, then we’d all be doing it.
But it’s not.
And that’s life.
And yoga increases our capacity to deal with life.
Sensation is a portal into presence.
Presence, awareness or consciousness is like the Internet
You can’t see it, but it’s there.
You can’t touch it, but it exists nonetheless.
You don’t have to understand how it works to use it and benefit from it.
How frustrating is it when you can’t get the Internet or the connection is r e a l l y s l o w…?
Tuning into the body is like plugging in.
Feeling into sensation is where we start to receive a signal
The signal we’re hoping to tune into is consciousness.
But often times, the signal is weak, gets interrupted, there’s static or interference.
The way to strengthen the connection is to spend more time connecting.
The connection improves with frequent use. We become disconnected when we live in our heads and lose the sense of being in the body.
Usually, thoughts get in the way. To tune into the right frequency, we need to be able to tune out the thoughts. Or at least, turn down the volume on the thoughts so that they’re just background noise rather than the focus.
Sometimes though, it’s just too painful so we shut down. Shutting down is a temporary solution, but it doesn’t fix the connection. Yoga can help to navigate the pain.
Once the connection is established, we can stream and download to our heart’s content.
What we stream/download is personal, much like our internet habits…
Some of us will stream clarity and higher wisdom, some will receive downloads from the universe. Others will channel love.
The ancient texts describe it as bliss, enlightenment or Samadhi.
Traditional yoga is defined as the stilling of the movements of the mind. It is not only possible but very achievable to achieve a state of mind where we are awake, alert and yet devoid of thought.
This is the realm of the inner yoga. This is the final destination or the end goal.
How do we still the mind? By giving equal importance to the inner yoga and outer yoga. The poses themselves are just designed to prepare the body to be still for meditation.
While many of us start yoga to become stronger or more flexible, what keeps us coming back is that feeling we get during or after class. It’s more than an exercise-induced endorphin rush.
It’s a prelude to the blissful experience of a still mind. It’s a sneak peek of what it could be like if the mind was still on a regular basis. And it feels AMAZING.
Just like we don’t need to study computer science to use and benefit from the internet, we don’t need to be a monk to incorporate more presence and awareness into our day.
We can plug in anytime, anywhere by feeling into the body and becoming present with ourselves.