Due to the intensity of today’s lifestyle, and the adverse effects it can have on our bodies, many people are turning to Yoga as a way to cope with both physical and emotional stress. While Yoga (in the West) has become a popular form of fitness, there are many other valuable aspects to Yoga, most notably its myriad therapeutic applications.
Yoga is a practice of healing. We approach our practice with the intent to train our body and mind to become intimately associated with one another so that communication between the two can be precise and audible.
It is not uncommon for people to enter their first class with limited mobility, anatomical deficiencies, and/or acute injuries. Much of this can be contributed to disregarding an inner voice, which is trying to tell us to “pull back,” “stop,” or “do things differently.” One of the most powerful tools we can give our students is the awareness that the inner voice does in fact exist and is there for a reason. From this realization they can safely begin their journey.
So how do we begin to reconnect with our inner voice? The yogic practice of asana is fertile ground for the creation and interpretation of physical sensation. As we move through the practice our body is engaged in a multi-faceted dialogue, physically and mentally. As we awaken our minds to this conversation, we may discover why it is we’ve often decided to silence that voice, either by manipulating our thoughts or by merely ignoring them. So many of the ideas we form about ourselves, and the needs of our body, are solely reactionary. As we explore the feelings and thoughts that come up as we practice mindfully, we might begin to appreciate that ‘inner voice’ and see it as a guide and protector. The mind-body connection may not be obvious at first but in time it will become a vital part of our asana practice. If we honor that ‘voice’ we can begin to trust ourselves again. Reacting to our bodies heed in love and compassion allows us to truly open up to our practice.