Listening to the Bod

I am teaching a ton lately. The main studio I teach from has a few teachers traveling or out for personal reasons so I picked up quite a few classes to help out. At 4:30pm yesterday, I was teaching my 3rd class of the day and found my body resisting any and all plans I had for class.

The only thing I made a note of that my body agreed would for sure be a part of class was a traditional flow through the 6 directions of the spine. (Which a human should do daily for optimal health, so not a lot of room for debate there, anyhow..)

When I teach yoga, I am continually relaying invitations to my students’ practices based on what I am noticing in my own body. I call it cueing “acute yoga” – sharing felt sensations – moving awareness around and inviting breath to coordinate with one’s inner gaze.

The yoga I teach is a direct reflection of my personal practice so if I don’t do it? I don’t teach it.

As the class of 5 settled in, I shared with them about how much I have been teaching and – as such – have noticed the increase of dedicated time tuning into my bod has me in more fluid communication with my body. They chuckled when I shared the very true story about how, when eating a caprese salad before meeting my daughter (knowing I would take her out for a burger) my body said, “thank you – I really like this.”

“You’re welcome.” I replied :)

I mentioned earlier I don’t teach what I don’t do so, I thought in this inaugural journal On Teaching Yoga, I would share some foundational parts of my yoga & belief system.

1) I see the body as the first gift given in this life making it miraculous, spiritual, communicative

2) I pay attention to inner voice and inner dialogue and talk back, using breath & inner gaze as buffers between thoughts

3) I notice what I feel in my belly / chest / etc related to the thoughts I have and when images come to mind

4) I practice revolving consciousness and ascending breath as meditation 3 – 5 times weekly

It has been almost a year that I have been back in the studio after a COVID induced hiatus, teaching from my personal practice which has evolved immensely from when I graduated YTT in 2016.

Not only do I LOVE teaching yoga more than I ever have before, but that the way I am teaching these days has me talking more about the practice before and after class with others. AND I LOVE THIS EVEN MORE THAN TEACHING YOGA! :)

I am hearing from students on how the tone of the teacher’s voice and the presence of self displayed by the instructor impacts the practice.

I am learning how invitations to notice felt sensation ushers in a deeper flavor of being human.

I am learning about when they feel connected or disconnected from their bodies.

And in the studio – I am noticing how truly humbling it is to watch bodies move when I teach because they are teaching me. It’s so freaking cool.

In all of this, I am paying attention, big time, to how it all comes together because of that #1 foundational part of my yoga: the body is a miraculous communicative device. The body is so amazing: every cell, every memory.

There is a scripture I love love love love love (1 Corinthians 2:11) that emphasizes how nobody can know us – our body – our experience better than we know it and, likewise, we cannot know our body and our experience better than the Spirit of God.

When you look at what neuroscience tells us about how the left brain only ever registers roughly 4% max of the body’s sensory experience in a given moment, that scripture makes more sense than ever. Think about it. I sure am.

There are at least a half of a dozen other things I could say right now but I think I’ll wrap it up as listening to the body is a big huge wide topic and I am so curious where people are with this.

What do you guys think? What is the last thing your body said to you other than “I’m tired!” or “I’m hungry!” ???

This is totally a favorite thing for me to talk about!! I would love to know :)

PS – anybody have a trustworthy resource on somatic spirituality?


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