Embodyment as lifestyle : movement meditation
What is embodiment? Why does it matter?
Embodiment implies that we are working with and listening to the wisdom and messages of our body. Through that dialogue with the body, we can harvest immense wisdom, which implies regular practice and deep listening. It leads to greater awareness and presence as we consciously evolve. This self-inquiry leads us to our Essence.
In that place of deep listening that may arrive during your yoga practice, spend some time with your body’s wisdom. Hang out there and harvest. Listen. Inquire. Ask questions. Get really good at asking your body, your breath, your mind, and your heart what they need and want in that moment. In the now.
Start your practice by listening to your body’s messages. Is there tightness in a certain part of your body? Can you breathe into that space and release it? Can you sense openness and space in another part of your body? Go into these sensations and inquire about them. What message do these sensations have for you? Ask, and you will get the answer. Take time and give space to listen. It is all within us.
Notice when you are pushing yourself. Do you push yourself through your practice when you are tired or worn out? Do you push yourself into a posture just to arrive into a desired shape or form? Are you breathing? Is your breath flowing smoothly or agitated? Listen to your breathing. It is your body speaking to you. If your breath is starting to strain, then you need to back up in your posture and give yourself time. Be patient.
Build your postures and movement transitions based on the messages and impulses coming from your physical body and your breath rather than imposing postures or movement to the physical body.
Embodiment is intrinsically connected to the now and requires the willingness to listen and let your physical body and your breath speak to you. And it requires daily meditation and deep, slow breathing to balance the mind and practice.
Embodying is embracing, incorporating and integrating everything that is the now, the present moment.
Yoga is not the only part of my movement story. Dance has been part of my life since I started ballet at the age of four. Later I moved on to modern dance and various styles Jazz, Graham, Release, Afro-Brazilian, Tango, and Fusion. Through dance, I understood that the body is a vital resource for one’s awakening and evolution.
In the awareness through the body-centered approach that I teach, we understand that we have more than one body. We have a physical, mental, vital body, and psychic body. These bodies have unique wisdom and messages for us. In order to be fully embodied, we must learn how to listen to each one of these bodies and embrace regular daily practices as a vital resource for our evolution, which is upheld by our spiritual body.
Most of us are working entirely with the mental body. And this is where we get stuck. The mind is telling us what to do, what it wants, what it needs, and even how to move our bodies. This is vital to understand.
By practicing yoga asana, we can strengthen our body-mind connection, but it doesn’t guarantee nor imply embodiment. Embodiment is dynamic meditation.