'It is difficult to speak of bodily intelligence in words. It is much easier to experience it, to discover what it feels like.' Iyengar
Over last weekend I took part in 4 workshops in Dublin with an International Yoga teacher Dylan Werner. I really enjoyed the weekend, I loved being a student, I loved meeting old and new faces, I loved being in the atmosphere of learning and of course moving!
I took a lot from the weekend and enjoyed the perspective the teacher spun on a few topics and certain aspects of Yoga.
As I practice a lot of my Yoga on my own, its always nice to get some inspiration and motivation from watching others and getting fired up to try new variations and fun movements. This is where my own intelligence of my abilities comes in and my own understanding of everything I have learnt to date.
This issue of intelligence came up a few times over the weekend, and the idea of using our own intelligence and discernment to discover what is right for ourselves. Am I moving this way because it is good for me? Do I have to do it this way just because someone said to? Am I doing it this way because its a habit? Am I doing it this way because its the only way I know?
In any community/group we are part of, it is absolutely up to each individual to take on their own journey of learning. It is you who will have to feel your joints when they ache you will have to rehab an injury, you will feel how good it feels to be mobile and pain free. You will feel the benefits to your body and mind if you move in the ways that serve you best.
Your physical journey is yours to take ownership of.
I've been around the block enough and I have been part of enough teams/groups/communities to know that trends/fads/beliefs can be made by all of us. I have friends who may not believe in the greatness Yoga can offer us because they have seem how it can cause problems physically in the ways certain methods and practices are being taught or understood. But.....this is where we must look at ourselves as individuals. It is not Yoga that is wrong, as much as it is not running's fault if someone pulls their hamstring or gets plantar fasciitis.
It is not what you do but how you do it.
I obviously agree that we are affected by those around us and take on traits of the groups that we are part of but we must as a responsibility to ourselves and our health begin to use intelligence and discernment. This physical body and all the conundrums it presents us with, all the perceived limitations, the break throughs, the disappointments and the successes- its our tool for managing ourselves, becoming more familiar, more fascinated, more accepting, respectful, more compassionate.
It really does not matter what method you choose to move or learn but that you empower yourself, that you become responsible, that you question what is presented to you, that you take what works and you let go of what doesn't. In that way we can all become individuals within communities that can be strong on our own and then support and enjoy the company of those around us.
There is no right or wrong with any specific community or way of moving. Certain things will click with you, will make you want more and others will not. The strength of any community will depend on the validity and utilisation of its methods, it will depend on the questioning and awareness of each of its individuals.
Yes we must find good teachers and good coaches, but we must ask ourselves are we ready to be good students? Are we ready to develop our own intelligence?
If you practice Yoga or not here are some things that I noticed at the weekend that serve as an interesting homework project.....
-Can you move quietly? If you are in downward dog for example, can you step your foot forwards without a sound? Can you step from standing into a lunge without a sound?
-Can you stand up without using your hands?
-Can you move into and out of a posture like Hanumanasana (splits) with control?
-Can you move from a posture like Pigeon pose from one side to the other without using your hands?
These issues are worth exploring in your own body.....where are the limitations, where does it feel good etc........The importance of the answers feels like it warrants another blog!