I recently started using the term “meaningful movement” in my Yoga classes. My goal in doing this is to bring a new layer of meaning to our practice. When we move in a meaningful way we are feeling, noticing, being aware of the way and how the movement feels in our body. We are also bringing a greater sense of precision to the movement itself. We are engaging the muscles to create the movement, being aware of the movement itself and connecting the movement with our inhale and exhale breath. When we focus our attention on a specific point, such as the finger tips in Warrior two we offer ourselves the opportunity to keep our thoughts also aware of the movement and pose being held. Some days this all may come together beautifully and then some days we may find it challenging. That is the beauty of our Yoga practice, each time we come to our Yoga mats we get a new opportunity to continue our practice.
Our body has depths of wisdom to share with us. We give ourselves the best chance to hear and know this wisdom when we bring meaningful movement and meaningful doing into our everyday lives. Just as on our Yoga mats when we combine awareness of the movement, with precision of the movement and the breath we can find ourselves occupying a new layer of meaning, a new space. Next time you sit down to drink a cup of tea or coffee give yourself the chance to try meaningful movement. How does the cup feel in your hand, how does the cup feel when it touches your lips, when the liquid enters your mouth. What if you took a deep inhale and slow exhale between sips? How does this whole process bring awareness to the act of drinking your tea or coffee and how does that change your relationship to the habit of doing so? Try doing this several times a day, maybe while eating a favorite food or taking a walk. Notice how this brings more meaning to your movement and to your life.
Another aspect of meaningful movement in Yoga is the use of props. In a training I took recently someone shared the following quote “a prop is not a sign of weakness, it is wisdom.” Just like meaningful movement a prop (block, strap, blanket, bolster, chair ect.) can open a new avenue of wisdom that our body can share with us. By using a prop we are not submitting to the lack of balance, flexibility or strength in our body. Instead we are telling our body, “I hear you, I honor the limits of my body and I know that today this pose is asking me to use a prop.” Through the use of props we are strengthening our ability to listen to our bodies because we are not only offering our bodies guidance in a specific pose but we are also giving ourselves the opportunity for additional feedback with the environment around us by making contact with the prop.
Next week I am introducing a new class called “Balance and Movement.” This class will utilize all the above mentioned props to guide our bodies in our Yoga practice. True this class is designed for individuals who need or seek a different approach to Yoga than a traditional class can offer but it is not any less challenging or effective. Every single one of us occupies a body that no one else knows anything about. Every single moment we each have and interpret our own experiences. We come together on our Yoga mats to practice poses, breath, non-attachment and so many other things but on each Yoga mat sits a single individual having their own experience based on their own realities. As your Yoga teacher I am your guide, nothing more, I don’t get to tell you how you feel or should feel. As your guide I make sure that your safe in your poses and offer an environment that invites self-awareness. When you show up on your Yoga mat in whichever class fits your needs best, I will offer you the opportunity to find and grow meaningful movement.
What is your experience with movement? How have you brought more meaning to the ways you move and the things you do throughout your day or on your Yoga mat? What wisdom has your body shared with you?