What is it that we do when we get on our mats, or should I ask what is it that we aren’t doing? Well to start, everyones experience is unique. You are unique, just like everyone else. Haha! I’m hoping we can all smile about that. So I’ll be coming from my experience when I say that, getting on the mat gets me in my body. It connects me to my body, to sensory inputs, and awakens my awareness to subtle energy flowing throughout the body. Which weirdly enough also get me out of my body as well. So for some of us, we begin to feel again this body and all it has to offer when we step on the mat. It’s like learning a new language, just without words, feeling into the body for all the answers. When we step off the mat, the practice is continued, just not in such a controlled space. We begin to practice life in it’s most expressed form, engaging with everything, which can be overstimulating and chaotic. Where is the time for integration?
Today, my practice space was hiking up a volcano in a neighboring village. A walking meditation you could call it, allowing this body to connect with the surrounding dynamic environment. There were subtle shifts in the land as we traveled deeper and higher up into the vastness of mother nature’s creation. It was as if I had journeyed to this familiar energetic space before from my mat. This energy landed me with two feet on the ground, with some powerful insights to share. So perhaps as we begin to become more in touch with the life within our bodies, we can see life as a hike up a mountain.
Relating to life through this body we start to understand our intuition from a broader spectrum. You may have heard of intuition, it’s a common concept in yoga these days and it can come to you in many ways. Different from instinct, intuition is coming from a source that transcends beyond our understandings. If we are connected with our intuition we openly receive knowledge based of the energetics of our surroundings, guiding us with truth. Unlike the mind, thoughts arise that say to defeat this mountain we must use force! We must do, push, and strive to make our way to the top. This pushing can push our bodies into preventable injuries and illnesses. The purpose of the hike isn’t to get to the top, although the view may be unbelievable, if we exert all our energy in pushing our body to experience the summit we miss all the lessons and the top begins to grow further and further away. We can try to look ahead, looking up the path to get an idea of how far we have to go, and fail to understand the distance. The path weaves in and out of trees, there are multiple paths to take, without any sight of the top. It can become a challenging mountain when we involve the mind as the master in the plan.
Instead, we can take each step at a time, connecting our bodies with the natural rhythm of life. Letting ourselves be inspired by others and connecting with sounds, smells and sights of the earth that are supporting us along the way. We begin to surrender, forgetting that we’re even climbing, that there are tasks that are being completed and that an effort is being made. The higher up the mountain we go, the smaller we get, looking out over the view that encourages a deeper practice.
This practice recognizes the importance of integration. How can we ever take the raw and profound somatic experiences that come from awakening to our nature and live in harmony with our truth? When we can see from such heights, it’s common to lose our understanding of ourselves. The process of integration can be seen as the breaks when we catch our breath on the way to the top. The higher up we go, the more integration that happens naturally. The air is thin, the body is tired, and the energy that has built up inside us is reflecting outward. As we arrive at the top of the mountain, overlooking the beauty that exist, we begin to settle into that beautiful view, we can start to realize that this vision is always there. Life become clearer if we surrender our minds and relate through the body instead, to began to understand that this life is all happening within. Earth, water, fire, air, space, all the elements are working harmoniously to create life…So let your thoughts fall off the edge of the mountain and let yourself drop into the winds of your heart to practice life wherever you may be.