Tuesday, September 28, 2010

do you feel alive?

Sometimes, it's difficult to make a bridge between the physical emphasis of yoga (doing the poses) and the feeling quality of yoga (being in your body and feeling alive through the dance of yoga). Students can become so focused on whether they're doing it right. And we teachers can feed into this by the plethora of alignment cues we give.

I've been using the following meditation from From Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now:

"Direct your attention into the body. Feel it from within. Is it alive? Is there life in your hands, arms, legs, and feet -- in your abdomen, your chest? Can you feel the subtle energy field that pervades the entire body and gives vibrant life to every organ and every cell? Can you feel it simultaneously in all parts of the body as a single field of energy? Keep focusing on the feeling of your inner body for a few moments. Do not start to think about it. Feel it. The more attention you give it, the clearer and stronger this feeling will become. It will feel as if every cell is becoming more alive."

What do you think? I originally used it at the end of class, going into savasana, but the more I think about it, it would be a great opening theme. This week, I plan to start class with this meditation and refer back to it several times in the course of the class. I'd be happy to sacrifice a little precision in the poses for greater sense of feeling and freedom. But maybe the two qualities aren't mutually exclusive. One should help lead to the other, it's just that students can become so hyperfocused in trying to "get it right." And, not just students, but we teachers in our own practice, too, since we're always students ourselves.

So, this week (and always), a reminder to myself to let the feeling come first.


  1. Dancer’s pose is a yoga staple. It is a great concentration improver and yoga guru Leeann Carey says it also a great stretch for the shoulders and chest. She has a free yoga video on dancer’s pose that I thought your readers might like: http://www.planetyoga.com/yoga-blogs/free-yoga-video-dancers-pose/

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