How To Live a Sane Practice in an Insane World
We recently spoke about how, as we move through life and grow up, we lose our intrinsic levels of freedom and the joy of expression that goes with that because as we move through our lives we start taking on board too much, we say yes even when we feel we don’t want to say yes and we reduce how we manifest our happiness, our enthusiasm, our passion, we establish new thresholds which are smaller, narrower, more limited and so there is a narrowing of our pleasure, our passion and we start narrowing our rest time, our digestion time, our sleeping time to the point that this downtime is no longer properly calming or fulfilling. The expression of passion becomes less and correspondingly our relaxation will be less. Gradually we unconsciously build up a narrowness, a restriction and as a result of this restriction we start to restrict ourselves.
This is all expressed in the body; in our posture, our yoga practice, our movement, our digestion, our connection, and due to the Gut-Brain Axis this has a direct effect on our mental and emotional wellbeing too. So how do we identify the symptoms of these imbalances and how do we address these issues?
Elena asserts that the way to work with the compromised situation that we are putting ourselves in day by day is to always make the body the first place where we start, because it communicates directly with the external; because we feel through the body, we connect through the body and unfortunately we feel it more than what we see in the mind. Although we know the power of the mind it is by going to the body and expanding the thresholds of the body that we overcome the compressions or limitations that the body has given to itself and which correspondingly we have given to ourselves. So what is needed is to bring back fluidity to the parts of your body that have been stuck, stagnated, blocked, not appreciated and not understood enough.
I went to a conference about how to live a sane life in an insane world, because that’s where we are at the moment. And something that was said there really resonated with me and it gave me the description of the way I teach my students. When the psychiatrist was asked how to help kids or adults when who withdraw, who won’t speak because they are ashamed, they are fearful, they can’t let go, he answered that you create a trusting place where you are listening and you hold that place for them for as long as you can. They then feel like you’ve opened a channel for them where they feel emotionally safe and protected so they can let go. This is what I do when I teach, I essentially take someone from level 0 to level 10 because with my voice, vibration, energy, frequency, encouragement, technical skills, anatomical guidance, emotional support, physical touch, I hold that space for them, so they can safely go from feeling nothing in their body to feeling everything within a few minutes. And when they connect to that root they start believing in themselves and this is what I try to do at the beginning of every class, course, practice or private, I create a safe space which I build up and I hold that space for the student. I listen to them, I listen to their body and this is what is revolutionary about the way that I teach yoga, it is holding this space. This comes to the fore too when you start teaching and you feel fearful, not confident enough, perhaps short on self-esteem, having someone who can create this sort of internal and external support, this emotional support is paramount.
So in teaching we have the wonderful chance to bring students little by little, safely, with control, with connection, with sensitivity to open what was blocked. This is the beginning, the start of a move towards a return to original, natural levels, back to where we started when we were children. And following this path we move on to re-learning and re-embracing the capacity for joy, for living to the full scope that we are capable of; to shouting and laughing and allowing ourselves to be pure, passionate, natural and full of surprise at ourselves rather than always being controlled and afraid to be what we love to be. So this journey becomes a return to the primitive self, moving forward by slowly but surely going backwards, by breaking those self-made, self-imposed barriers. When you as a teacher can facilitate, guide and encourage this journey of growth and change in your students it is a beautiful thing, even more so because this rediscovery and this joy is reciprocal.