Sunday, December 12, 2010


Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated
with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

I've come to the place in my life when this happens fairly routinely: every time I engage in yoga practice, tho' it's during a yoga class and the guided instruction that facilitates such cohesion best. I've had two primary instructors in my life, but one has had more influence, simply due to the length of time I've been with her. She's not just an excellent teacher, but has the ability to use her voice, combined with well chosen music to bring focus to the practice. When I returned to yoga a year ago (after a several-year hiatus) I found that she had only intensified her ability to affect the tranquility and peace I found in her studio. But she's not just my yoga teacher, she is my friend.

It's been a hard year for her. The studio she'd had for 20 years was suddenly made unavailable to her. She moved everything to her own home, and became an itinerant instructor, teaching in a church and at a nearby Pilates studio owned by a friend. I returned to her during this period, and while I could sense her stress, was drawn in to her single-minded ability to assist her students toward the best practice they could have. In July, she finally found a new home for her studio, not so ideal as the original one, as it's shared with a Tai Qoan Do school. Up a steep set of outdoor stairs, the walls are thin and there are outbursts of sound as the students practice in their dojo across the hall. This has, however, aided in providing all of us with an opportunity to focus on the calm inside even as we are faced with the cacophony of the outside world around us. On the plus side, it's a spacious room with a huge wall of windows (the ceiling might be 12-15 feet up?) in a more than 100 year-old building and located in a community rich with small locally owned businesses, including a Farmer's Market and Co-op natural foods grocery store. There's an immediate sense of being a part of eclectic urban life as we challenge our bodies and minds while breathing in the amazing goodness of the local pizzaria downstairs! (There are photos down below in the post on Small Business Saturday of the Grandin Village main street.)

The more I practice, the more integrated I feel. The body/mind connection becomes increasingly seamless these days. I'm wondering if it isn't partly due to the wisdom of aging that occurs as one proceeds thru the decades of life. I'm rather certain that the yogi I was 20 years ago has evolved 1000-fold in the years since I began practice as a young woman.

And now, I have more reason, of course, to need that seamless transition to occur: the aches, pains, and edginess of aging, and the scratchiness of my Monkey Mind are greatly reduced by regular practice. It is in my Sun Salutes, six movements of the spine, shoulder stand, and chanting of OM that I seem able to transcend such petty, everday concerns.


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