by Diane Butera
“Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.” This quote from a James Joyce novel often brings a smile to my students’ faces. It literally expresses the opposite of embodied yoga. Unfortunately, this is how many people live their lives; disconnected from feelings, thoughts, emotions, five senses and everything having to do with who we are. It stands to reason that if we are disconnected from ourselves then we are also disconnected from the world around us, a stressful way to live. Embodiment means fully inhabiting the body, all layers. Mindful movement provides an opportunity to practice in real time, moment to moment, connection to the body.
We often hear instructors talk about turning down the mental broadcast, letting go of a busy day- arriving. In other words, let the body have this time. Recently I listened to a great TedTalk on how to have better conversations. I was struck by how these suggestions transfer to our yoga practice. Suggestions like: Stop the mental chatter. Let go of the mind control. Listen to understand, to learn, without intent to reply. Don’t multi-task. Be fully present, all in. Go with the flow of what is happening and don’t go off into the weeds. Try not to make assumptions of what is coming. These are great guidelines for the mind/body conversation on the mat as well as those face to face conversations.
Embodied yoga offers a way of practicing which creates deep personal insights, and makes yoga more transferable for pragmatic life benefits. I have the deepest admiration and respect for the teachers at Eugene Yoga as I know they all hold a high standard to teaching embodiment. To our students: your courage, discipline and openness to meet us on the mat makes what we do a beautiful journey.