Flashback to my yoga class: Kay was leading us in the “crow,” and the pose challenged even her that morning. “Ohhh,” I groaned audibly. The “crow” was an advanced position that I just couldn’t seem to master. I slowly bent my knees into a squat and placed my hands on the floor. The idea was to crouch forward, balancing the knees just above the elbows, lift the feet of the floor and support the whole body with the hands. Yes, I agree, theoretically it sounded impossible, but I tried anyway, shifting my weight forward and teetering precariously on my hands and big toes.
In a perfect world I would have lifted my feet in the air and balanced gracefully, gazing serenely into the mirrors ahead. In reality, I huffed and puffed and struggled. Kay encouraged me to “Be patient” and to “Respect the gifts and limits of my body this morning.” She also reminded me that “I’m a big crow.” My frustration receded, and I vowed to master the pose. In the Chinese calendar 2000 was the year of the Dragon, but I vowed to make it the year of the Crow!
“Are you ready for that shavasana (corpse pose)?” Kay teased. “Lie down on your back and do some long body stretches.” I lay down and let my feet splay out. I rolled my head from side to side so that it rested naturally. I consciously scanned my body and relaxed: my reward after an intense hour of breathing and stretching. As my body cooled I felt peaceful, my mind focused and calm, and my emotions riding crisply on the surface of my awareness. My spirit was grateful and soaring. Sure, I was aware of other tightness in my body, yet I was satisfied and pleased with myself. And that is why I continue to practice yoga.
Consciousness seeks our attention to the obvious as well as to the subtle. When we are still, whether sitting quietly or sleeping, our bodies continue to move: our hearts beat, our brains emit waves of energy, our chests rise and fall as we breathe. Hatha yoga so excellently exemplifies somatic exercise because the regimen focuses on breathing techniques and paying close attention to the subtlest sensations of the body during movement.
When we are attuned to the raw physicality of our bodies, we hone our powers of concentration and relax the mind. A relaxed mind, in turn, is engaged in the present moment, focused on the “now.” Our bodies live in the present, never the past nor the future. By paying attention to the bare bones of a simple movement, we can then expand that level of concentration to become acutely aware of our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts and beliefs, and our behaviors—the truths of our lives. After all, life is movement.Alan Davidson is the author of the free report "Body
Breakthroughs for Life Breakthroughs: How to Peak Your
Physical, Emotional, Mental, Moral, and Spiritual IQs for a
Sensational Life" available at
Alan's also the author of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your
Five Vital Intelligences, the #1 Health and Wellness book
and Winner of Two 2007 Book-of-the-Year Awards.
Watch the Body Brilliance Movie
Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.
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