Updated: Dec 29, 2021
here once was a time when I would start a class seated or even standing and there would be uproar. Very polite yoga uproar, like when you’re in Waitrose and they’ve run out of hummus. We’re creatures of habit and this gives us a sense of knowing and safety. I’ve learnt through teaching and my Craniosacral Therapy practice that inviting and giving permission for people to lay and be still is a powerful tool, when so much of our lives is directed to ‘doing.’ In class from stillness we ascend, becoming more active sharing our presence with those we practice with. It really is a group effort, every moment you’re contributing to yourself and the strength of our community.
The first moments of class are significant in setting the scene, to understand your body and your intentions. Body Therapist Moshe Feldenkrais said You can’t do what you want until you know what you’re doing. Bessel Van Der Kolk backed this up commenting The implications are clear; to feel present you have to know where you are and be aware of what is going on with you. At the moment there is probably a lot we're juggling and it's important to acknowledge and recognise how it's making us feel.
We must learn to become and interested curious observer. Craniosacral Therapist Steve Haines.
When we approach with curiosity and compassion, we are directing our intention towards discovery. There’s potential for self-care and self-regulation providing ample time and space for the body to reshape and release to maintain an internal equilibrium. Don’t let your mind take over the sensation. The brain likes to interpret, make sense, add a narrative. Don’t drift off to some far away dreamy cloud. We will always have to return to our body so we should feel safe within it. It might be hard, it may feel uncomfortable, it takes practice.
If we notice our breath we are in the present because we can’t breathe in the future or past. Anon.
We ground, we breathe, we feel and then we roll our heads. Remember way back that the neck is involved in a viscous cycle with the part of the brain which transmits messages of stress. When we are stressed the brain tells the neck muscles to tighten and when the muscles tighten it tells the brain we’re stressed. Notice how far you can go. Notice if one side is easier than the other. Feel the stretches and pulls.
Routine is safety. From this safety we are then able to commence our journey, flow, rotations, folds, twists, multi directional movements through space, coordinate, where we never know what’s coming next but that’s ok because we’re present and supported.
Our focus internalises, we're drawn in. We're released from the brain's overwhelming tendency to overthink, judge, rationalise, to draw on our history and memories. We're in the moment, time flies by and we arrive to poses but how did we get there?
We slowly and smoothly descend. How’s your neck? Feel the difference as you roll the head side to side. Have we broken that stress cycle? Our relaxation is a form of meditation but I don’t like to use that work as it often connotation of religion but know that our relaxation is a very active process. It involves us again being present, returning to be the curious observer. Knowing there’s no right or wrong and letting our body do whatever it needs to do to recover.
It’s as if the body is made up of sand and the movement of the ocean is reshaping, and smoothing out the contours. Haines
When we arrive to sitting, there’s been a shift, we feel a change. We know we’ve done the work, we have been on a journey, we have explored our internal body; we've regulated the nervous system, felt the patterns, connections, interactions and the challenges. We have rebooted, replenished and revitalised our inner processes. We have expanded and embraced presence and this will continue with us.
When we let ourselves feel, our inner self transforms….our outer world transforms. Van Der Kolk