Relaxation and attention are complexly related. Yesterday we used guided attention to passively relax muscles after almost an hour of very focused attention to breathing and body posture. Recursive consciousness – our ability to be aware of our experience at a level different from that experience – can either contribute to or help us ease our stress and knots. Thinking about our experience leads to worry and second guessing if we are focused on the past or the future or on how we appear to others (our insecurities and defending them). However, if we use our reflective ability to notice our ongoing experience at it goes on, we learn to use our body-minds as experiments in bliss. What happens if we notice this? What happens if we change just this one little thing? What happens if we let go of this other little thing?
Whatever is there when you begin to observe your stream of direct experience is likely to bring up emotions – you might like it, or you might not. You might be proud of it or embarrassed by it. These reactions in turn usually beget further planning or defending. How about just noticing? There aren’t many guaruntees in life, but it’s guarunteed that if you just notice how you feel and react, your feelings and reactions will change without your planning or defending. And then, if you just notice those feelings and reactions, they will morph again. If your choices are to reject or embrace, think about embracing the feeling or reaction like you would a small child with the same feeling; you don’t have to approve of or agree with the child to embrace them. The embrace is the beginning of healing. That’s all.
We always begin class by noticing our breathing and then experimenting with directing the breath, sometimes to a specific place, other times in a specific pattern or rhythm. We practice asana while noticing how it changes our experiences of our own bodies. Yesterday we closed class by directing ourselves to relax specific areas of the body, each in turn, beginning with the brain. You can direct yourself in this same manner any time you need your brain to take a break. Occupy it with focusing on your current experience in specific areas of your body.
I’m so glad to spend this time with you! Thank you for being present.
Let me know if you have specific times during which you’d like a yoga class. I’ll take it into account when I plan my expanding schedule.