I trust that these musings find you well, happy and living the life you desire.
Personally I have been finding this year that of great change, clarity and self-evolution.
It has also been a year of creating more balance and healing a deep sense of burn out whilst simultaneously unravelling some persistent physical dis-eases, for example healing a rotator cuff injury, and addressing a hormone imbalance which has lingered since I lost a child during pregnancy three years ago.
I am happy to say that by taking care of myself emotionally, being gentle physically and seeking support as required from massage therapists, assessment and practices from my beautiful physiotherapist friend, creating a life that is more in alignment with where I find my needs currently, doing breathwork, reiki, meditating, shaking practice, having reflexology treatments, vaginal steaming, journaling and embodiment practices I am feeling better, clearer, and ready to take the next steps in actualising my dreams and creating a life even more on purpose than before.
With some of this in mind, this post has been bubbling up for a while now, mostly in relation to the many posts I have been reading recently online about ongoing speculations about what a healthy yoga practice looks like. There seems to be more and more yoga related injuries occurring, whether from repetative and oftentimes intense movement, straining, forcing and corrupting the body's natural range of healthy movement to 'look better' or to be Instagram worthy. As many of you know I have been a yoga teacher and yoga teacher trainer for over a decade. During these, years my expression as a yoga practitioner and facilitator of group and individual sessions has shifted greatly in subtle and very obvious ways. I have always had a focus on energy, flow movement, breath awareness and meditation. But my sharing and personal expression of this has become more fluid, gentle, soft and therapeutic over time.
Gone are the 'cram as many Sun Sals and warriors into an hour as you can' style, to a more laid back, relaxing embodied expression of truth in this moment.
I find myself asking, Why are we not learning to tune into our own body and work within healthy ranges? Why do we push, force and sculpt our body to perceived perfection, at the cost of our health and vitality? Why are women forcing their bodies into shapes that stem from a lineage of masculine spiritual practice? Have we become so disconnected, living in fear and unable to trust our uniqueness that we repeat other people's patterns and yoga shapes just to fit in?
When do we claim our power, ask questions, seek guidance and trust our own body to lead the way?
As someone who is very flexible and has practiced yoga for many years, my relationship to asana has been shifting greatly. Especially as I am currently healing a rotator cuff injury. I no longer take pleasure in being very bendy, but rather in the deeper dive inwards, to my soul, and her longing for wholesomeness and vitality. My body desires freedom, ease, strength, health and rest. My practice has shifted immensely to become a more embodied, breath aware, sensual integration of my whole being. Where I go within to listen to the language of my body, seeking out those areas of discord, of dis-ease and doing what is required to gently soothe them into their natural state of radiance. This often looks like dancing, breathing, resting, opening, letting go, undulating, shaking, and an unravelling, circling, softening relationship to yoga asana, where it can serve me. I no longer desire to serve yoga asana.
Asana is a tool to turn to at the appropriate time in the appropriate way for my health, for my body and her need for vitality and balance.
I have always loved being physically capable, strong and flexible so it was an easy fit for me to practice strong yoga poses, to teach strong flow style classes and take great pleasure in the capability of my physical body.
However, as I have been growing, evolving and deepening my connection to my deepest Feminine and her expression through embodied spirituality I find that it is no-longer a fit to practice in the same way.
It is facinating really how this all fits together in terms of Masculine and Feminine Spiritual Practice.
Masculine spiritual practice is really about direction, it's death practice, it's being so single pointedly here in this moment that nothing else matters. This is where sitting meditation comes from, this desire to be entirely engaged in one place.
From sitting meditation arose asana, which translates as seat. As we have evolved as a human race, we find ourselves more sedentary than our ancestors, and therefore we tend to find that we need to train our bodies to open, gain strength and vital energy so that we may 'sit' in some degree of comfort. This is where a whole range of yoga practcies emerged from, so that we could transcend the body eventually to commune with god.
Feminine Spiritual practice is about life, the experience of and the expression of the many muti-faceted tastes, flavours, textures and nuounces of a rich life.
We express through the cycle of life, we are life itself, the embodiment of nature.
The Feminine births and transforms, she is the energy of manifestation.
We love texture, colour and movement, we tell stories in circle together, we sing and dance. We are strong yet soft, receptive, nurturing and fierce in our love and protection of our babies.
Our embodied spiritual practice is a reflection of this. Think of Temple Priestesses dancing, singing, story telling and women coming together to support one another in moments of birth, from a girl we are birthed through our menstrual cycle into woman, from woman we are tranformed into mothers, if we are fortunate to do so, and then we enter the older years, where we bring experience, love and support to those that are growing through the transformative years.
Our practices serve us best, if we identify as a woman with a feminine essence, when we can fully express ourselves in all of these rich and wondrous ways.
This has been my journey to date.
A great unravelling and integrating of this knowing. To celebrate the great mother and find shelter in her arms.
To connect to the ever changing quality and essence that is feminine and find healthy ways that support this process. It is non-linear, free, cyclical and deep.
Of course, we need to establish a healthy connection to our masculine presence too, as we are all, afterall, a combination of both masculine and feminine, note, I have not said male and female.
Hatha Yoga translates as Sun/Moon which is a way of saying Masculine/Feminine, Ying/ Yang, Light/Dark, Heaven and Earth.
It is a beautiful journey of self-discovery, to explore the masculine and feminine as they express themselves uniquely through us and how to choose practice atht support what is needed in a praticular moment.
For exapmle when we need to get through a huge 'to do' list, or hold space for someone it would be beneficial to invite our inner divine masculine to the table, to serve us to power through with laser, single pointed focus.
If we are tending our children, in an intimate moment with a loved one, healing or creating, we may want to soften our edges and become flow, to embody the sacred feminine.
This is living yoga, when we are able to draw on the practices that serve us best in any given moment.
This to me is a healthy yoga practice.
This is living yoga off the mat.
I am curious to know where you are on this journey of establishing a healthy yoga practice, or rather spiritual practice, that deeply and truly serves your soul.
I'd love to know, so please do reach out.
And if you would like me to share more about these topics let me know!
With my love,