Seattle Yoga Arts, August 2016
How to Speak Body
One of the challenges I continually set for myself as a yoga teacher is to use creativity and variety in the ways I articulate movement, alignment and anatomy.  Abstraction and distraction are powerful, and our attraction to them comes pre-installed in our human brains.  It takes a poetic kind of attention to continually speak body in a way that the body will understand.  

Image by Kristy Asaro
I often encourage my students to use their imagination: "Imagine you are drawing the steadiness of the earth up through the soles of your feet," or "Imagine that your entire body is one knit garment."  I am intending to bypass the rational, time and task-trapped part of consciousness and provide imagery and imaginative nutrition to my students' hearts and bodies.  This is really hard!!  And it's mysterious how sometimes this way of teaching rolls off my tongue and sometimes it's just not there. Reading poetry helps.  Slowing down helps. 

There is an idea among therapists that we create a "positive holding container" for clients. How we use language internally, toward ourselves, can play a role in creating this container. I recently read that staying with one's body sensations without judgment and with curiosity very much resembles a positive holding container, except you are holding, and in the process, healing, yourself.  

In the dedicated space of a yoga practice, where, blessedly, there are no external devices of distraction, the holy work of coming into our bodies can be done.  With appropriate guidance, one can learn to be attentive and welcoming to all the rivers, light, contractions, and expansions, pulsing and flowing through these breathing vessels we call home.

A deep bow of gratitude,
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