Our bodies are constantly trying to talk to us, and when we listen, it's profound what we hear.
Yesterday I had a unique experience in a class with one of my favorite teachers. Her whole class was centered on listening to what our bodies wanted us to do, and at one point she said "Utkatasna or Bakasana." Chair or crow. Hmmmm...
Without any thought my body gracefully moved itself out of chair and right into crow. For me crow has always been a challenging pose because there's so much fear in it. If you fall, you fall directly on your face. What if I break my nose? Scrape my forehead? God forbid I look ugly. But this time it was different. By body remembered the pose and swiftly moved me right into it - no time for what ifs. I held it longer than I have ever held crow. My body knew exactly what it wanted.
Last week I danced so hard I cried. My beautiful sister and inspiring friend, Kiki, hosted a class called Ritual Movement. She created a space for women to be uninhibited and free. Her intention was for us to come alive. We started small, moving just the hips, eyes closed. Then the movements got more dramatic, using our whole body. She encouraged us to listen to what our bodies wanted us to do.
At some point a song came on and I was no longer in control. My body began to move in a way it has never moved. I was all over the place, yet graceful in my motion. It felt so good. So right. I was dancing so hard - from the depths of my soul - that I suddenly became overwhelmed with emotion. Tears flowed down my face. I unleashed a part of me that I had hidden away. A part of me I was ashamed of. Scared of. Yet when it came out, it only felt perfect.
This thought - our bodies are miracles - has been with me for a long time. I remember back to 9th grade biology, and then AP biology, and then college biology. I remember learning about our bodies' systems. How perfectly it all seems to work. The symmetry, the geometry, the magic.
I remember the first time I had bodywork done. And the second. And the thirtieth. Each experience profound and unique. Each massage, Reiki session, or Body Talk teaching me more and more about myself. I remember the moment when I connected with how much information our bodies store. That my right hip holds the memories of my maternal line. My right shoulder my father. My left hip my friends. My tribe. That I store all of my anxiety in my stomach. All of my secrets. That when I hide something, when I hide who I am, I get nauseous.
This is why I love yoga. It gives us an opportunity to take care of our miraculous bodies. And through the practice we can use our physical form to help us connect to our deepest selves. Time and again I get into a pose that I didn't think I could do. I hold something longer than I thought I could. I set my beliefs that I will fall or hurt myself aside. And when I do this for my body, I also do it for my Spirit. I am constantly learning that the way I do my yoga is the way I do my life. I am constantly overcoming fears and limitations on my mat that make my life richer and less scary off the mat.
I am so blessed with this beautiful, healthy vessel that carries me through this lifetime. It is my honor to take care of it and to listen to what it has to say. There is so much wisdom in our bones. So much magic in our flesh.
Our bodies remember. Our bodies know.