How do you know where you are going, if you don’t know where you are?
I began this month’s theme of mindfulness by wearing two different earrings to teach my Monday class. And then, in preparing my classes this week, I wrote mindlessness instead of mindfulness on the notes. Ironic, isn’t it?
Getting back to the question…. What do you feel in your body? Day to day living creates tension, tightness, lack of awareness and congestion in the body. This means that energy does not flow freely through your body. Think you have full awareness of your body? Try wiggling one nostril. Or one ear. Or your left third toe. Move your left hamstring by itself. Move the bottom tip of your right shoulder blade away from your spine. Maybe you can do those things. Have you ever had someone massage your shoulders and suddenly become acutely aware of how tight they are and how good that rub feels? How long were your shoulders sore before you became aware?
What are you unaware of in your body?
Neuromuscular patterning. In laymen’s terms is the brain telling the muscles what to do and storing this pattern so it becomes automatic. Like eating with a fork in your left hand. You just do it. On the flip side, for something that you don’t usually do, like wiggling your ear, your brain probably doesn’t know how to tell the ear to wiggle. That pattern may not exist, or it hasn’t been used in years. The good news is that you can create that pattern.
Homunculus-the little man in the brain. This is the physical representation of the human body that is overlaid on the brain – across the somatosensory cortex (sensory) and the motor cortex (movement) areas of the brain. The areas in the brain that are active relate directly to where our awareness and attention is. If we are in our heads 98% of the day, then the hamstring section of the brain will not be active.
Wiggling your ears or nose is probably not your goal and you probably don’t care if you ever can do it. But what is interesting to ask yourself is what are you not aware of in your body.
Yoga brings awareness to the body and the mind. Through the practice, you connect with the breath, you connect the breath with the movement and the body. Yoga removes obstacles from the body; it removes tension and tightness. When you develop awareness of the different parts of the body, the corresponding parts of the brain start to become active. You create new neuromuscular patterns within the nervous system and the brain. When the congestion and tightness release from the body, energy can flow. The same thing happens in the brain. Our bodies mirror our mind and our mind mirrors our body. What we think we do, what we do we become.
This is why after you have been practicing regularly for a time, your mind and emotions become more stable and calm.
Namasté and thank you.