My Relationship with Yoga.
Had you for a moment there right? You thought there might be a divorce announcement? Didn’t ya’? Fortunately the relationship under the microscope is a longer standing and more roller-coster-esque one than my relationship between my significant other. Yoga practise and me. We have been together for more than ten years now and while there are times that we haven’t been as close as we would like to be, our deep bond means that we will likely be together forever. Yoga is something that I initially came to on my own through some reading materials and a DVD that I picked up in India. My practise grew slow and steady over the years and was something that was conducted without ‘guru’ guidance most of the time. It wasn’t until I joined a gym that my interest in yoga started to become a group practice with a ‘real-person’ flesh and blood teacher.
It can take some bravery to hit the mat in front of others. We might not be consciously aware of it but more often than not we are judging our practise based on that of the person next to us… or perhaps that annoyingly flexible girl in the corner (seriously…does she even have bones?!). For a long time my yoga consisted of mat based asana (pose) practise and I really enjoyed it. So much so that as a ‘treat’ to myself I enrolled in teacher training at the end of my Environmental Science Studies (yes… you heard right, my treat to myself for study completion was more study). While I was aware of the spiritual side of yoga through some of my asana practise teachers and general curiosity readings teacher training made me really think outside the boundaries of my scientific learnings. Suddenly I felt like part of the universe, not someone on a small planet in a small body studying small scale things. A very important part of understanding sustainability and the connectivity of global issues.
Yoga and energy.
In 2015 I started looking into the energetic side of yoga teaching through my studies with Hannah of Reality Awareness. Having studied science and learned the laws of thermodynamics I started to come to my own understanding of how energy works, and that the World (and Universe as far as we know) is all made from the same basic building blocks and that the way that they are organised and vibrate makes the things we see. So essentially… same crap… different shape. Science cannot explain how everything works. In fact the key idea behind science and the scientific method is that any idea is open to being proven wrong. For example, historically we thought the Earth was flat, then it turns out all that time it was round (or so our current scientific findings tell us). While we could quite adamantly say that it is most definitely round, there is nothing to say that another thousand years from now we find out that it’s actually something totally random like a planet in galaxy on gigantic space cats collar like Orion’s Belt in Men In Black (hey… it could happen we never know). As far as who created the energy that makes stuff (or what god you identify with as the creator if indeed you identify with one), or who controls it all is all pretty mystical and unknown. So… as a scientist/yogi who loves to stay open to possibilities I moved into the study of Chakra energy.
Chakra’s and Me… To date.
Chakras are energetic centres on the human body where our life force energy flows (that zap that keeps your heart and your brain going and all the blood and thoughts flowing around). The premise of Chakra energy has been passed down and adapted over thousands of years through many traditions and there are a variety of interpretations on how they work. At present my teacher Hannah has been working us through the regular seven Chakra centres (root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown) along with addition of the ear chakra. As I’m professionally trained for scepticism I can’t say that Chakra awareness will be everyone’s cup of tea (or chai latte) but from the very first ‘Light Filled Yoga’ asana class I took under Hannah’s guidance the words she spoke about our body and our bodies energy enters correlated to the way my body responds to situations and to specific focus on energetic movement practise, alignment and clearing. Whether or not this could be a placebo effect or something more universal all that really matters is that if you find something that works for you that doesn’t harm yourself, others, or the environment
not go with it? If you are getting the results you desire and your not about to die of malnourishment (breatharians I’m still skeptical of you) or bodily harm, it doesn’t really matter if science can’t prove it’s effectiveness. This is my honest to goodness scientific answer to all ‘new age’ literature and practices.
A couple of weeks ago I participated in a Solar Plexus workshop after having been working on the solar plexus chakra for two months during asana practise. The Solar Plexus is said to be a bright sunny ball of yellow energy that radiates from below our heart and above our belly button. It is the energy respobile for our liver, gall bladder and small intestines. It also relates to our sense of self (such as our worth, belief, trust and esteem), our personal power, our playfulness and ‘inner child’, along with some contentious topics like anger, control, dominance and freedom. I believe that working on this area for two months allowed me to open up and accept that I needed to take a leap of faith and move to full time study. To trust in myself and my capacity to create my own career path. It can be hard to let go and take leaps of faith because we are often told to ‘play it safe’ or that we need to have control at all times and be ‘grown up’. However this control and adult behaviour is all a bit of an illusion as we really have very little control over how events pan out. We pretty much have about as much control as we had when we were children. Because no matter how well we plan for the end result of our actions or time/monetary investments there is a good chance that a meteor could fall out of the sky and land on our ‘perfect wedding’ or that we get hit by a bus crossing the road to get a carton of soy milk thus ruining our incredibly well planned day at work.
Moving on from the teaching that my confidence and control based solar plexus chakra has shared with me (some were happy, others were angry, none were judged to harshly) Hannah is now taking us through our Sacral Chakra. A centre that looks at the creativity, emotion, enthusiasm, and spiritual nourishment. I am looking forward to seeing what shifts the examination of this area brings for me and would be happy to share more about this experience if people were interested in talking yoga and energetic bodies.
Do you practise yoga? Have you worked or do you work with Chakra’s and your energetic body? Would you like to hear more discussion about yoga on Sustainability in Style? Tell all below.