Often when I teach public classes, I see people going deeper and deeper into a stretch or into a pose as if there was a place to get to. In many movement practices, we view the deep stretch as the opening we need or the opportunity to explore intensity.
The more I observe this happening, the more I realize we often lean into physical sensation, desperate to feel something other than the intensity that's already there: our emotions and thoughts. The things we may actually need to feel and acknowledge.
As cliché as it may sound, you've got to feel something to "heal" it. And while the physical sensation may feel oh-so-good in the moment, most often it's a distraction from real embodiment. From presence. And from the scariest thing of all: our own power.
Our bodies can lead us right into the heart of our own light, our beauty, our shadows, our innate wisdom, if only we'd stop pushing and pulling, and simply feel how exquisitely intelligent the human body is. How much we can learn about our souls when we pay attention to what is already deep within us, waiting to be seen.
When I work with clients, we may explore some of those same things that bring you to yoga: tension, chronic pain, injury recovery, building strength, and flexibility. But that's not what this work of Embodiment really is.
You'll discover strength and space within yourself that you never knew you had! But it won't come from "hip-openers" and finding ever-deeper backbends.
You'll dismantle paradigms and transform the way you relate with your body and soul. But it won't come from doing a 20 minute headstand, getting into the perfect heart-opener, or finally learning that one stretch that will relieve that tension in your neck.
It will come from committing to tending to your body + soul. It will come from presence. It will come from deep listening, learning how to translate the innate wisdom of your body, trusting and, most importantly, taking action around what this incredibly wise body has to tell you.
It will come from feeling the way every single bone in your body is in motion and where that motion gets stuck.
It will come from feeling the way grief has settled into your left ovary and before it will unwind, a story needs to be told.
It will come from exploring your boundaries and what it actually feels like in your physical gut to say no to things that are not for you.
The transformation that comes from embodiment only comes because you are constantly choosing that which will bring you from the old into the new.
How do the sensations speak to you?
This is the journey I've been on for 10 years now.