A Humble and Sweaty Beginning to Self-Awareness
I found yoga in my late twenties/early thirties, and though I had been a dancer for several years, I found that I never really understood what it meant to live inside my own body. I had trained my limbs to perform choreography but had not felt the kind of personal power that comes from living inside one’s own bones. The beginning of understanding started with hip openers. These yoga poses were uniquely excruciating for me and, weirdly, were also the family of poses that changed me internally the most. I left hip opening classes worn out to a kind of extreme calm. I used to stumble out of yoga with wobbly legs, a voice that was a full octave lower than my usual tone, and a kind of drunk presence that fully appreciated and was gob-smacked by the beauty of the setting sun.
It was a humble and sweaty beginning to self-awareness.
I guess that I’m not alone here, either. Many folks walk around disconnected from their own bodies, wondering why they feel like they’re incomplete somehow. Some spend years exploring what our culture says will make them happy until they realize late in the game that a life of fast living, big money, and outer beauty doesn’t do it either.
For me, what began with hip openers has grown into something else entirely. I now have a variety of entry points to find and inhabit my body. Like it goes anywhere? But, let’s say that I now have a lot of reminders to move me back into my body. To remind me to come home.
So what does that mean – to be in a body? What does it feel like to be in your body? Living in my body means stepping into my power. A coaching buddy of mine talked today about how important it is that she steps into her power at all times. For me, stepping into my power requires that I’m in my body. It feels as if I’m an ancient tree standing in the forest. A bit gnarled on the outside, but my insides are strong and rooted deep within the earth. I’m connected both to sky and soil. There’s something elemental about it - earth, sky, water, air. I’m aware of everything around me and yet deeply rooted to the spot on which I’m standing. Unshakable. I can be curious, perhaps appreciative, about what’s happening around me, but there’s no feeling that I should be anywhere else. I am safe and have incredible power at my fingertips. I am connected to a higher power, not making myself smaller nor hiding. I’m claiming my space and extending myself fully into the world.
When I lead my life from this place of power, I love those around me, no matter how they choose to walk through this world. Fear recedes, and I stop holding on for dear life. I let things fall apart. I embody authenticity, integrity, and integration. From this place, I can see the depth of a small question. I have a more broad and curious view of the world. Magic happens. Communication is crystal clear. And, I see the world as infinitely more beautiful from this space, too.
That feeling for me started when I fully engaged with my body, breathed deeply, found length and opening physically from the inside out. It’s not the only way to access oneself, but that’s how it began for me, and it still remains a powerful connector. A deep breath that extends all the way down to your pelvis is a life-changing thing. A moving ribcage can move mountains.
When I’m in my body, I have the tools get to know myself and the people who are right in front of me. Isn’t that why we’re all here on this earth together?