Yoga is a physical practice that accesses the emotions through the body with the assumption that the two can't be separated. Emotional processing is an integral part of our journey towards healing and wholeness. I have been drawing more and more on body psycho-therapeutic principles that are in line with yoga in order to help and promote this aspect of yoga.
As part of my Body Psychotherapy course in Cambridge I have been looking at different traditions of psychotherapy and I have come across this incredible prayer created by Dr. Fritz Perls - the founder of Gestalt therapy:
I do my thing and you do your thing.
(Fritz Perls, "Gestalt Therapy Verbatim", 1969)
It resonates deeply with me and I hope it does with you, too.
When you are in standing poses and your legs and hips are shaking, you may wonder what you can gain from these postures, particularly since they are a modern invention and traditional ancient yoga only worked with seated postures. In fact, "asana" is translated as "seat".
Apart from the obvious physical benefits of strengthening the leg and hip muscles, as well as being one of the best ways to open the hips - even better than seated poses - standing poses have an energetic and emotional effect on the body and mind.
One of the most import aspects for me is the ability to ground myself through standing poses. Grounding means to be in touch with the earth and therefore in touch with reality, which helps with seeing things for what they are without distortion and inner dialogue. When in standing poses we can direct our attention into our legs and feet more easily and send the energy downwards - thereby establishing an energetic connection with the earth. When we bring energy down the body, we reduce anxiety and stress, which often manifests as too much energy in chest and head.
Standing poses are a great way to draw our attention into our legs and feet and to run energy down our body, establishing a connection with the floor. When we are more grounded, we are also more rooted in the here and now. So, next time you are in standing poses, enjoy the feeling of being more rooted in reality and let your legs shake!
Yoga, well-being and mindfulness... always walk in beauty.