When I first came to yoga I was an athlete. I could barely touch my toes. My muscles were tight but strong. But mostly, my body learned how to armor in an effort to feel safe. When I came to yoga for the first time, stiff as I was, I noticed a sense of elongation in my muscles that gave me a new feeling inside. It felt so good to feel space in my joints and muscles and it was the beginning of me as an adult remembering how to feel again.
When we affect the body we affect the self. Over time, when we keep exploring our relationship with our bodies, we observe all the stories and narratives we carry in the structure of our bodies. We hunch our shoulders forward is an effort to protect our sensitive feelings. We push our hips forward out of pride, so we don’t have to feel our true power.
Through Yoga, Rolfing and other somatic practices, we work on literally reshaping or rebuilding your body. We start by disorganizing the old shape through movement, conversation, bodily practices and when possible, bodywork. This interrupts the old pattern, and in doing this you begin to reorganize your body. You can then create the new embodiment needed to support you in being the person you desire. It can literally change the way you feel about yourself and how you are in the world. I went from being shy and introverted to feeling an inner confidence and vitality simply by how I related to my body.
Try this simple practice of standing with your feet a few inches apart, arms by your sides. Close your eyes and bring your attention inside. Notice your whole posture and how its supported by the feet. Then rest your attention down into your feet. Notice if you are collapsing to the inner or outer edges or if you are to far forward or back. Then work to balance the weight evenly through the activation of your arches by spreading the toes and leaning your weight forward and back until you find center. Notice what it feels like to stand balances in your feet. Do you have a better sense of your self? Do you feel more grounded and present by standing firmly in and on your own two feet?