As I published the last blog Fear and fearlessness in yoga practice, Rick Hanson’s newsletter Feel Whole. Just One thing landed in my inbox . Hanson is an American psychologist who has written extensively on inner resilience.
In this latest newsletter he includes a practice on cultivating a sense of “wholeness” and feeling at ease with oneself. He refers to the importance of listening to “bottom up signals” as opposed to the “big boss”:
The mega part – the big boss – is of course the inner executive, the decision-maker and driver – some call it the ego – centered in neural circuits in the prefrontal cortex, behind your forehead. This part is determined to a fault, running things top down, ignoring bottom-up signals of growing fatigue, irritability, burnout, and issues with others
It always seems a little forced when I make links between our yoga practice and such erudite statements but – these posts and our practice is all about sharing. So – deep breath – when we practised soft forward bends → uttanasana →- squats this week, we did so with a sense of the whole movement emanating from well-placed footprints. We were aware of the work in the hamstrings and gluts but the emphasis was upon the movement and to what extent we were able to map this movement and sense this movement travelling through the body. All about the whole movement. This experiential learning necessitates a willingness to “listen to the body” and a little hint about being brave enough to pause, sometimes helps some of us.
I am still excited about the fact that by pressing into one footprint, for example, the sensory messages that allow us to lift, drop, flex, extend, side bend and rotate can be felt so clearly – if we relax. If you come to class, you will have practised the one-legged psoas release movement. Freeing our breathing helps immeasurably, of course, and we work on this at the beginning of every session.
I gave some footprint “homework” to one class and hope that even with such a tiny movement – just one thing – you will see results. Any of the toe stuff featured in previous blogs will help:
You may find something else in previous posts that resonates more clearly now or that you may wish to challenge. I am in the process of reflecting upon previous posts in order to test whether they stand up to scrutiny. By using the search box at the bottom of the homepage of insideyoga.blog you can submit a keyword and, hopefully, a post will pop up.
There is much to explore on Rick Hanson’s site . You can subscribe to the free newsletter “Just One Thing” or download some of the guided meditations.
See some of you next week.