Embodiment

We might not necessarily see a movement programme as a spiritual process, but it can be, especially in yoga practices. Many people that have a consistent movement routine, find that it filters into other areas of their lives – allowing them to handle stress better, becoming better at their jobs or revealing career shifts that they would like to make. When we look at yoga as a practice, the movement element of it, Asana, is closer to the beginning of the process towards attaining enlightenment. It is through movement, that our bodies, minds and spirit start to align which often results in us getting closer to our true selves, revealing our purpose.

There are a few slightly differing definitions for the term ‘embodiment’. For the purposes of this article, I am referring to becoming the change we envisioned in our initial goals through our practices. For example, going from “I am going to run” to “I am a runner”. And not just saying, really feeling it.

When you first start practicing, what you are doing might feel completely foreign to you. I have trained many people, from yoga to strength training, that have never done these practices before. The uncertainty of each movement is often visible. Being aware of this, my job is to reassure them. To let them know that they are doing well and making progress, even though they don’t feel it yet themselves. However, if I was to criticise each element of their movements and overcorrect them, they would feel totally deflated and probably lose motivation to continue very quickly.

It’s no different when you are training yourself. That voice inside of you can either encourage you or break you down. Please keep encouraging yourself. It is completely normal for new movements or practices to feel foreign initially, but try to connect with your body and trust what it is telling you. Always listen to your body. Let this be your most important guide when you practice. Don’t try to match the intensity or flexibility of somebody else. Go within and learn to understand your own unique needs and capabilities, knowing that these will change with the seasons, age and mood, amongst other things. You know better than me, or any other trainer, what your body can or can’t do on a particular day. Listen to it and let it guide you.

Eventually these practices will become easier – until you are ready to increase the intensity of what you are doing.

Allowing yourself to move through this initial period of discomfort and unease, will allow you to break through to the next level. Once you start to feel your body transforming, your confidence will grow and it will allow you to build a stronger connection with your body, until you feel no separation with your body, more “in your body”… embodied! You can start to embrace this new feeling and new shape. As you do, you will go deeper into yourself and more in touch with your depths and possibly your purpose.

Movement makes us come alive – from gentle subtle movements to more intense ones. Feeling invigorated by this will filter into other areas of our lives – our relationships, our work and our other day-to-day activities. When we start to feel this, the motivation to move becomes intrinsic and something we want to do, without needing to be pushed.

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