Today: Yoga Vida, 666 Broadway @ 2pm --
What would it feel like to be completely uninhibited?
First: I'm in the process of revamping this blog! The style/format is still not what I want it to be but the goal is becoming clearer: To share my love and knowledge of yoga as a path to self care for myself and others. Each week I'll share a weekly post that corresponds with the weekly Dharma Talk (or 5 minute spiritual inquiry) that I kick off my yoga class with. I'll also share tidbits from the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program that I am currently enrolled in and that is currently blowing my mind. My main goals in life right now are to a) continue to teach yoga at more times and in more places b) develop the skills to provide one-on-one and small group yoga therapy (I got my Reiki Level 1 Certification this weekend woo hoo!!) and c) launch my new website along with my business partner Austin Stevenson, www.thesocialsutras.com - more on that later!! I will also end each post with a one line definition of yoga, which changes for me every single day.
And now onto the post:
When's the last time you felt completely free of inhibition? Maybe singing alone in your shower? Drunk at a nightclub spinning around on the dance floor? Crawling on the floor with a baby or a dog? What would it be like if you could feel uninhibited and free in your body all of the time? I certainly have no idea but the concept excites me. I've spent most of my life being very self-conscious and having an inability to fully "let go" and not worry what others were thinking of me. Yoga has given me a glimpse into this feeling of physical and mental freedom and I want to explore it more deeply.
When I looked up "uninhibited" the definition was "free of inhibition" (not so helpful). When I looked up "inhibited" instead, here's what I got:
-something that forbids, debars, or restricts
-an inner impediment to free activity, expression, or functioning: as
-a mental process imposing restraint upon behavior or another mental process (as a desire)
-a restraining of the function of a bodily organ
Inhibition can come from external forces, but it primarily comes from within, even if we don't always see it this way. It's easier to blame our problems on other people or society at large than it is to confront them within ourselves. On the most gross level, your body can inhibit itself due to a lack of health, strength, or flexibility, as in definition 4. Asana practice clearly helps with the physical aspects of inhibition but that's the easy part. Most of the time, inhibition is a construct of our own minds: "a mental process imposing restraint upon behavior" or "an inner impediment to free activity, expression." These mental constructs are MUCH more difficult to break through than the physical ones, which a few months of dedicated practice can do away with. Yoga is all about self work, no matter how frustrating, grueling, and everlasting it may be. This is the work that we choose to undertake as yogis.
In other words, it is not anyone - not a boss, not the mean girls, not the Supermodels in magazines- or anything - lack of money, our weight, our wardrobe- that holds us back and makes us feel inhibited or less than free: it's our own chitta vrittas or fluctuations of the mind. If we can still these fluctuations of the mind (which is the goal of Yoga as presented by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras) we can be free, uninhibited and able to express ourselves in any situation around any group of people no matter what.
Today in class we are going to explore postures that make the body more open and pliable. We'll position the body in ways that allow for deep, expansive breathing and will try to focus the mind on the breath and how good our bodies feel rather than on how we look in the poses or how "good" we are at them as compared to other people in the room. We'll try to break free of the mental constructs that make us feel like we're not enough. We'll forget about feeling small and "looking good" and will try to make ourselves as BIG as possible for one complete hour.