So which one are you ?.... No,not which gnome! That's Ted & Fred (or is it Fred & Ted ?!) The question to finish our week on Friday was are you an 'Inside Out' or an 'Outside In' type of person ? Both look very similar, just like Ted & Fred, at first glance almost mirror images. The question though wasn't about physical appearance so much as how you relate to the world. Do you normally 'see and feel' from the outside or from the inside your body?
Here's a little test to try....Lengthen both arms out in front of you at shoulder height. Focus on both hands and make circles with your wrists, both circling clockwise a few times then anti clockwise. Stop then repeat, this time considering how you are seeing and feeling this movement. Your eyes are attached to the hands as they move through the space in front of you. There is a strong visual aid connecting them to your brainwaves commanding them, therefore you are probably 'seeing and feeling' from the outside in. Now close your eyes and repeat this action. How are you seeing and feeling it ? Some of us will still 'see' the movement in our 'mind's eye' using the resonance of that earlier visual connection. Others will 'see' the muscles and joints rotating from the inside, sensing the hand and fingers moving space around them.
Okay, so now take off shoes and socks and walk forward looking down at your feet. Step really slowly and roll through each foot mindfully, connecting the heel, sole, ball of each foot and the toes to the surface below. Repeat again with your eyes looking forward. Note any difference. Now carefully (!) try a few slow steps with your eyes closed and head facing forward.
If you are a very visual person and work from the 'outside in' you may find your balance
compromised here! If so, try it again with eyes still closed, but turn to face down towards your feet. Visualise your feet walking as you step, feeling the connection of the bottom of your foot and toes to the floor travel through to the ripples of movement within. Did using the visual memory and 'inner eye' help your balance?
Those of you who work from the inside out may have felt more stable, feeling your muscles and bones reacting to the shift in weight. However, if we only focus on the inside with no connection to the outside of us we can feel less aware of what we are walking into!
In Yoga we use Asanas (Poses) and Pranyama (breath control practices) to connect with ourselves. Whichever way you come to this connection, whether from outside in or inside out, is fine. We often focus on experiencing what we are doing from both directions. We need to be aware of having both an outside and an inside for this to work. If we move without thought of how it is affecting our bodies internally we can hurt ourselves physically. Likewise, if we only focus on what we are moving internally without being aware of where our outside is we can literally bang into things!
Taking this off the mat, how we 'see and feel' what is outside affects us inside and vice versa. Becoming aware of how we act and react is incredibly helpful to stop us hurting ourselves or others. So whether you do this inside out or outside in, the point is to learn about yourself. They are not opposites, just the other side of the same thing.
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