With all this new Freedom isn't it great to just release? To kick off your shoes and run bare foot? There's something incredibly liberating not just in the letting go, but in finding the confidence to do just that! It's like the feeling of stepping nervously onto a dance floor, beginning to move self consciously to the rhythm of the music. Slowly it builds up through you and you find you can't reign the energy in any longer...and off you go, arms, legs and body apparently no longer under your control! Dancing may not be your 'thing', but whatever is, be it sport, singing or climbing mountains, the physical and emotional 'High' you get when you immerse yourself fully in the moment and give up all holding back is completely exhilarating!
Not all of us are ready to step out of our self built boundaries though. This containment is often a result of Fear.... of the unknown, of others' reactions, of not being able to draw back. As a culture the British are not known for being free spirits. We prefer to stand in orderly queues! Going back to our dance-floor, we tend to shy away from public displays.
What if it was only You though in your kitchen, radio blaring? Could you be more likely to let out your inner 'Wild Thing'?! It's so much easier when no one is looking isn't it?
This is where Yoga comes in (yes it is a Yoga Blog!). In Yoga we have two very special things that allow us to just let go and be ourselves without any worry of what we find or who might judge. Firstly, our Yoga mat. This doesn't necessarily need to be an expensive piece of equipment, if that's your treat to yourself then go for it, but a £4 Tesco one will do. The point is not what is under you, but where you are, in 75cms X 125cms of YOUR space. Within that space you are still contained, you are secure. It's like an imaginary force field is surrounding you, stopping anyone else from entering. Once you connect to this, there is no need to worry about what happens here on your mat. You can shape your body any way you like or just lie still. You can drift away from your physical body or wring out every emotion in a deluge of tears. You can wobble, fall over and laugh at yourself or find the perfect balance in every part of you. No judgements, no repercussions, just freedom to be You.
The second special thing is your Breath. Always there with you, mostly unnoticed. On the mat we work with it, taking control, directing it, manipulating it. It can charge us or recharge us. Depending on which energy we need we can draw it in our active right side through the Pingala Nadi (energy channel) our right nostril or calm us through the left side, our Ida Nadi. When you first find this connection and power in the choice of how you use your breath it is illuminating, a lightbulb moment! Best of all it's available to everyone. The comforting thing that stems from this is you can always therefore be sure of being able to bring whatever you release back under control. Knowing this and practicing in your space on the mat lets you liberate any inhibitions.
One little extra before I sign off... when Covid and Lockdown arrived and we all felt incredibly hemmed in and 'caged', there was a lot of insecurity amongst the Yoga community about losing control of how we practiced together. Rather than it being detrimental to our practice ( though perhaps not to the business side of Yoga) for me it opened doors. The online class flourished and I now practice live with people literally all over the world, bringing a huge new sense of the Yoga family we belong to. It also freed up those who normally hide at the back of class to do their own thing, whether 'Wild' or not, without the fear of being watched or judged by those around you
( those this is normally not true as they are totally worried only about what people are thinking of them!).
So here's my Yoga 'Wild Thing'.... please don't try this unless you feel confident, it is a powerful pose to manoeuvre through. Start on the floor on your knees if necessary and be responsible for your own practice....
Remember, we are the ones who are our own prison guards... let yourself 'break out' every now and again!
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