Embodiment,  Intelligence,  Practice

Inspirational Anatomy

A few weeks ago, after my dubstep yoga experience described in my last post, I attended an  in-depth anatomy workshop led by Matthew Van Der Giessen of Edmonton.  Matthew teaches beginner and advanced level anatomy workshops through the Yoga Association of Alberta and this was the third workshop of his that I have attended.  I was excited to attend this workshop because the first two I did with Matthew a number of years ago was the only times I’ve ever felt genuinely excited about anatomy.  Matthew has spent a number of years studying a somatic approach to the body which emphasizes “sensory based learning and the organization of movement through patterns“.  My understanding of this is that somatic approaches believe that our being naturally wants to move toward functionality and is guided toward this through innate intelligence.  This is the same innate intelligence of the cosmos that creates the orbits of planets or spring-time splendor.   The problem is we also have another innate function that tends to get in its own way in the movement toward functional integration of this greater intelligence – the micromanager we often refer to as the ego.  While intelligence attempts to guide us into optimal balance in body, heart and mind the ego, with all its grand ideas about how things SHOULD be, interferes and imposes its own will.   In the process this great intelligence is rendered impotent, and we experience this as pain – be it physical or emotional.
I could feel my cells come alive and all of me scream an internal, resounding “YES!” when Matthew stated the following about yoga: The point is not that we come to correct form, but that we come to a more complete embodiment”.  Perhaps the quote of the decade.  In other words, the fixation on correct form in asana can be a trap of the ego, instead let us practice asana with the intention of becoming more whole.  Think of how much there is to embody when we are willing to feel our way into every movement’s experience.  The point is to pour consciousness into every nook, cranny and crease of our being so that we may live more completely from each place.  As we become more deeply connected to ourselves through awareness it becomes possible to hear the answer to the question “where does my body want to go?” – as Matthew put it – instead of “how does my mind want to fix, change or contort my body?” The workshop became very inspirational as we learned about anatomy from the place of relationship:  relationship between parts, between our bodies and minds, between soul and matter.  It added another dimension to my constant inquiry “what is embodiment? Or, what does it mean to become more whole?”  Which is my question for you! In my next blog I will explore this more based on my own meditation of this question….  looking forward to any of your thoughts before then!