The landscape of the body

I have been reflecting recently on the process of becoming more embodied through our yoga practice. Many years ago, when I first began my journey of exploring yoga, I became aware of what I refer to as the emotional body – the realm within us where we are able to sense our emotions, feelings and all the subtle textures of our felt experience. As I began to deepen my yoga practice I noticed that I entered into a more intimate relationship with myself and that our bodies hold our history. Sometimes during time on my mat and after a class I felt myself opening up to joy, happiness, even bliss, and sometimes uncomfortable feelings of anger, grief, even sadness.

This emotional landscape that we begin to encounter can leave us at times feeling challenged and unsettled. Herein lies the paradox – that to live a more open-hearted and aware life means that we have to learn to be with uncomfortable aspects of our experience, but doing so enables us to be more fully there with empathy for ourselves and others as they encounter what for them may be a challenging time in their life. This also offers us a opportunity to fully open up to the moments of happiness and joy that we encounter as we pass through our lives. I shall leave you this month with some words from the great Sufi master Rumi which captures the essence of this way of being.

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.