Stay in your body.
Our minds can carry us backward and forward in time emotionally charging us through past moments or creating anxiety about future situations that do not exist. When we let elements outside of our body control our emotions, it can lend itself to unnecessary suffering. In the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and observing the possibility of existing mentally in a future state of mind, “Don’t make assumptions” can create anxiety and undue emotional distress. Using this agreement and the principal of “Stay in Your Body”, as outlined by Jay Fields in “Teaching People, Not Poses”, it can make it impossible to create the mysteries you are trying to solve of the future, because it’s not real. It will also eliminate wasting time creating imaginary scenarios that can be validated by saying “I’ll be prepared for anything” but in actuality you just lost two nights of sleep over it. Stay in your body and in the moment.
When I feel myself going into my brain, I begin to churn, over plan, or reassess a conversation or situation and my breath becomes shorter and higher in the chest. I stop and remind myself that I can always “go back to me”. Through the use of pranayama and clearing my mind, the balance returns. I do this on average 3-5 times a day full out, reminding myself to shift my thought pattern when I feel stressful energy rising. This allows me to direct focus and have conscience decision making skills, clear conversations and enjoy the moment I am in.
When I am able to shift my mental state of mind back into my body I feel more complete and purposeful. I consider it my moving mediation wherever I am. My quality of life and present moments are greatly improved and “the creepers” also known as anger and anxiety take a back seat to the driver of The Crazy Train… Me. Having the ability to practice this mindfulness or conscience train of think shifting gives me a sense of power and love. I have the ability to manage and reset my emotions at any given time. It may take longer at one time than another but like mediation it’s coming back over and over and over to retrain the my mental health. It connects me to my physical body and I am able to give my body what it needs – space and air to breathe.
When I can stay in my body for extended amounts of time, an overwhelming sense of happiness occurs.
I notice it but do not reward myself for it because it’s not a “goal” it’s a way to operate clearly and fully.
This is something I learned from one of my teachers Leila Cranford. With the opportunity to share this in the classroom I could teach this one lesson over and over and over again. I want to share this experience of calm and abiding repetition.
As a yoga student being present on my mat can be difficult sometimes. If I have disconnected from my body over the course of the day multiple times and never return, then make it in for an evening class, it’s much more difficult to let my brain wrinkles flatten out. However, when connected deeply to my breath and really starting slowly to open my practice, I feel like I could stay on the mat forever. While practicing “Stay in your Body” as a student it also keeps me in tune with my anatomy. There is a higher accuracy with which I feel my own body, my creeks or tweaks approaching, and I’m able to keep my body safe. Connecting through the breath to stay present also guides me further into asanas because I’m not mentally competing with myself, I’m letting my body work on its own, I’m letting it happen.
This principal saves me everyday. That is the level of importance that it brings to me. Without the principal of “Stay in your Body” I would be driving my Crazy Train and Wrinkled Brain off the High Five to soar into the beautiful disaster of chaos my mind can create. The words “stay in your body” sound more simple than it can feel sometimes – but over and over returning back to the breath, empowering the mind to quiet and feeling where you are in the moment – that’s where the good stuff lives.
Looking for a good read? “Teaching People, Not Poses” by Jay Fields” is an excellent read for teachers and students. This book covers 12 principles for teaching yoga with integrity – but you don’t have to be a yoga teacher to enjoy this book. It’s not just about our practice on the mat, it’s about our practice of life and these 12 principles can crossover into any profession. Pick it up!