Sometimes in a yoga class that I am taking as a student, I can fall into what I call the “spinning” state of my brain where it doesn’t want to turn off and instead wants to continue having a very boring and self-centered internal conversation about me and my world while the teacher in front of me continues to teach a wonderful class.
The awareness of “arriving” is an ever shifting exploration for me right now. And although I don’t always mention “arriving here” in a subtle way in the classes that I teach, I do invite you to arrive over and over back in your bones, your joints and your awareness… and thus, you naturally “arrive here.”
When I truly “arrive”, I tend to feel that the mind isn’t quite as distracted by the shower of thoughts. It still gets pulled toward the black hole of my musings somewhere between a little and a lot, but I just keep coming back to the movement and the sensations in my breath, bones and muscles. In doing so, I acknowledge the sensations. Some may be painful and some may be pleasant, but I can guarantee you that the more I feel, the more I will feel. And I cannot choose which sensations to ignore (for example, pain) and which to drink up (for example, a sensation of ease in my back). If I choose to ignore one, my brain will learn to dampen the experience of them all… and that means all of the good feelings from my practice won’t seep in and stick around for me.
Try this “Arriving” exercise and see how vividly it might bring you into your body.
- Close your eyes and take a few breaths to notice how many thoughts are bumping around in that amazing brain of your’s right now. How would you describe the quality of the brain space?
My brain space feels a bit like loud static right now.
- Now, what is the opposite of that quality you just described?
For me, the opposite of static is quiet.
- Wherever you are, keep the volume of your breath the same, close your eyes and focus your attention on your left side body for 3 breaths. Now attention on your right side body for 3 breaths. Now attention on your back body for 3 breaths. Now attention on your front body for 3 breaths. And finally, attention on breathing 360 for 3 breaths. Remember, no increase in volume so just a natural inhale and exhale as opposed to super deep breaths.
- Now, just breathe and notice. What quality would you give to the brain space now?
My brain space now feels small and spikey – like tiny blips on a heart machine. It is quieter.
- What sensations do you notice in your body? Don’t ignore – embrace them all as learning to feel again.
In this moment, my breath is fuller, my mind is softer, I feel the right side of my sacrum aching and my right hip tough. My left hand is tingling. This is it. This is where I am.
That’s it. No more chewing on what is up with such and such part of my body. Just practicing feeling today. Just as we have to know where we’re starting when we plug in a drive route or track it on a map, we have to know where we’re starting when we’re ready to make true progress away from pain and toward more ease.
Try it out and let me know how it goes.
Cheers to feeling more and, as a result, arriving here.