Yoga, Ayurveda and acro yoga in Budapest - classes, philosophy also in English

2011. június 22., szerda

Acro yoga – an opportunity to learn from your body

I treated myself this year again with a 5 day immersion in Acro yoga. This time I took the Acrobatic immersion in Berlin which is probably the most challenging out of the three immersions on offer (General, Therapeutic, Acrobatic, for more info check Since all my life I was exempted from PE classes, I was quite proud of myself that I made it this far. I was very glad when the organizers said on day no.1 , ‘Be happy that you belong to that small percentage of the population who can actually attempt these exercises’.

Yes, I am here and I attempt, but can I actually do it? I was mostly doing the job of the flyer, so my mantra was just ‘Squeeze and trust’.  This means that you just basically need to keep a good tightness in your body so that your base can support you and that you have some resistance that we can work with. So ok, I squeeze and trust but still I had this constant thinking going on. I desperately wanted to UNDERSTAND in all positions where I was and what was happening. Although it is very hard to follow such details when your are suddenly turned upside down, maybe even twisting and shifting your body weight from one point to another in the air. I could not ‘see’ with my imaginary eyes where I was and this was rather discomforting. There was even a moment when I felt my mind and body separating, a complete friction. My mind simply could not follow what the body was doing, nor could it understand the directions and the posture, but my body just did it. And it did it beautifully and perfectly correctly.   

It seems that maybe my body is more intelligent than my mind?

All my life I was a left brained person. My legal training and education was pushing me to this direction. I remember that also when I started dancing it was so hard for me to pick up choreography. I always wanted to understand first the steps and the moves, down to the smallest details, and then I thought I would be ready to realize it. For me it was always harder to listen to the body. Yoga helped me to soften up to a certain extent, but still at this immersion I was faced with this old problem. However, after this initial experience of letting the body do it, I created myself a mantra for the rest of the training: “I learn from my body”. From then onwards, I even asked my helpers to just give me little touches rather than telling me left or right, hand or legs, pike or straddle. It seemed that up in the air these instructions did not mean that much to me. I just needed to feel the positions in my body. I was also lucky to have a very stable and patient Base, who was hard enough on me but who would give me some moments of breaths before we attempted a harder pose. When I asked, we just stopped and instead of trying to discuss the technical details, we posed for three deep breaths focusing inside, bringing more prana in, and then attempted the exercise, lift, jump or whatever, with a greater focus. Needless to say, when we applied this little “pranayama”, we had very good results. When Phill, my base said ‘Nice’ with that ecstatic voice, I was not just literally but also figuratively in the sky.

Breath, prana, body. We hear these words so often in the yoga world, but we rarely realize their real connection. Yes, we all know that there is a link, but we are not perfectly aware of the nature of their interplay. We should all strive to experience the fact that the body is not just a mass of bones, muscles and tissues, but it is in fact a creation of Prana. It is a conscious entity, the temple of our Soul that is created by the life force. The fact that we can move, keep our spine erect and walk, that we have bodily functions irrespective of our will, these are all the results of the operations of the Prana. The body is made of Prana and also our yoga practice or any other bodily posture is a product of Prana. When in that crazy upside down posture  my mind separated from my body, I understood how the Prana can move my body even if the mind and my will power are completely switched off. The Prana makes the poses not the body or the mind. These latter are just a vehicle for the Prana to manifest.

Prana is this greater consciousness, symbolized by Lord Shiva and that is also why we hear in many yoga class the mantra Om Namah Shivaya. This mantra is a reverence to this Higher Consciousness, the highest manifestation of the Prana that creates our world and us therein. Prana is this intelligent, creative force that can bring about new things, achievements, change. In my example it created some beautiful acrobatic bodily movements that I thought I was not capable of performing. But Prana did it. The breathing exercise helped to get focused on this creative power of Prana.

Funnily enough, it is such a natural reaction in our life. Just watch that when you want to attempt something important, like pulling a question at an exam, taking a decision, making an effort be it physical or mental, you first take a deep breath in. You sigh. You naturally want to take more Prana in and unconsciously let this higher consciousness work through you. Seemingly, your Body again knows it better what to do.

Just breathe, be and let creativity come forth. Or as my base, Phill would say in his succinct manner, ‘Think less, do more’.

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