Over the past few days, I’d been spent a lot of time studying and in sitting position because of school—a lifestyle that is more mentally active and physically sedentary than I would like.
I’m still adjusting.
Alas, yesterday, I finally felt like I had reached my maximum studying or “mental download” capacity limit. Feeling the onset of a real mental burnout, I knew that I needed to take my attention completely away from anything related to sitting (standing up, outside!), studying (doing something physically!) or thinking (sensing!).
Basically, I needed to unplug and to find my ground again.
As I set an intention to quiet my mind down and tune in to my body, I slowly feel, listen, breathe, explore or take a chance to just be with it completely.
My body needed movement with guidance about self-trust.
I let my body do what it wants under a voice of teaching guidance, and shut my brain off from it all. After all, my overworked brain needed a good power-off break.
As my yoga teacher started the flow class with a silent child pose, I imagined that now, starting with this very moment, it’s all about my body and her voice. I would surrender my mind from chattering, judging, or thinking. As if I allowed my teacher to catch me if I should fall, all the while flowing with the natural rhythm of my breath.
I knew what I needed here—an open communication with my body. My teacher’s graceful and compassionate energy and words of wisdom imparted in class dialed into the same wavelength of that communication I needed. And I’m grateful.
Through the first half of the class, I had already sweated more than I thought I would, but that didn’t really matter. What mattered to me yesterday was that I felt my body started to truly explore and even…have fun. This was a new type of sweat to me, brought on by unbound, playful and earnest exertion.
Oh no—it was not the butt-kicking-fighting-to-stay-alive-teeth-grunting sweat. It was the love-filled-body-opened-self-hugged sweat.
I embraced it.
As we went through the transitional postures from standing to floor series, it happened. I thought I would get into the posture, just like any other day, as it was one of the postures that we do in every flow class. Our teacher cued us to move into the posture, and then said that once we are set up comfortably with the posture and maybe feeling experimental, ready, or just want to play with it a little bit, to close our eyes.
”Let your body guide you to what it wants to do, as its fullest expression of this posture. There is no wrong way to do this…and there is no right way either.”
“Ok,” I thought, “that’s different.” Little did I know, this brought a new meaning of Tree pose (Vrksasana) to me.
Initially when I closed my eyes, I felt my body started to lose its balance on my one standing leg; I sensed my mind immediately tried to grip onto something—a thought, an emotion, a jolt sent down to my standing foot—but my awareness stepped into this very moment to observe and soften the alerting flutters.
Instead, I lengthened and deepened my breath, in complete darkness. And as if I was speaking to my body, while quieting the mind, I sent the message: “Let’s try this again.”
Then, I felt a breath of fresh air filling my lungs like I had never experienced before, because my body responded: it wanted to stand firm and it wanted to be more open.
I let it, completely.
That is when I experienced the epiphany: this is what it feels like to completely trust my body.
As if my minds’ eye is being blind-folded, with no control, I can trust only my eye’s eyes, of my intuitive body, to guide me where I am going. Opening my chest even more as I pressed my interlaced fingers with palms up towards the sky, I yearned for more cleansing air, as if I was standing taller, in a higher altitude.
I felt my feet, my leg, my body, my arms, my whole physical being, not as separate body parts, but becoming one moving breath. I moved and breathed with intention and it was exhilarating and eye opening (pun intended).
Like a tree deeply rooted in its foundation under the surface, its trunk develops agility to withstand external weather patterns at times, I experienced my body’s strength and flexibility, at the same time, in tree pose.
Guided by awareness, closing my eyes quieted down the windy rattles of my mind, and I was much more in tune with what my body craved. Being blindfolded—or not seeing with my eyes—allowed me to turn inward and still see with my inner eyes (intuition), which sees everything more clearly…perhaps even clearer than with my naked eyes.
I am a tree that has a strong roots, growing stronger and deeper underneath the soil surface, standing taller into the sky.
I know this because my body has shown me so.
Josie Huang is an evolving yogini and yoga teacher. Outside of yoga, she is a curious foodie; a knowledge-thirsty Registered Dietitian to-be; an experimental fitness healthnut who loves clean and delicious foods. She is a fledgling who is following her life long passions, combining her love for health, yoga, food and nutrition. As she is exploring different loves in life, she reminds dedicated to staying open to all phases of her journey. When she is not practicing yoga, creating delicious food, or studying, you can find her reading a good book, talking about health, yoga, food and nutrition to anyone who would listen to her or just want to try her cooking. You can find her via her website.
Like elephant yoga on Facebook.
Ed: Bryonie Wise