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February 2, 2020

Reawakening our Soft Animal Bodies through Partner Yoga.

I love the human body, I truly do.

I love how the body reminds us of what is real and alive in us. I love its soft animal nature and how it provides a sense of connection, embodied bliss, and present moment awareness. 

Or in the words of poet Mary Oliver: “You do not have to be good. You just have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

Obviously, the body is not just a vehicle for bliss; it is also where we experience pain and discomfort, both physical and emotional. 

For me, this is simply another reason to appreciate it. 

The body is continually reminding us to slow down, breathe, and listen. To become more present with ourselves and each other and to allow whatever is honestly happening.

Right now, stop, close your eyes and tune in. Take a few rounds of slow, conscious breath and notice what you notice. It can be this simple and easy to slow down our thinking and come home to our body and the aliveness of the moment.

It is also easy in this digital age to become hypnotized by the continual distractions that surround us—to stay lost in the trance of thought while the immediate and present moment awareness of our body is always calling to us, sometimes quietly, sometimes more forcefully.

Recent research in neurobiology provides fascinating information on the role of the body in brain health. We now know that body awareness is essential for integrating the two hemispheres of the brain. Each hemisphere provides certain vital functions, and it is the right hemisphere that connects us to our body awareness and to our emotions. It is also the right hemisphere that is relational and that can empathize with ourselves and others.

Attunement to the sensations of the body is a simple and direct path to support the brain to function more effectively. The practice of yoga, and partner yoga in particular, is a pleasurable and effective way to bring balance to our brain and body. 

Partner yoga has a balancing effect, not only on the hemispheres of the brain, but on many of the polarities we experience, including self and other, masculine and feminine, and perhaps most importantly, our human and our spiritual natures.

Connecting with others without words softens the mind, opens our heart, and reminds us to enjoy the sweetness and kindness of our soft animal bodies. 

Something magical happens in simply sitting sacrum to sacrum with another. Our nervous system and emotional body receives the message that we are safe and held. Our physical body relaxes and our subtle body awakens. 

We directly feel the truth that all spiritual teachings point to—that we are all connected.

The body is a profound mirror of our soul, the vehicle within which we experience our humanity. Partner yoga is a precious and joyful way to honor our bodies while building a bridge between our humanity and divinity.

 

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author: Elysabeth Williamson

Image: Author's Own

Editor: Catherine Monkman