Here are some reflections from my practice and hopefully some inspiration for yours:
This winter and spring I have been concentrating on getting stronger through hiking. It has felt important as I enter into middle age to not just move more, but to be in nature and to be reminded that my body is a vehicle for connecting with the wilderness.
My asana practice is simple and sweet these days. I don’t try and get much out of my body- rather I attend to it so it feels good and balanced. This attitude has been distilled from years of practicing in ways that were not necessarily simple and sweet.
Even though I have always gravitated to gentle styles and found teachers who understood the meditative and spiritual dimension of yoga, I still pressured myself to do more and more. I imagine I thought that was my duty as a professional yoga teacher. It took some time to realize I was inflicting pain upon myself rather than resolving it, and that was serving no one!
This is really a lesson regarding the Mind. I didn’t know I was being aggressive. I didn’t know I was off track. My teacher Rama always emphasized a will-less way of progressing and I loved the message. It just took years to bear fruit and flowers. Perhaps there is much more to come. Meanwhile, I am pain free, at ease, and in awe with the way my practice has evolved.
This brings me to the concept of Mind/Body that I am playing with lately. In the new brain science we see more than ever that the mind and body are integral, not distinct. The mind is the body, the body is the mind. Awareness and sensitivity are keys to integration, thinking and dissecting are disturbances. Yogis and Buddhas and Mystics of all stripes have essentially agreed upon this- now there is a modern wave of contemplative science and study that affirms and explains the phenomena of integration.
It is an exciting and exhilarating new way of conceiving of self and human potential. What does your body tell you? How does the thinking and judging mind distort the information? How do we enter into the energy and information of the mind/body, learn from it directly? How do we translate this integration of being into our lives and world? What might it mean for the future?
In regards to your practice, I hope you have the opportunity to move more and the wisdom to will-less from your body. I wish you the enjoyment of nature and the opportunity to touch into wilderness. I pray that your own mind/body journey flowers into good health and spiritual integration. And that each of our practices aids to the healing of the world.
Blessings and Light, Natasha
Natasha Korshak is a long-time teacher and trainer of yoga, meditation, mindfulness and MBSR, and has been working in the field of integrative health and wellness her entire professional career. She is a graduate of the Interfaith Theological Seminary and an ordained Interfaith Minister specializing in contemplative practice, grief processing, and spiritual direction. Her study and training of mind/body/spirit methods is extensive and she has learned from many of the pioneers in their discipline. As the founder and director of the Sol Center she is well regarded for her depth, warmth, authenticity, and the smile in her voice.