What keeps you coming back to your movement practice? Yoga philosophy reveals how to access a place of peace
All of us who have ever practiced a yoga class, qigong or mindful movement know why we keep coming back to the mat. There’s something incredibly magical feeling about even a very short practice. It really is remarkable what happens when you move mindfully, with your breath. It’s so much more than the feeling of endorphins that I get when I’ve done some fun cardio. It’s like entering a place of peace.
Feel connected for longer to a place of peace
It’s very hard to explain, but after a practice, when we drop into our final relaxation, I sometimes just get overwhelmed by feelings of peace, happiness and a feeling of connectedness with everything around me. I may start crying, as emotion just takes over. Often I get a feeling of almost being overwhelmed by the beauty, the magic of the world. I feel my body tingling with aliveness. I feel truly awake, present to the moment. Each breath feels like it’s capturing the essence of that moment in time, almost like time stands still in the space between the breaths.
And then normal life resumes, the furrow in my brow returns, I think of all the endless ‘stuff’ on my to do lists. I’m no longer overwhelmed by the beauty and connection of the world, but rather my usual state of minor annoyance with everything in my way, returns. What a shame I go back to this contracted version of myself, after experiencing such vastness!! If only I could stay in this beautiful, expansive state of being.
But what is that feeling and how can it be explained? Well the Koshas are an ancient part of yogic wisdom. In this view, the feelings we have; the gut feeling, the underlying feelings of knowing and bliss – they’re all about what happens when we uncover the layers, or sheaths of the subtle body.
Practice to find that place of peace
Of course, the practice of taking yoga into everyday life, the practice of seeing vastness, seeing connection and beauty in everything we do, is the practice that I’m most committed to. But it’s a really hard practice, and it sure does take practice. Everyday events and annoyances seem to crop up round every corner which limit my perception and lead me back into places of annoyance.
These are the things that I have experienced during my practice, and in my life of living yoga off the mat. But I really hadn’t realised the connection between this and the ancient yoga philosophy of the koshas. Now I’m a trained yoga teacher, but somehow the concept of the yogic ‘sheaths’ or layers of the subtle body for me seemed very elusive.
Place of peace after every yoga practice
It took my conversation with Lucy McCarthy in our latest Podcast for her to unearth for me what the ancients clearly knew so well. According to yogic tradition, there is a whole philosophy, a yogic science, based around the feelings I’ve been having! I really love how, in the podcast, Lucy’s interpretation on savasana is the ‘gold dust’ of the yoga practice, it’s the ‘pressing save’ on all the work we’ve done in our practice. It’s the part of yoga which brings us into balance. Those flashes of wisdom, when we start to listen and respond to our inner wisdom? Well, that’s the vijnanamaya kosha, the wisdom kosha, in action. That’s the inner body wisdom, which is so hard to access on a daily basis, but is just so necessary in order for us to go to that beautiful state, and to really know who we are.
‘Rational understanding is not the only form of wisdom and not the only way of living your life… don’t let it be the dictator of how you live your life’.
It’s this getting more closely acquainted with your quietness, your gut feelings, your inner wisdom and your inner bliss. That can be the thing that shows us the real path ahead.
About Kat Farrants:
Movement for Modern Life’s fabulous founder Kat Farrants lives her yoga and her own yoga practice informs how she develops MFML. Kat wrote this post using inspiration of how she can take the small steps to move into a happier, healthier and more sustainable life. Please do join her on this journey and explore with us your happiest, healthiest, most sustainable life.