I feel a little like our culture is weighing me down and I’m just ready to get a bit wild from the structures in society ~ Kat Farrants
What is Wilding?
What on earth do I mean by Re-Wilding my practice? It’s time to do yoga outdoors, go barefoot, and move more intuitively.
To me, wilding is returning to my inner-nature. Returning to my true self, to what my body and mind are feeling, not what the culture says that I should be feeling.
Our culture has been so bound by rules, and we literally embody those rules, our bodies reflect society’s wishes. Often these things are subconscious, we don’t realise that they are happening. We don’t realise that we are crossing our legs, inhibiting our body movements, making ourselves physically smaller in the world. Why? because that is how we feel that society wants us to be.
I see this reflected in movement practices. Yoga used to be so dogmatic. You always heard ‘hips should be here, knees must be straight, your foot must be turned out at this angle…’. But now we are learning to be more intuitive with how we move.
We Learned to Become more Intuitive about our Movement
In recent year we have learned to be more about how our bodies move, and are learning about the immense differences between our different bodies. We have begun to see that traditional practices of yoga weren’t always the healthiest for each of our bodies. We learned to feel our practices from within, to become more intuitive about our movement. Most of all, we learned that our bodies are telling us how we should move, and the importance of listening to our own body and feelings, rather than the dictates of society.
Many of the teachers on MFML, like me, started their yoga journey decades ago. Back it was all a lot more structured. We learned how to practice and teach from the main schools of Hatha yoga (which were mostly Iyengar and Ashtanga). But times have changed, and now many of those teachers teach somatic movement.
Here are my 5 ways to re-wild your yoga practice (and as a result your life!):
- Go Mat-less: There is nothing more restrictive in a yoga practice than a yoga mat. It literally gives us a physical boundary of where we can yoga and where we’re not practising yoga. Yes, a yoga mat is nice and comfy and grippy and makes us feel safe. But that feeling of comfort and safety is exactly what we’re moving out of. We’re going into un-bounded territory here!! Going wild, going free, practicing without limits. When you practice without a yoga mat you’re more likely to feel free in your movement. It also builds more strength in your core to keep you safe and stable!
Kat’s suggestions: try knee pads, rugs, carpets or blankets – or even better, go and do your yoga outdoors. Practice with the grass beneath your feet to give you less boundaries in how you move.
- Go into Nature, do yoga outdoors: Practising with the sky above my head makes me feel boundless, limitless. The feeling of a breeze on my skin when I practice really makes me feel playful, joyful and opens up my senses.
Kat’s suggestions: Try practising barefoot outside! Looking for inspiration you can put headphones in and listen in to one of the MFML Yoga classes.
- Go Barefoot: Whenever possible! The feeling of the ground beneath my feet grounds me to this beautiful earth, to the here and now, makes me feel present to all of life. When I feel present and real, in the here and now, I really feel more wild. I feel more free to be me and express my own, true, wild nature.
Kat’s Suggestion: sensitive feet? Try our some barefoot shoes with our friends over at Vivo Barefoot
- I go within: Using the practices of Yoga Nidra, Sound Healing, Meditation and other daily movement practices, I go within to learn who I am. Then I can go out in the world to express my very own truth, not the truth that I’ve been taught by our culture.
Kat’s Suggestion: Try adding props to help you go within. Try an eye pillow, or sandbags to help you ground with weight in a Yoga Nidra
- Staying Curious: Whenever a teacher, or anyone tells me to do something, or not to do something, I remain curious as to what they’re saying, how it feels, and why that might, or might not, be appropriate for me. Just because it’s their truth and their experience doesn’t mean that it is mine. Staying open-minded to different versions of reality, different truths, but staying true to my own is essential to my own re-wilding of my life.
Kat’s suggestion: Try journaling after your practice. See what comes up for you, reflect on how each practice feels. Get to know yourself better.
I Found Freedom
I’ve found so many transformative benefits from my gradual re-wilding process. Now that my movement practices are less restricted, less bound by the cultural norms that society puts upon us all, I I feel lighter.
Once I took to the task of very consciously, questioning my movement patterns and practices, my body felt so much lighter physically and emotionally. I have found freedom in being able to take the different styles of yoga or movement from feeling restrictive, and like a ‘must do’, to playful movement and only moving in a way that brings me more joy.
I feel freer – As always, my body reflects how my mind feels, which is much less stressed, much less burdened. So my recommendation right now, is download a class on the MFML app and take your yoga outdoors!
Written by Kat Farrants, founder of Movement for Modern Life.