THE ART OF LISTENING

THE ART OF LISTENING

My practice draws on both body psychotherapy and yogic theories. I encourage students and myself to work within our ‘feeling’ channel, and to be led by the intelligence of the body, favouring our intuitive response over a shape or pose. This sequence is about staying ‘in contact’ with ourselves and our bodies as we explore movement. For me, yoga has to serve life ‘off the mat’so the asana is a way for me to develop the skills of deep listening and feeling that can then inform my relationships out in the world. Use this sequence as a guide and an opportunity to check in with yourself and to listen. Get curious and use your time on the mat to gather information about yourself and your body. Where does it feel good to move to or to make space? Where do you notice tension? Every time we approach our practice in this way, we deepen our awareness and the possibility of embodiment  .

KNEES TO CHEST
Start by lying on your back and draw your knees into your chest. Rest your hands on your knees and begin to explore slowly rocking your knees forwards and back, side to side, or in a circle. Imagine that you are giving your lower back a massage. Be led by what feels good.

BRIDGE
Place your feet on the ground about hip distance apart and underneath your knees. Spread your toes. Press your  feet evenly into the ground and feel the tailbone begin to tuck under and the pelvis/spine begin to peel away from  floor, hips moving towards the sky . When you feel that you have reached height of that movement let the front body soften and curl the spine back down to the ground. Continue at your own pace and see if you can articulate every single vertebra on the way up and down.

SEATED SIDE BEND
Sit with your legs crossed using a yoga block or blanket if it feels helpful. Roll your sit bones over the edge of the block so you’re using it as a wedge and the pelvis can tilt  forwards. Have  your shins slightly forwards and  your feet underneath your knees. Flex your feet and spread your toes. Notice how the weight of your body feels even through
your sit bones as you sit upright. Place your left hand down the ground. Raise your right  arm up and externally rotate your upper arm so the palm of the hand can face down
towards the ground. Explore side bending and try to keep the weight of your body even through both bones, resisting the urge for the right sit bone to lift. The direction of ravel
for your spine is up and over  to the left , the left waist contracting and the right  side of the waist lengthening. Repeat on both sides. Notice if you feel any differences.

CROSS-LEGGED FORWARD FOLD

From the previous position, change the cross  of your legs so the opposite shin is now in front. Imagine your sit bones are reaching back and down away from you and slowly
explore coming forwards. Start by keeping  your spine as flat you fold from your hips, eventually allowing your spine to round. Let your arms come to rest somewhere.

comfortable. There is nowhere to ‘get to’ so remember that it doesn’t matter how far we come forwards. Notice your breath and use your exhale to help soften here. Stay for as
long as feels good. When you’re ready to come up, press down through the outside edges of your feet and slowly curl yourself all the way back up.

ACTIVE POSE OF A CHILD

From all fours, take a moment to explore Cat/ Cow (as outlined in the Beginners section) or any other movement that feels good in this position. Follow your intuition. Now, tuck your toes under and send your sit bones back towards your heels. Reach the arms out in front, little finger touching the outside of edges of the mat. Find a position where your front and back body engaged your spine flat  crown of the head in line with the rest of the spine. Spread the hands and root down through the index fingers. externally rotate  the upper arms away from the ears, shoulder  blades drawing down the back.

DOWNWARD FACING DOG

From active Child’s pose, press down through the hands and feet and lift the knees a couple of inches away from the floor. Slowly begin to straighten the legs to come up. Follow any intuitive movements bending one knee and reaching your opposite heel down to get into your hamstrings, allowing your hips to swing from side to side.

Feel your way. Now, see if you can find some containment. Bend your knees to free up the pelvis and lengthen the spine. Find axial extension (flat spine). Keep rooting through your index fingers so the forearms are internally rotating and externally rotate the upper arms. Imagine a divide at your waist, as your tail reaches back, your shoulders come slightly forward. Notice your breath and come down to rest when needed. Repeat as you wish. Place your focus on the process of coming in and out, not rushing to get to the pose.

SEATED MEDITATIONN

Sit for 5-20 minutes. Find a Comfortable seated position where the spine is long, using a yoga block, blanket or chair it helpful. Let your hands be soft. Close your eyes and become aware of your foundation every part of your body that is in contact with the ground. Notice the Contact of your hands on your knees or thighs. Check in with yourselfHow does it feel to be in your body in this moment? Gently let your awareness settle onto your breath. Without directing your breath in any way, see it you can become aware of its presence and natural rhythm. Simply watch your inhale and your exhale, the rise and fall of your belly and chest. Continue this process of watching and telling. As thoughts and distractions arise, gently bring your awareness back to your breath whenever you remember.

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