Nothing like sitting and breathing and letting the body tell you what is what!
Not only does the breath bring you to the mat (mindfulness anyone?!) but the use of the amazing, physiological capabilities that provide our perception - the senses.
As we all know them, the five traditional senses are:
What you hear?
What you see?
What you taste?
What you smell?
What your skin feels?
The more scientific definition, which I equally appreciate is:
"A system that consists of a group of sensory cell types that responds to a specific physical phenomenon, and that corresponds to a particular group of regions within the brain where the signals are received and interpreted."
I had never thought of starting a yoga practice by using the various senses. I have previously designed and facilitated a workshop on simulating the senses in an indoor cycling class called Reinventing Your Spin Class: Conscious Change Through Creativity!. So why not use the same principles when designing yoga practice too? The foundation of the workshop I taught was based on the book, On Becoming An Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity, by Ellen J. Langer. A great read to spark some creativity!
I am always looking for ways to become a better speaker, facilitator, and teacher. This week’s practice, thanks to Do Yoga With Me, has opened the idea of using the senses to help audiences, clients, and participants to connect. And, I think I need to take another read of Langer’s book…a 2016 perspective versus the original 2009 perspective.
Linking the senses to yoga practice as a whole is an interesting topic. In my internet search, I came across two opposing perspectives with the incorporation of using the senses in practice. First, Deepak Chopra talks at length about Ayurveda and using the senses for health. When thinking of a class setting, the music hits the ears, the eyes witness the namaste symbol, the scent of lavender in eye pillows, the taste of water after a vinyasa flow and the touch of a yoga mat under ones’ toes. Now I am no expert in Ayurveda (actually I would call myself a beginner) but yoga is linked to Ayurveda to some degree.
Yet, my second search dropped me into the Yoga Sutras.
Here we go! So much I don’t know!
Pratyahara or Sense Withdrawal, is the fifth rung of the eight sutras. What it purports is to withdraw the senses instead of using them in practice (primarily in meditation). What was beautifully written as:
"The senses are said to follow the mind in the same way the hive of bees follows the queen bee. Wherever she goes, they will follow. Similarly, if the mind truly goes inward, the senses will come racing behind.”
My grand idea of using the senses in practice may actually be defeating one of the key parts of yoga.
Well, I won’t solve this one anytime soon. But interesting nonetheless.
How do your senses engage in your yoga practice?
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Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.