Thursday, January 7, 2010

Your Senses are a Gateway to Your Spirit

That photo was from inside the bus as I headed toward Albany, New York, on my way to Kripalu in Massachusetts to complete my YogaDance teacher training at the beginning of December. We hadn't had our normal amount of snow at home yet, so this was a welcome sight.

A welcome sight? Winter?! Snow and cold?!

Yes. I also welcome the smell of winter and the quiet and the brisk feeling, the way it wakes you up on the shortest of walks.

This weather has been a part of my life since I was small. We have always lived where there is snow and cold.

As I get older, I appreciate it more and more. I appreciate the variety of seasons that my body is put through in a mere twelve months -- and here in Erie, in the Spring, I could say the variety of seasons my body is put through within a day.

I believe this is a large part of the reason I am here, on this plane of existence: to challenge, invigorate, and stimulate all of my senses in as many ways as possible.

To see, to taste, to feel, to smell, to hear as much of this physical life as possible.

To honor my body as the conduit of experience. To honor my body as the experience itself.

Not to transcend it. I can do that at my death.

I am thinking along these lines, due in large part to a piece that Christine has up today over at Abbey of the Arts. An amazing piece that I will have to print out and ruminate over.

But I am also thinking along these lines on a daily basis, as my word for the year is Embody.

Here are a few questions for you:

If the weather is not to your liking, do you cocoon yourself? Why?

Do you exclusively seek out physical comfort or do you allow your body to reside in discomfort?

When you are exercising, for example, do you judge feelings as "pain" or do you allow them to simply be sensations?

When was the last time you really challenged your body?

Do you see your body as an obstacle to a more "spiritual" life?


Eco Yogini said...

the last time I challenged my body was last night.... i went to a "heated" yoga class (which I am not a fan of) because my mind was so SCATTERED... it needed to be grounded again.

and it worked. :)

I also love the winter, up until about the end of January... then I can't wait for spring :)

Ann said...

It is snowing in Chicago this morning. I parked 5 blocks away and walked the rest of the way to work. (It's a pretty snow and a pretty neighborhood. The cold felt fresh on my cheeks.) I am considered "unusual" because I like to feel the weather rather than hide from the elements. My body thanks me by staying slim and sleeping well at night.

Angela Raincatcher said...

Your post has me smiling because it seems many of us are thinking and writing about embodied spirituality, in part because of the season and in part because of Christine's wonderful post. I just finished a post on my daily practice of massaging my feet this winter!

claire said...

The last time I challenged my body was when we walked from Burgos to Santiago in Spain. Basically, I walked with an increasingly painful knee from Sarria on, ie 100 kms, ie. 60 miles. By the time I reached Santiago, my pace had slowed way down. But I had reached my goal on foot, which was -- somehow -- very important to me.

My knee is still hurting two months later. It is both a 'souvenir' and a lesson. It looks like swimming might help me recover. Yoga also helps me, but I have to do it every day.

I hope to start tai-chi and xi-qong. And I just found out about The Dancing Word...

Strange, don't you think :-) ??

You're definitely an inspiration, blisschick! Thank you!

Brooks Hall said...

I love to challenge my body!

alisha said...

i've been trying to challenge my body by training for my first 5K in March. yikes!

when i don't like the weather, i definitely become more of a hermit. i need quiet more than anything; for peace of mind. i love the snow and the white, but i hate, hate, hate the cold and feeling trapped.

questions made me think...thanks!

Jeanne Klaver said...

Since I started studying yoga in 1984, I learned to be joyful in all kinds of weather. What gets me down isn't so much the weather as my lifestyle. When I don't pay attention to the needs of body, my spirit droops. It's never an outer force that intrudes on my joy, it's always something from within.

Elise said...

I tell you what - I challenged my body this pm shovelling half a foot of frozen snow off my tiny little car. Nearly slid over three times, gave up once or twice, the de-icer had frozen solid. A trying day for sure.....

Loved your post though !

Grace said...

I love Winter and having four distinct seasons, too.

I challenged my body for cold walk the other day in the snow. I'm 28 but I still like to pretend I'm on an Artic expedition:) And no, I do not see my body as an obstacle of a spiritual life and I take care of it, pleasure is not bad.

tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

When I was younger, I had more tolerance for the physical discomfort of the elements. I don't much care for being cold.

But I do like bundling up and just walking outside - there is birdsong, always birdsong, here. And, the closer to the ocean one gets, the stronger the pungent salty odour in the air.

I like to push myself to the edge with my frequent, steaming hot showers. It's a strange comfort measure.

I see my body as a sacred vessel that lives in fusion with my spirit.

Abbey of the Arts said...

yes, yes, yes - love these words and your questions Christine. Thanks so much for the link.