Writing for a publication such as this to convey certain information, all I can do is let you know where I am at. This will likely be different from you, but maybe some things will resonate. Although I don’t like that word ‘resonate’, being overused in the yoga world.
I guess when we practice, we have a frame of reference to how we understand what we’re doing. This could be your original yoga school, the Indian roots of yoga and so on. Currently mine comes from the training that I am doing, studying sexuality and the nervous system, from a somatic experiencing and structural integrationist perspective. So, what does that mean? It’s not what you might at first think. So far, we have been practising loving kindness and sharpening our edges. The former could be in the form of filling our hands up with love and gently connecting to each part of our body.
Some of us may have forgotten being touched with love, especially in terms of a sexual encounter, with growing pornography use replacing genuine connection, sensuality, and love. Some of us may have uncoupled sex and love, feeling like they don’t go together.
How can we genuinely meet another, if we do not know how to meet ourselves, and our sexuality is at the core of this. Seeing as trauma arises in relationship, it has the chance to be integrated and/or achieving a sense of completion in the face of another, or at least working towards that. Hence, what happens when we are in relationship with another? Our edges can become blurry, being hard to pull apart what is ours, and what is someone else’s, leading to confusion as how to deal with conflict and issues that arise.
So, how do we keep our edges sharp? We can connect to our core, our brain, spine, legs, feet, and the earth beneath and define our bubble of protection by stretching out our arms all around us, as well as connecting to the inner membrane of this egg or bubble, and how that supports us. We define what is ‘me’ and ‘not me’. This simple practice keeps us able to be responsible for what is ours. And this is not to deny that we are collective, but we are a sense of self amidst a collective, whereby it is only us that can take responsibility for our stuff.
‘What has this got to do with my yoga practice?’, you may well ask. Well, any group that comes together has the potential for group energy, a positive synergy whereby, as research has shown, we can synchronise our heartbeats. It also can open the possibility, as my teacher describes, if our boundaries are not sharp, that we can merge into someone else’s space, causing a static energy, which may come back our way, leading us to feel like we are receiving something negative.
Me and not me.
Of course, we have all had the experience of someone entering the room and feeling their emotion straight away even before laying eyes on them. Sharpening our edges helps us to take more radical responsibility of our lives, what is us and what isn’t, and yoga and our approach to it is there to support that.
Main photo by Nathan McBride on Unsplash