A Floating Head
It’s been over 15 years, but I can still recall what I felt like before I started practicing yoga and mindfulness. At Prasada, we talk a lot about the three worlds within which we live. For me, at that time, my primary mode of navigation and experience of life was through the singular world of my mind using the tools of my thoughts, ideals and reactions. I had little awareness or connection to my body or the world around me. I felt like a floating head! Perhaps you know what I mean by this?
Within this world, there was a lot of mental and emotional pain, that then began to show up in my physical body. I remember so clearly the first time my back “went out” at my home in Philadelphia. Laying on the floor of the kitchen, I found myself wishing I knew why I couldn’t move without experiencing shooting pain. Then it was in my left shoulder, all of a sudden so much pain I couldn’t lift my arm. For days I could not even sleep the pain was so severe.
Finding My Own Path
The doctors and chiropractors I visited could not find any diagnosable injury or source of these mysterious pains. With no diagnosis, they could offer no treatment. It was up to me to keep looking for a path to help myself. The pain and discomfort prompted me to try something new— my first yoga retreat. It was a week of the R&R program at Kripalu in Massachusetts. That’s when my life began to take a different trajectory, one of healing and self-discovery.
During that first retreat, I explored the practices of yoga and mindfulness. I began to connect to my senses and my body for the first time in years. In a mindful eating exercise, I ate a raisin slower than I’d ever eaten a raisin before and discovered the sweetness of savoring one tiny bite of food.
I walked a labyrinth and re-connected to my body’s grace of movement and felt so much gratitude for my body, and forgave myself for the times I hadn’t taken care of myself. I breathed and moved my body in gentle ways that invited my strength and vitality to return.
I realized my body had been trying to get my attention and sending me messages through the mysterious pains. On slow walks in the beautiful woods of New England, I softened into the soothing and healing beauty of nature, remembering how much I loved being outdoors and the power of the world of nature.
Weaving The Three Worlds Together In My Life
Back home, I began to feel more whole, more integrated and more inspired as I began to weave each of these practices into my day-to-day life.
I’ve realized that life is not about what I’m doing and achieving. It is about HOW I’m navigating this path of life and what my relationships are to all three worlds that I live in—body, mind and nature.
If you feel like you are living in the land of the floating head, here are some of the practices that helped me to begin to awaken and experience each of all three worlds.
Connect the Worlds of Mind and Body: with a 31 and 61 Points Body Scan Exercise. Here is an article about why we do this practice and a 31-Points recording for you to follow along.
Ground into the World of Your Body: A yoga practice can help to reconnect into your body and reawaken the full range of joyful movement. Try this Get Cozy with Yourself, 40-minute yoga practice with Adrienne.
Connect with Nature: Moment in Nature has always been one of my favorite things to watch on a Sunday morning. In case you can’t get out into the beautiful day, take a moment to view nature to connect with that world. Here’s a great library of these moments for you to reach for on a snowy/rainy day.
Connect with Mind Body and Nature: Maybe it’s time for you to be bold like I was to find a new path. I’m one of the guides and trip curators for Prasada’s Journeys. In these special retreats, you’ll get to experience all three Worlds in every way possible and I’d be honored to support you in your path of healing and self-discovery. Consider this your invitation in joining us for one this year!
Photo by Bill Mackie on Unsplash