One Place To Start
By Dave Emerson, E-RYT
If you are trying out yoga there are many places to start. Many words may be spoken and some grandiose ideas may be uttered in the context of a yoga class or in a book about yoga. It’s possible to get caught up in someone’s words about yoga –and to forget about what is happening right now in your body.
If you are like me, no matter what someone says, if I can’t feel it in my body I get easily confused. So one place to start is feeling where you are connected to the ground.
You may be standing, or sitting, you may be lying down. It doesn’t matter. You might find yourself in a yoga class or you may be somewhere else – anywhere else. But, if you like, take a moment to experiment with noticing where you are physically connected to the ground.
You may be directly on the dirt or in a chair or in a room with a linoleum floor. You might be in a bed or in a wheelchair or in an airplane somewhere. It doesn’t matter. You might just take a moment to feel wherever you are making direct contact with ground or floor or A few cycles of breath. Even a hospital bed.
Focus on the sensation. Experiment with feeling the sensation of whatever is underneath you. I guess you can’t be skydiving for this particular exercise or floating in the water. Anywhere with a surface that you are in contact with will do. This is not about the “idea” of being grounded etc. This is about feeling where you are physically connected to the ground or its intermediary.
- Take a little time if you like.
- Maybe you move a little. Shift around.
- Experiment with feeling.
- Sometimes we don’t feel anything. That’s OK.
The goal isn’t necessarily “to feel” but “to practice feeling”. Sometimes, sensation comes in flickers. You might start to notice those flickers of sensation. Whatever you notice. This might be one place to start.
Dave Emerson is the co-founder of WarRetreat, War Photographers’ Retreat, and also the Founder of The Black Lotus Yoga Project. He teaches classes at his studio in Cambridge, and also in educational and clinical settings in Brookline MA.