11.19.2012

The Enlightening Mat: Let Your Body Be the Storyteller



In this video, dancer Anna Halprin suggests changing how the mind and body relate to each other by simply reversing the flow of information.

Normally we focus on the mind telling the body how to move, but from Anna Halprin's experience another important way of operating is to let the body inform the mind.

This concept is so wonderfully subtle and simple. All you need to do is reroute the signals running through the circuitry of your physical self so your body is the primary communicator sending messages to the brain. This experience can be applied to any daily movement such as washing the dishes.

When I first tried letting my body inform my mind, I quickly noticed how much more physical awareness I experienced. When washing the dishes, I felt the warm water, bubbles popping, and the shape of a dish. The way I moved my hands across a plate changed, and I began to create a luxurious dance.

Later I decided to experiment with Anna Halprin's concept during a Bikram yoga class. Normally Bikram yoga can feel very regimented for me; however, I noticed that if I followed the instruction given by the teacher by sending information from my mind to a body part such as straightening my leg and then reversing the flow of information by then having my body communicate its experience with the mind, the whole posture changed for me. Sometimes I went a little deeper or saw new ways of doing the posture that I hadn't experienced before.

In addition, I felt more relaxed and completely focused. When I let information flow from my body to my mind, I didn't have spinning thoughts. In fact, it felt like I wasn't thinking at all.

Even if you don't practice yoga, this experience of reversing the flow of information from your body to your mind can be used in a whole range of activities from simply taking a walk to typing at the computer. Reversing the flow of information eases your thoughts and seems to build a bridge between your body and mind. In this way, your body becomes the primary storyteller and not the ego in your head.

The Enlightening Mat is a blog series exploring moments of awareness that come to Beth Hemmila while practicing Bikram Yoga.

To shop for yoga charms that celebrate the different poses click here to view this blog post Sterling Silver Charms for Bikram Yoga Postures

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