The simplest, yet hardest question

How are you? My friend asks as we meet on the train station. I smile, quickly answer I’m fine before I return the question, all is good. This scene most likely sounds very familiar to most of us. I recall situations where the other part does not even wait for my mumbling reply before the conversation is taken East and West. The question is sometimes more of a greeting and can truthfully be quite challenging to give a proper answer to. Now what does all of this have to do with yoga? Everything. As we practice yoga, you have probably heard me say; Where do you feel this pose?
Becoming aware of where in the body a pose is primarily felt is a good start. We might not know exactly what that muscle or joint is called, but it is great to be able to pin point where the sensation is located.

Becoming familiar with sensations in body parts that we can not necessarily see when we are practicing poses, require the sense of proprioception, the awareness of the position and movement of the body. It is also referred to as our sixth sense. It takes practice to notice exactly where poses are felt. The same thing goes for how we feel. Unless we are sick, tired, going through a divorce or just won the lotto where we experience intense feelings, on all the other more ordinary days, it can often be challenging to connect inwardly to answer how we feel. The more we take time to sit in meditation, or find the quiet moments in yoga, e.g. after a bridge pose, or transitioning out from Savasana, we can practice checking the internal weather pattern, and listen to the language of the body.

Understanding this language makes us see situations more clearly without presumptions and can help us make the right decisions. According to Patanjali’s second sutra yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. Yoga chitta vritti nirodahah. By calming the chatter most of us have going on inside our minds we can cultivate inner peace.
A good place to start is to notice how we feel. We might not feel we have the right words to describe it. Expressing ourselves can at times be challenging. Try to jolt down the words for sensations that come the closest, give it a colour, or a piece of music, a poem, or painting. Acknowledging emotions by listening to the language of our body can free up and release so much stuck energy, and inform us on whether we are on the right track to free up energy, feel from within what is truly right for us.

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