What’s a body story and more importantly, what’s YOUR body’s story? Every body holds the imprint of its past – experiences good and not so that are held in the cells and tissues often described as muscle memory or simply pain. These memories are easy to see on the skin – the largest and most visible organ of the body, in scars and structure that identify life events. For example, I have two almond sized scars on my lower right leg from a steel pin that once held my tibia and fibula together after getting hit by a car when I was 5. Ouch! That was really painful and there’s a whole story underneath those scars of buried memory, deep pain, and a tendency to look three ways when crossing the street.
Most often as body stories show up in yoga class, there’s a sense of an old injury, or a discomfort that’s constant in particular poses. People often just claim, “I can’t do that!” Then there are those yogis, you’re likely one of them if your reading this far, that get curious about what their body can and can’t do in class. I always tell people that if you can breathe, you can do yoga – because the point of yoga is not to bend ourselves into pretzels (though that’s lots of fun and can be motivating for some like me who couldn’t move for six weeks after that car injury). The point of yoga is to breathe deep, to connect within, and to explore where your body is right now, what its story is today. Because like all memory, overtime, the body story changes. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk writes in his excellent book, The Body Keeps the Score, “memory is fickle; our [life] stories change and are constantly revised and updated…” So too the body story that we’ve been carrying around for so long. As we get curious and look within the beautiful interior landscape of our body and its story, we can heal old wounds, and let go of remaining energy around past difficult events in our lives. That means we can feel what we feel without judgment and overwhelm (i.e., “I can’t do that!”), and without becoming enraged, ashamed, or giving up. We can understand ourselves and go from there.
While the body never forgets, it beautifully changes and grows, and as you understand and integrate your body’s story, there’s a newfound sense of physical freedom and power within. Dr. van der Kolk writes that through this kind if healing, there’s “a feeling that you are in charge of yourself….fully alive in the present and engaged with the people around you.” These are just a few of the benefits of yoga practice, of discovering your body’s story, and embracing all the twists and turns. See you on the mat! Check out our full Class Schedule here