The Will to Practice

Hatha Yoga is yoga of action or of the will. The will to practice is an ongoing process of creating space in my schedule and utilizing that space with focus and intelligence. Today after work I went through what I assume everyone engaged in practice of some form goes through... a long day, several things I should still do before the evening arrives, yet knowing that what would be best for me is to practice. I circle around practice until I finally arrive on my mat knowing that even if I'm tired and unfocused, just the act of coming to the mat reinforces the habit of practice.

Today I worked with somatic unwinding– movement that Tias describes as Sensory Awareness Training. Based on the work of Thomas Hanna (who coined the terms "somatics") and Moshe Feldenkrais, the work is supine and combines rocking, gliding and winding/unwinding movements to essentially release holding patterns in the structure. It also stimulates the nervous system by introducing movements outside of our usual range, and working the right and left sides of the body independently and simultaneously for improved congruency.

The Sensory Awareness Training has been remarkable for my personal practice in that it heightens my sensory experience to the degree to which I can feel the pulsation of my nervous system or the deep release of tension in my tissues. I typically practice the movements for about a half hour and then move into yoga asanas. Today I simply transitioned into the upward dog, downward dog vinyasa sequence and then shifted into a long hold in shoulder stand, or Salamba Sarvangasana. As usual, when I sat up from savasana I felt renewed, inspired, re-focused; the color of the fading afternoon sun in the trees suddenly intense just because I was present enough to witness it.

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