Lesson 13 - Befriending Your Body
An Introductory Course, Designed and Written by Guru Rattana, Ph.D.
Experiencing unity and wholeness requires the mastery of the five elements or tattvas - earth, water, fire, air and ether. Kundalini Yoga is a science designed to achieve this alignment. Each astrological sign embodies the energy of one of the first 4 elements. The energy of the element is abundantly available when the Sun is in a particular element. When the Sun is joined by other planets in that element, it is even more abundantly available. This is the time to tune into and take advantage of these universal powers.
An Intimate Relationship with Your Body
To achieve peace, we must be at peace in our body. To be at peace in our body, we must develop an intimate relationship with our body. An intimate relationship is based on a two-way communication. How do we develop this relationship with our body? First, we must care for and love our body. Second, we must listen to and pay attention to what our body is communicating to us.
We can begin by noticing what type of relationship we currently have with our body. How do we feed it? With nourishing food and drink? Do we chew our food so that it can easily digest the nourishment? How do we dress it and care for it? Is our body more than a means of transportation for our thoughts or a way to display our presence?
The main thing to keep in mind is that the body, being the physical element, vibrates at the slowest frequency. The mind vibrates at a much faster frequency than the body. Therefore, the mind has to slow down to effectively communicate with the body. One of the best ways to slow the mind down is to slow down the breath. The mind follows the breath. The breath creates a link between the body and the mind. The body also responds to the breath because it can be felt in the body.
The Body's Language
The body is definitely impacted by our thoughts, but verbal communication is not the body's language. The body's language is ATTENTION AND FEELINGS. The body responds best when we pay attention to what we are feeling and to our physical sensations. When we do so, we are communicating directly with the body in a way that it understands. The body can respond back with sensations and feelings. In sum, we communicate with the body NONVERBALLY.
This is an art that we must develop. We can train ourselves to bring our attention to and stay with the sensations in our body. The guidelines are actually quite simple. If we are thinking and have thoughts, we are in our minds. If we are feeling sensations and have no words, we are in our body.
The body responds to TOUCH, MOVEMENT and RHYTHM. The body needs to be touched. The body needs to move. And the body needs to function at its own unique rhythm.
Attention and Kundalini Yoga
The practice of Kundalini Yoga gives us a perfect opportunity to develop a loving relationship with our bodies. While we do the exercises we pay attention to the effect that each exercise is having on the body. Our goal is to activate various parts of the body. We are creating alignment and stimulating an optimal functioning. We are not punishing, jerking around or beating up our body. We want to stretch and strengthen, not strain or hurt.
Our bodies know the difference. If we simply pay attention, we will sense the difference and be alerted to how far to go and when to stop. One rule of thumb I use is "Is this going to hurt when I am done?" There is a fine, but clear, line between keeping up during a challenging exercise and injuring yourself. The more we pay attention to our bodies, the easier it is to identify that line.
Between exercises, we pay attention to the effects by feeling the energy and the sensations in our bodies. We often overlook this aspect of our training. Yet it is during the relaxation when we are consciously "doing nothing" that we can actually listen to our body. This is the optimal time to stay present and let our bodies communicate with us. They have much to share if we would just stop long enough to pay attention, be patient enough to learn their language and be humble enough to give value to the messages.
Enjoying Being in the Body
Our ultimate goal is to enjoy being in our body. It doesn't happen over night. It is a gradual process. Our first experiences are often uncomfortable. Discomfort is the main reason we stay in our minds and avoid a relationship with our body. Emotions are stored in the body. We get in touch with unresolved emotional traumas when we are present to the feelings in our body. The good news is that the emotions speak to us. As we listen to what our body and emotions are trying to tell us, we learn a lot about ourselves and resolve a lot of previously undefined malaise. Being present to the sensations in our body is how we consciously deal with the energy of our emotions and our desire nature as human beings. Overtime the emotional energy becomes a means of communicating in the moment and a method to receive the messages from our soul.
Our body is like our child or a pet. It needs to be loved. We love it by paying attention to it and listening to it. It feels abandoned and abused when we are in our minds. It feels loved when we feel it and touch it. Many people have the powerful experience that they no longer feel abandoned and lonely when they start being lovingly present in their body. They realize that they had abandoned themselves and now know how to end the anguish of separation.
The Instrument of Your Soul
The body is an instrument of our soul. We fine-tune it with Kundalini Yoga, which Yogi Bhajan called the yoga of awareness. We start with the body. Our touchstone is that we can expand our awareness as far as we want to as long as we stay in our body. We can hold the universe in our bodies. The tendency, of course, is to leave our body. I invite you to train yourself to stay present in your body no matter what. This is a challenge.
But the payoffs are great. You will not feel abandoned or abused. You will learn to love yourself. You will be able to heal yourself. You will be able to manifest. You will develop a powerful presence and charisma. You will know what to do because you will be able to listen to your soul. You will love being alive at every moment. Your body will become your best friend.
Here are a few guidelines to use to practice being in your body. Add to the list as your experiences enrich your awareness.
- Feel your breath in your body.
- Slow your breath down until your body relaxes.
- Practice communicating non-verbally with your body. Be aware of what the body responds to.
- Listen to the sensations in your body as ways that it is communicating with you.
- When a sensation feels good, keep your awareness there and enjoy it.
- When a sensation feels uncomfortable, keep your awareness there and allow it to express itself.
- Allow without judgment or interpretation all sensations in your body.
- Treat your body as your best friend.