Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Curiousity on the Mat

cu·ri·ous adjective \ˈkyr-ē-əs\

: having a desire to learn or know more about something or someone

How often are we curious about something? As a child, we are constantly learning and observing. Getting into things to see what they are, how they work, what makes them do the things they do, how they taste, how they feel, etc. As a child, curiousity lies around every corner! When we grow older, I find that curiousity fades a little. We either know how this or that is, what it does, how it feels, tastes, how it works, where it goes, etc. Unless we experience a brand new thing in our life, then curiousity doesn't play a constant role in our daily lives like it once did when we were eager little kids. That almost saddens me in a way. There is something whimsical and fairytale-like when it comes to curiousity. You are dabbling your toes into the unknown; Whether big or small, discovering something can be exhilarating! 

How do we incorporate this curiousity on our Mats?

  • One of my favourite things to do is to play on my Yoga mat. My intention: To be curious. Often I will run through a Yoga flow, or even just a few Surya Namaskara A's and B's with my eyes closed. Taking in all the sensations and allowing room for sense of humour. Most likely, you will wobble or sway. It may feel funny and awkward but that is part of the joy of that experience. You are observing. 

  • Another fun thing is leading with your non-dominant side first. If you are right handed/sided, then lead with your left side first. When I add that into my practice, I love the extra spice it adds. It reawakens your mind, body and spirit. It's almost as if your senses heighten.

  • Pick a posture and hold the pose. Ask yourself:

How does this feel?
Where am I feeling this pose?
What sensations are happening in my body
Can I add something to this pose (i.e. a variation, an arm/leg movement, a twist, etc)

  • Pick of posture that you want to explore, and explore it! Arm balances, strength postures, balance poses, the list goes on and doesn't end!

  • Play with props! Add a block to your core work. Roll up the end of a blanket for a neck roll in Savasana and/or add a pillow under you knees. Trying different things with props may enhance your experience. Or not, but you never know until you try! 

The most important message I am trying to convey here is to always remain a student. Always be open to learning more and exploring more. You don't have to travel the world or spend your savings to explore either. Just being in the present moment and taking in what is around you. Taking the blinders off and feeling, looking, touching, etc. Be open and curious.

Below is an Apple Meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh.  I feel it speaks to what I was touching on with you today. Taking time to notice, being present, observing, being curious to all that is around us.

An Apple Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
(Source: Movemequotes.com)

Take an apple out of your refrigerator. Any apple will do. Wash it. Dry it. Before taking a bite, pause for a moment. Look at the apple in your palm and ask yourself: When I eat an apple, am I really enjoying eating it? Or, am I so pre-occupied with other thoughts that I miss the delights that the apple offers me?
If you are like most of us, you answer “yes” to the second question much more often than the first. For most of our lives, we have eaten apple after apple without giving it a second thought. Yet in this mindless way of eating, we have denied ourselves the many delights present in the simple act of eating an apple. Why do that, especially when it is so easy to truly enjoy the apple?

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