Thursday, November 3, 2016

Body awareness is the foundation of all other awareness - Journaling - "Healing into Life and Death" - Stephen Levine

When I teach my therapeutic class I feel guilty sometimes about taking the time away from the yoga asana in the beginning of class to do the body scan.  When I teach yoga nidra I completely believe in the body scan and I enjoy doing it and I know it is the most important part of the process.

I wonder what makes me embrace the body scan in Yoga Nidra but shy away from it as a beginning of the therapeutic class?   At Ananda/Expanding Light they do the energization exercises as taught by Paramhansa Yogananda which I feel are an elaborate body scan - joint freeing series combo and I didn't really like them. But at Kripalu I really enjoyed the body scans that Joseph lead.  I guess I need to practice them more and believe in them more as an opening to class.  I feel really comfortable closing with them but not opening,

In therapeutic individual session I feel comfortable opening with the body awareness exercises.  I have to explore what's the difference mentally for me.

Nischala Devi spoke to us about a woman observing a tension in her breast during a body scan that lead her to the doctor where he found cancer.

In the book on p.44 there is the Story of the Vietnam Vet with the leg injuries.  “I was closed down for so long, so afraid to feel, that I guess it took all that pain to get my attention.”

I am intrigued by the idea of on p.122 Softening the belly and
Sending Merciful Awareness and Loving Kindness into the illness – We are not just a body

Here some quotes about Softening the belly
p. 177
“And so most of us need to learn to open the body to healing. And each of us is given the perfect receptor of that openness. Keeping a soft belly is the primary foundation for opening to this level of being. For it is in the belly that we have so long attempted to control the world.”

“Perhaps the worst advice one can be given is to tighten the belly, to appear flat-stomached.  The belly is our center of control and holds much tension… The belly should be allowed its deepest breathing, its greatest sigh.”

p. 178
“But in the soft belly lies the possibility of new mind creating a new boy.”

p. 179
“The softness of the belly is a good indicator if our openness to the moment. When we are at peache, the belly is soft and open.  When we are not, it is tense and held. In the soft belly even the subtlest obstruction to the heart may be noticed. In letting go into soft belly-we open the body and loosen our grasp on the mind to expose the heart of essential healing.”

It also makes sense to me on page 133 that many sexual abused women felt their body’s were unsafe place to be“I’d like an in-the-body experience for a change. I’d like to trust life enough to be avle to stay in my body, to not always be on guard, to not always tense as if someone were going to jump out of a dark hallway and do me injury.” I believe the body scan really brings us back into the body.

I had not heard the body scan before referred to as Sweeping the body but I like that term.

“In the course of this meditation, one may discover unknown pains and joys-areas of tension as well as areas of high receptivity and openness… It may take anywhere from a half and hour to an hour to scan the body adequately.”

So I will continue to use the body scan and try to practice it on myself more.

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