Are we only Wholebody Focusers when we are in partnership with other Wholebody Focusers, or is it a way of life? For me, it is a way of life, a theoretical structure that holds my experiences. The most important concepts are:
Body Wisdom knows what our bodies need.
We hold space for everything we find within us with equal positive regard.
Our bodies only need our awareness to begin and support the healing process.
What happens when we are living our lives? How do these concepts come into play? Do we ignore them? Do we fully enter other worlds and adapt to other ideas? Or do we integrate what we know supports life within us? These are questions I ask myself when I want to participate in other energetic practices.
I became very fond of Yoga Nidra when I worked in NYC public schools. My days were always long and full of demands and challenges. To relax, I would use an audio guide to help me get into the Yoga Nidra state when I returned home from work. I would take 20 minutes to allow my body to recover while my dear husband cooked our dinner. I am not an expert in Yoga nor a scholar of its history. I am approaching this discussion as a student in a yoga class.
Yoga Nidra is the part of a Yoga class when you lay on you back with your arms spread out and palms facing up and legs hip-width apart. The goal is to enter a state somewhere between awareness and sleep. This state is profoundly relaxing and acts like a tonic that recharges your body.
As one listens to the teacher’s guiding words, you notice different body parts. Some teachers might say something like “ask your toes to relax” and proceed through the body from bottom to top asking all areas to relax. I began to wonder if even this small demand on the body was out of step with my Wholebody Focusing practice?
Can I find this place of deep relaxation and apply what I know about WBF? In other words, how can any energetic practice become a Wholebody experience?
I changed this practice to make it more in line with my Wholebody practice by setting a different intention for the Nidra state. Instead of asking my body to do something, I want to give my body a chance to do what it needs to do. By observing a particular body part, it activates in some way. I feel energy churning. I stay with this felt sense until it seems to have found its rhythm. Then, another part becomes activated. I do not move on to another part of my body in a predetermined order but by what appears next. I stay with that new part until it recognizes my awareness.
I find my body seems joyful in that it has a chance to be observed in its natural state. It has become so used to being observed that I often do not have to speak or think the process but just let it know that I am taking time to notice it part by part. I set the intention at the beginning that I am giving my body time to be with itself and it just happens.
I tried to create an audio file to help you experience this, but anything I would say might limit your experience of WBF Nidra.
For me, as my different parts churn away (my energetic experience), I feel a great relief from the need to “be in charge.” My body knows I support its need to create this energetic movement and is happy to have a chance to have the time, space, and support to do what comes naturally.
I have learned something significant over time. When I first started this practice and felt the energy, I would imagine that I had some illness that needed attention. Once I had a diagnosis, I would begin to create an action plan to treat it. My plans were so detailed on a particular occasion, I was able to observe the nonsense of it and just laughed out loud.
At first I would remind myself that I needed to let go of any ill health diagnosis that might come to mind. Without a diagnosis, there was no need for an action plan. My mantra became, “No diagnosis, No Action Plan.”
In fact, our bodies are constantly seeking stasis, an equilibrium of two opposing forces. By holding these energy patterns with equal, positive regard, our bodies have a chance to use their innate wisdom to help themselves be the best they can be. I go deeper into my Nidra state and allow my body to have its own time to heal and come back refreshed and anxiety free.
Please try this and see what it feels like. Let us know what your experience is in the comments.
Photo Credit: Swamp Rose Mallow Hibiscus on the East River, Manhattan. Diana Scalera 2009