Crawling to Running to Dancing

All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused. 
Martha Graham

For over a decade of teaching yoga I’ve never stoped feeling like a toddler learning to crawl, trying to take steps to run, and attempting to dance. Yoga is a path from separation to wholeness. Last Sunday I shared with the classes that the disconnection is essential to the process of healing and integration. You cannot have an experience of oneness without otherness. The yogic path begins at the feeling of disconnect. When practiced harmoniously it takes you to compassion. When you establish the ability to let things come pass on while participating in them fully you live in reverence. We first come to know ourselves as separate individuals when we learn as babies how to crawl. The movement stirs in us the sense of destination. To have a thing to get to we must be a thing separated from it. Crawling makes use of the reptilian brain and spine. The lateral motion stimulates both sides of the brain. We develop the spatial perception as we sharpen the visual focus in order to get to the things we aim. Crawling also develops free will and a sense of autonomy as we engage in the freedom of mobility. It forms the arches on our hands, strength in the arms, and motions in the wrists and fingers that allow us to grab things. According to Ayurveda, the hands connect to the sense of touch and feeling. Crawling intensifies the emotional experience through tactile sensation as well as establishing the feelings of disappointment and satisfaction through the touching or lack of touch.

When we like what we sees we walk or run toward them. When we have aversion to the things we see we walk or run away from them. In Ayurveda, the sense of seeing connects to the feet. The eyes connect to the fire element as does the digestion. Our appetites drive us toward what we want to see up close and eventually consume, be it food or relationship. The act of walking and running establish the arches on our feet. As a runner during my Junior High I developed strong calfs and large glutes. I remember asking the coach how to be a better runner and he told me simply to make sure my calfs turn rock solid. I took the advice to heart and for a year I woke up at 4 am to run before getting ready for school. Unfortunately, throughout life before I established the practice of yoga, Ayurveda, and mindfulness I consumed the wrong foods and had a near constant indigestion. It weakened the deep core or the psoas muscle. I had no stamina and dropped the competitive running after a year. The weakness in the core body led to lower back and sciatic pain. Walking and running develop the coordination between the lower and upper body. No core strength is like having no core vision to follow and we cannot develop critical thinking. I made poor choices and experienced the sense of disconnect in every areas of life -- health, relationships, and work.

By high school I developed other interests. I was a cheerleader, drum major, and dancer throughout those years. I threw myself in the activities and found my calling in choreography. There is nothing more enlivening to me than listening to the music while visualizing and making fluid body movements however slow or fast. Over time I've developed the understanding and compassion for the body's limitation. No pain means no pain. Yoga continues to expand my freedom within the current range of movement. It had led me to restorative and yin yoga, and meditation and back to movement yoga again as a whole body prayer. Reverence is living as the vibration--the living sensation that harmonizes within the body and everywhere. Rhythm is emotional and creative expression. Music allows me to meditate deeply, sequence yoga poses gracefully, and write fluidly. Unlike crawling and running that stir the desire to get somewhere or something dancing takes you inward, nowhere, and everywhere. It is pure motion that is deep listening and remembrance. I close my eyes to dance and to connect to the somatic memory which vibrates in rhythm. Whereas running establishes twisting movement that coordinates the lower and upper body, dancing is a total harmonization. It integrates the personal movements and unite the body and mind to the universal movements. Along with the auditory processing it develops learning and memory. Dancing is both instinctual and intuitive. It uses all parts of the body and brain--reptilian, mammalian, and human. It's how I play, pray, and process. How do you let your emotion, imagination, and action move you?