This life force is known by many names. The yogis call it prana and activate it through breath and postures. Acupuncturist call it qi and balance its movement through a network of pathways. Martial artists also call it chi and learn to cultivate its mastery through years of disciplined practice.
It’s common for trauma to get caught in body memories. This occurs unconsciously and is what makes survivors jumpy, dysregulated, or numbed out in ways they can’t explain. Mindfulness-based, embodied therapy involves tracking body memories as they reemerge in treatment.
The body conserves energy on an ongoing basis. Habits start out as intentional actions that are practiced enough times that they become automatic. Habituated actions consume very little energy. Whereas consciousness is consumes an extraordinary amount of energy. In other words, it’s metabolically expensive.
When we are disembodied, we live removed from the power and wisdom that comes from the body. Energy stagnates. Joints get sore and muscles turn slack from lack of use. The best to free ourselves from this trap is to engage our body and mind.
Nature balances growth with decay. Though the signals aren’t strong, they are there in our DNA waiting to take action. For the first three to four decades of our life, the growth phase dominates. But somewhere around our late forties and fifties the free ride of youth is over.
The more I practice, the more I realize yoga is quite possible the best therapy there is. Why? Because yoga works at both the subtle and the gross level, allowing the body and mind to soften. Additionally, yoga quiets the daily chatter of the mind.
As a holistic practice, yoga is more than a philosophy. It’s a vibrant, embodied, living practice that increases self-awareness and deepens insight. Additionally it cultivates mindfulness, compassion, and equanimity.
A helpful way to practice asteya when you’re feeling “not enough” is to ask, “How is this mindset blocking me from enjoying what I have?” Another way to foster a sense of abundance is to reflect on what is going well in life. Don’t over complicate it. Give thanks for having a partner or loving pet, the grace of good health, or the joy of having a garden
Likely the hardest form of this practice is being true to our own heart and integrity. The constant flow of information pouring in from all sides can make it difficult to know the nature of our heart’s desire. But even when we become clear enough to recognize what is true for us, we may lack the courage and conviction to live it.