The Internal Experience: Part 1

Step One- Body Awareness

  • Kneeling warrior

In my journey with yoga, I have found the more I do it and the more consistent I am with my practice the less physical my experience is and the deeper each experience becomes. Of course when looking at the physical capabilities of my body, one can accomplish more with practice. But somewhere along the journey it becomes more than the physical accomplishment.

Luckily I am not the only person to have experienced this and the many lines of yoga gurus before us have put very eloquent description to this phenomena. Yoga divides the layers of experience into sheaths. The deeper the sheath the more profound the experience. In theory, the more you practice, the more sheaths you can uncover to deepen your practice.

I love to analyze things. One reason for this is my stubborn mind wants to figure out how to comprehend complex or complicated things and simplify into patterns that make sense. I think it is human nature to apply past experience and knowledge to our current experiences in order to out them into context.  So my simple answer to these complex descriptions: body awareness! In sanskrit it is called Annamaya Kosa.

We do this in yoga by calling attention to alignment, but you don’t have to be in yoga class to be aware of your alignment.  It takes just a moment.  Simply close your eyes and start to become aware of your breath.  Once you have focused on your breathing and tuning out the external environment, you can tune into your body.  Find random body parts and imagine where they are in space.  Do a scan of your body.  Take inventory, no judgements or criticism, just observation.

It’s simple but not always easy.