Less talking, more sensing.Aug 22, 2020
The Rest and Reflect Program is finally here but it's actually been in the works since December 2019. And the reason why the program took so long to come to life is because I couldn’t quite articulate the concepts that I was trying to bring forth.
How do I explain concepts like shinrinyoku, embodiment or inner knowing in the program?
Having taught yoga in Australia for over 10 years or so, I’ve always felt this pressure to explain esoteric concepts in greater depth and to incorporate more quotes and facts into my teaching. Back when I would teach in studios, people would always ask me to explain Buddhist concepts to them, or in kind of bizarre instances, they would like to quote Buddhist or Sanskrit proverbs to me like we were in some kind of spirituality trivia contest.
But I would always find this overly intellectualised approach hard to take seriously. Because the same people would then overlook the very fundamentals of yogic practices like, settling into and engaging with the body during the physical practice.
And it made me see that this focus on talking about concepts actually detracts from the experiencing itself… which is the important part.
Instead of focusing on talking and explaining different concepts to you throughout the Rest and Reflect program, I created this program to instead focus on the ways in which your experience can be amplified. With the technical support of Yeo, we focused on refining qualities like sound, rhythm, pacing, tone, colouring and spacing which all feed into your ability to feel and sense the practice in depth.
Less talking and more sensing.
Or perhaps more eloquently stated as, less cerebral engagement and more felt sense experiencing.
I decided to take this direction for the program because I know that your felt sense is strong too. But I also know that for many of us, the felt sense has disappeared a little because we’ve grown up in the Western world where there is this persistent importance placed on verbal communication and less so on sensing.
But we come from cultures that have long used sensing to help us navigate our relationships and environments so we must remember that this knowledge sits deep somewhere in our DNA. When we reawaken or reconnect with this knowledge, we will find that there is more clarity and confidence in our decision making.
I hope that the Introductory Rest and Reflect Program, as well as the more comprehensive Foundational version (coming soon) will help you to reconnect with and strengthen your felt sense.
So, what is the felt sense?
The term felt sense, points to the awareness of internal bodily sensations. And this could range from anything as simple as, “I’m hungry”, to more complex sensations like, “I get a bad feeling about this person.”
The felt sense was first explained by Eugene Gendlin and then popularised by trauma expert, Peter Levine in the late 70's. Since then, the concept of the felt sense has been "introduced" to the world as a progressive idea, when in fact Asian cultures, Black cultures, First Nations cultures have long understood and valued the felt sense for... ever?
For example, I feel like this felt sense is everywhere in Japanese culture;
- from the way in which Japanese people need to spend so much time eating, drinking and chatting in person before any business deals go ahead,
- to elderly relatives who look at you and say things like "... you're a strong girl..." even when the language barriers make it impossible to verbally communicate with each other,
- to language that focuses on words like 雰囲気 = atmosphere/aura or 感じ = feel to describe people...
And I know that this is not unique to Japanese culture, these are just modern day examples that have been informed by broader Eastern philosophies.
Let us collectively work to reconnect and strengthen this felt sense that lives deep in our DNA to help us navigate this new normal world. You can access the Introductory Rest and Reflect Program HERE or via "My Library" if you've already signed up to our mailing list.
Here are some reflective questions if you would like to explore this idea in greater depth:
- Can you think of any examples in your family or culture that demonstrate this felt sense?
- How much do you value "sensing"? Or do you feel like this method of knowing is not real/can't be trusted?
- How do you know when you trust someone or something?
PS. This is how we start to reclaim the wellbeing sector. But more on this in future posts ;)
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