07.04.16

Theme of the Week: Awareness

Awareness is the ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, thoughts, emotions, or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding.

Why is awareness important? When you act without awareness – you are like a sleepwalker, who doesn’t know where he is walking. You just act on the strongest impulse – your mind controls you. However, when you act with awareness, you are in control of your mind. Your senses become so clear that they can perceive better, see better, think better, hear better.

Many moderns use their bodies so little that they lose the sensitivity of this bodily awareness. They move from bed to car to desk to car to couch to bed, but there is no awareness in their movement, no intelligence. There is no action. Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filled with movement. What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.

Yoga teaches us how to infuse our movement with intelligence, transforming it into action.

For example, when you stand in Warrior 2 with arms extended, you can see the fingers of your hand in front of you, but you can also feel them. You can sense their position and their extension right to the tips of your fingers. You can also sense the placement of your back leg and tell whether it is straight or not without looking back or in a mirror. You must observe and correct the body position with the help of the trillions of eyes that you have in the form of cells. This is how you begin to bring awareness to your body and fuse the intelligence of brain and brawn.

This intelligence should exist everywhere in your body and throughout the asana. The moment you lose the feeling in the skin, the asana becomes dull and the flow or current of the intelligence is lost.

As a practice in self awareness, yoga is an infinitely rich guide to how you spend the hours you’re not on the mat. But it’s not always easy to access the heightened awareness you find during yoga. One way to find that connection is to become more aware of how the small choices you make every day affect you, your community, your workplace and the world around you. Maybe this year you’d like to take better care of your body, help others, or reduce your impact on the planet. Whatever your intention, when you make positive changes grounded in self awareness, you can connect with the truth of who you are and why you do what you do.

When we ask ourselves, “What am I doing?” and “Why am I doing it?” our minds open. This is self-awareness. When you are self-aware, you are fully within yourself, not outside yourself looking in. You are aware of what you are doing without ego or pride.

“The nature of yoga is to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the body” – Jason Crandall

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