Have you ever found it hard to take positive and kind action on your own behalf?
In fact, I’m pretty sure I was President of that club for about, oh, a couple decades.
Of course, it’s hard to practice self-care when you don’t know what’s going on with your body. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it?
I spent so many years living in my head, that looking back I just don’t think I was capable of treating myself well and doing things that would make me feel good — sleeping enough, moving my body in ways that felt good, figuring out what my migraine triggers were, knowing what my boundaries were, etc.
I mean, how could I have? In order to do any of those things, you first have to know how you feel in the moment.
And I pretty much never knew that.
It was only after I’d been practicing yoga for a while that I started to live more in my body — not all the time, or even most of the time, but more than I had been.
As I began to identify what was happening in my body on the mat, I began to take back my ability to do it off the mat, too.
I say take back because I think we all have the ability to do this deep down. Many of us disconnect from or lose that ability, though — due to any number of issues. It’s not that we lost it completely or never had it, but that we have to forge a new relationship with it.
That’s what I feel has happened for me, and is continuing to unfold the longer I practice. I’m taking back my ability to act on my own behalf, my bodily agency.
I usually hate quoting the dictionary, but in this case I think it’s relevant. In it, empower means “to give power to” and “to promote the self-actualization of.” Sounds pretty fitting to me.
For people who have become disconnected from their bodily power for any reason (AKA 99.99% of us), yoga can be a way home.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Reconnecting with your body after not feeling or listening to it can be difficult at best — feeling things you might have been avoiding, remembering things you might have hoped to forget, mourning the time you spent seemingly apart. All of that is stored in our body on a deep level, so the more we move it and know it, the more things come to the surface.
What I’ve found, though, is that feeling it all — the good, the bad and everything in between — is better than the alternative that I lived for such a long time.
Showing Up For Me
Yoga that points people back to themselves as the experts on their own experience is what helps people reestablish this connect and empower themselves. Because while someone else might be able to help you open the door of empowerment, it’s ultimately an inside job.
No one else empowers you. You empower yourself.
And as that inner empowerment unfolds, you step into your agency and can begin to take compassionate action on your own behalf.
Yoga in action. You in action.