If you are familiar with alternative forms of medicine, especially those originating in the east, you are likely aware that practitioners of these modalities don’t credit the treatment itself as the actual healing agent. The intrinsic qualities of the herb, the pressure placed at just the right point on the body do not in themselves eliminate dis-ease. Their power lies in stimulating, drawing forward the essential animating energy ever-present in the body and focusing it the on the area of injury or dysfunction.
The Unseen Energy
What is this native force, closer to us than a breath yet impalpable, known only by virtue of its healing and enlivening effects? In China called “chi”, in India “prana”, it is the life force at the heart of all yoga practice. Perception of life force is a fundamental step in fully inhabiting your body and pressing beyond previously assumed limitations. The stretch beyond your deepest stretch, the release that shudders through muscles you never knew were tensed: these are evidence of life force moving more fully through its bodily channel.
Perhaps you’ve heard stories of saints who were known to live without observable sustenance, the ultimate examples of reliance on the unseen, refreshed only by the grace of life force. But how can we mere mortals leverage our own invisible power, how do we transfer the fleeting experience on the mat to the other things in our lives that matter?
Put a Bowl of Light on Your Menu
Every yoga posture is a lesson in self-control, a mini-experiment in resisting restlessness, not caving to discomfort, fighting for balance when the center of gravity is not where you expect it to be. Likewise in our daily activities we can try out new responses to physical and mental habits that restrict our freedom to choose, to be our most graceful and gracious selves.
Next time, catch yourself suffering from the “missing” syndrome—and likely making those around suffer with you—due to missing (pick one) a meal, an appointment, a matching sock, a traffic light, or ____________(fill in the blank). This is the perfect moment to order a soothing bowl of light! Imagine a stream of sparkling energy flowing into your body at the base of the skull, dancing down to the base of your spine. Feel that light seeping out into your extremities, feeding your frustrated inner child and giving you exactly what you need to keep things in perspective. You may be surprised at how nourishing this addition to your menu of options can be!