Tuesday, July 26, 2011
What Time Is It?
I find that when I am teaching yoga, quite often and suddenly, a surprising or forgotten concept will just pop into my mind. Things that were cloudy or confusing will become clear and then become words that I allow to enter the flow of my teaching. In a recent teaching session this happened, and I recalled a concept I have learned about and worked with in my own practice but never had the impulse to teach. This is the concept of psychological time versus body time.
Psychological time happens when we are in our heads, or our stories, and usually means we are moving quickly, vacillating between past and future and rarely visiting the present moment. Psychological time is where our ego identity and our critic reign supreme. It is the place where anxiety and depression or our insanity take hold. We do need this kind of time to get through the practicalities of life too. We need to make plans for future actions and draw from past experience. The problem is that many of us live here exclusively, for the most part, and things are way out of balance. Living in psychological time also leaves us disembodied, and it is in the body where we really feel and process. The body is where emotion lives, and it is in the body where it must begin to be integrated or it just gets trapped in our loops of psychological story time.
Body time, on the other hand, moves much more slowly and exists in the present moment. The best way to transition from psychological time to body time is to take some slow, deep breaths. Breathing reconnects us to all of the rhythms of the body, the dance of expansion and contraction, activating and releasing. It is in this time where we must do the work of processing and integrating our experiences and most importantly the difficult ones. Trauma and pain must be met here in order to be healed and transformed before the shift can happen in psychological time. Our issues are in our tissues! Our tendency to want to speed through life and live in past and future keeps us numb and allows us to avoid fully feeling most anything. This accumulates in our body over time, and eventually, will most likely make us sick. Our dis-ease becomes disease.
The good news is there are many ways to get into body time, breathing for one, yoga, dance, running, golf, martial arts, swinging on a swing, creating music or art and the list goes on. Of course activities like yoga, Feldenkrais, Trager Approach are specifically geared toward facilitating processing and releasing blockages in the body and the mind, but everyone must find their way to what resonates with them. How often and in what ways do you get into body time? If you are rarely there maybe it is time to play.
As an aside, I will always remember this time when I was at Kripalu and all of the clocks stopped working. People were panicked and distressed. Someone went around, and on each clock taped a sign that said, "The time is now." That still makes me smile.