More and more I am coming to recognise, especially as a yoga teacher, that although I may be trained in, and acquainted with, the “right knowledge”, my practise as a yogi and certainly my role as a teacher relies heavily on the ability to truly embody this knowledge.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the vast difference between knowledge and wisdom. You see, as a Yoga teacher one of the main things I believe I want to facilitate a space for is the ability for my students to know and to embody the true essence of yogic and Ayurvedic wisdom. And, to facilitate this I must come myself to a place of knowing the difference between the knowledge I attain and true embodied wisdom.
So, what is it we mean when we say, “embodied wisdom”?
Embodied wisdom is the perceptive intelligence we hold within our bodies, some may call it the trained intuit of the practitioner. It is what we, as yogi’s, take from our experiences – both professional and personal, as well as from our learned knowledge, and combine them with our innate internal “knowing” to form a wisdom that serves us as we serve others.
Embodied wisdom is the discernment and insight we gain from cultivated rest and awareness.
I have personally found that having a daily routine that really cultivates rest, healthy eating, sunshine and mindfulness can bring you back to homeostasis. Being too busy and having a monkey mind steals your prana, your life force. At least it does if you are not mindful or your 'busyness' or not passionate about what you are doing.
To understand mindfulness, we must truly live it and love living it. At times it can be perceived as too boring or too slow, but it is a very steady state. It lets you enjoy the sunshine on your back and the reflection of native greenery in your heart. It allows nature to truly call you, and you listen. It allows for a mindful cup of tea, a long rest in shavasana in the daytime and a return to being in states of rapture and bliss. It is both internal and external - a deep exploration of both and it leans towards incredible health and restoration in very moment.
It must not be overlooked on the path to both wellness and wholeness.
Have you ever felt so exhausted that each moment feels like an attempt to just slowly move one foot in front of the other?
Perhaps as if the world was or is sucking every ounce of life out of you?
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
This is where the difference between knowledge and true yogic wisdom comes in: when we realise that it is only in rest, awareness, and true lived experiential learning, that we can be who we want to teach others to be.
We can only be for others what we can be for ourselves.
Yoga teachers have the unique ability not only to become aware of certain paths toward wellbeing, they have the unique power within them to become aware of awareness and thus begin to embody the wisdom of the heart and earth, leading to an integrated sense of wellbeing that no longer keeps you entrapped in the perpetual cycle of ill-health and dis-ease.
Yet as aforementioned, this embodied wisdom is only possible when we are rested and attuned to our own sense of self.
Through the control of prana, the breath, heart rate, skin temperature, blood flow, emotions, and the mind, yogis learn to become so attuned to self and other, albeit without attachment, that they can positively affect the biome, the genome, the immune system, the nervous system and the neuro plastic brain. The most exciting part is that modern science supports this through studies of neuroplasticity, epigenetics, psychoneuroimmunology, digestive health and mircrobiome research, as well as through studies of sleep.
In fact, the science and reputable evidence has become so apt in explaining what centuries of traditional wisdom have taught, that we now see yoga and meditation as a part of evidence-based practise in therapy, education, the workplace, restorative justice, and many other areas of biopsychosocial interventions (see Interpersonal Neurobiology – Dr Dan Siegel; Bessel Van de Kolk; International Journal of Yoga). And while there is a multiplicity of “ideals” of just how to practice, in all domains one thing remains consistent: Without restorative rest the body will forever remain in chaos and rigidity.
What does this mean for you and I?
What this means is that in order to focus on, and achieve, embodied wisdom – the wisdom you find not only through attention to attention, so too through continued cultivated practise – there must first be an intention to restore the mind to integration.
To heal what is or has been.
To come to a place whereby your own stress, anxiety, or fear is transformed and integrated and your mind-body connection is toned leaving you with a deep interoceptive and proprioceptive awareness that is embodied wisdom.
How does this work?
While there is not just one evidence-based way to explain the benefits of restorative yoga and meditation, the most vital is the impact restoration has on the vagal function and perceptual awareness.
Increasing vagal function and creating perceptual awareness is an essential element in the self-regulatory aspects of our mind as it relates to the sensory input of our bodies. The main aspect of this is the HPA axis which is vital in the stress and pain response, as is the involvement of our bodies proprioception sensory system and the sensory neurons that give us a place/time/space continuum – aka our sixth sense or intuition.
Many studies again have proven the effectiveness of meditation as a form of treatment and management as it relates to an increase vagal tone and sensory awareness. Focusing on contemplative and soothing practices that generate feelings of safety and internal regulation have been shown to increase the strength of the parasympathetic nerve network that connects the brain with the organs, thus the ability to perceive and receive external stimuli and steady response accordingly – meaning deep restorative rest is attainable through practises of restorative yoga and meditation.
How do I do this?
As aforementioned, the practise of yoga and mediation is the key to breaking the perpetual cycle of ill-health and dis-ease. As either teachers, teachers in training, master teachers, or simply students of the practise of yoga, it is imperative to continually learn, and re-learn the aspects of restorative yoga and meditation.
Throughout the year we hold both restorative retreats, as well as meditation teacher training and restorative yoga teacher training.
Our YIMI teacher training and restorative yoga retreats combine evidence-based knowledge with traditional wisdom in combination with Clinical Yoga Therapy, Meditations, as well as specific processes for integrated wellbeing. We strongly recommend in the process of becoming either a teacher or a more astute student, you take the time to attend a course or retreat in restorative rest.
There is nothing more important to wellbeing than a rested soul - see our retreats and courses below, make sure you book yourself into learn how to rest and restore.
Meditation Teacher Training
Here at YIMI we offer world class Meditation Teacher Training. Our teachers have years of experience, practice and training under their belt and are well equipped to offer you the guidance needed to share and undertake the ancient practice of meditation. Our teacher training and short courses cover a range of meditation techniques and styles to ensure there is something to resonate with every individual.
Meditation is the most rewarding and life changing practice. For many who study and practice the art of meditation it becomes a daily practice that nurtures them throughout their whole lives. Meditation offers benefits of mind shaped on the values of compassion, mindfulness and contentment. It cultivates unshakable inner peace.
Restorative Yoga Teacher Training
Restorative Yoga Teacher Training is offered face to face in Brisbane, and also as an online course.
Restorative yoga is a magnificent and empowering therapeutic tool. Restorative yoga bridges the gap between a strong yoga class and a seated meditation class, making it incredibly accessible to many people, including those with injuries or chronic health conditions. The mind-body connection is intricately enhanced through restorative yoga and it enables all yoga practitioners to have a deep understanding and first hand experience of psychosomatic medicine and the healing process.
Traditionally, restorative yoga uses props to support the body in postures that are held for longer periods. The use of props also aid bodily awareness and proprioreceptive feedback, and are used as a therapeutic tool.
Restorative yoga completely tones the nervous system, employing evidenced based cognitive neuroscience and epigenetics to bring about both therapeutic and lasting changes. Deep interoreceptive awareness is developed to transform stress, fear, anxiety. Restorative yoga awakens the pranic and energetic systems of the mind-body and develops a heightened sensitivity and a gentle self compassion.
Women's Spiritual Health Retreat
Saturday 15 December & Sunday 16 December
Specifically designed for woman's health, Join Celia and Samantha as they deepen your insight to women’s health and wellbeing. Understanding how to harness the therapeutic benefits of yoga & pranayama, meditation for women is the essence of this Spiritual Health Retreat.