Friday, December 17, 2010

December 12 – Body

This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

My transition from 270 pound out of body mind disconnect frenzied eating machine has come to a new place this year. Because of an intense 6 months of yoga practice (1 ½ hours a day 5 days a week) I began an entirely new journey into my body. The stillness and connection between my mind, my body and my soul began to creep in slowly, unexpectedly, without a real hint it was coming, until one day I was in class and I was altogether one with myself. My body looked like and did things I did not recognize. My legs were strong and available to me and yet so part of “me” that they were like phantom limbs.

I have had these moments before, but never sustained. Riding horses has always been my mind/body escape. I have never been so free as when on horseback. The connection of my mind to not only my body, but the mind and body of the horse can be sensual and transcendent in a way that only another horseperson can understand.

Here’s an example: Riding down the long side of the arena at a slightly collected working canter, I begin to feel the slowing of impulsion in the horses strike off leg, we are half way down and he is anticipating the corner – either a down transition or turn – he is thinking slow down – but I do not want to lose the quality of the canter in the corner and I have a half pass coming up so I need collection and impulsion – so I choose my aids and ride on. All of this happens in an instant, through nuance, through a feeling that my body, not my mind, identifies. My body has sensed the change, the slowing, even if it is almost imperceptible. Only after my body has felt the change, does my mind understand, and react, and make a move. The horse feels my intention more often than not, before I apply my aid, and if we are well connected, is ready when I ask.

I have taken up running recently, and this too has a sense of mind and body integration. If only because without the power of my mind, I would simply give up. My body is far more capable than I know and I have little faith in my abilities to carry on. Just this last week I ran a 10k faster than I have ever run before, all without any belief that it could be done.

Mind body integration is an interesting question, when making love I am all body, no mind, when writing I am all mind no body (save for the fingers at the keyboard), it is only in the intellectual pursuits of riding and yoga that I find myself fully integrated.

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