The Body Remembers, and Why That Can be a Good Thing

Mar 06, 2024


 For at least the first 5 years of my asana practice, every time I did Chaturanga Danadasana I fell flat on my face, until one day I didn’t. I can still remember the feeling of lowering myself down toward the floor from Plank pose when suddenly, much to my astonishment, I was holding myself up.

That breakthrough moment has stayed with me, not just in my mind but in my body. I can still recall the delightful sensation of strength in my upper back as I hovered there, in control for a fleeting second. In fact, I revisit it often to draw steadiness and fortitude when life throws me for a loop.

There’s a lot of attention paid to how the body holds the memories of our traumas, and rightly so. But let’s not overlook the body’s capacity to hold the beneficial experiences we cultivate in asana as well.
Standing in a long line at the checkout counter, you remember the feeling of grounding in your feet and legs in Mountain pose. As a result, you naturally adopt a more aligned and easeful posture that makes it easier to be patient while you wait.

Facing a tense situation, you take a breath and your shoulders and jaw release, just like when you relax into Savasana.

The muscle memory of strength and coordination in nailing a challenging pose, the stability of balancing your feet, the softening you experience at the end of a satisfying practice - it’s all there within us.

The recall doesn’t necessarily happen instinctively at first, but over time, the mind and body work together to make these experiences easier for us to access more often.

The body remembers. With a mindful and introspective practice, the beneficial seeds that we plant in our asana practice bear fruits that enrich our lives.

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