Embodied Wholeness

By Vie Santos on Mon, 04/25/2016 - 22:52

The evolution of one’s awareness is an integral aspect of yoga as a transformative practice. In Hatha yoga—the big umbrella over all styles, brands, and lineages utilizing postural and movement techniques—this practice is one of more fully awakening and deeply integrating on the path to a more holistic, congruent, and healthy life. Put differently, doing yoga is a practice for awakening to our embodiment as organic humans that happens the moment one becomes present to the experience of breathing and being in this bodymind. For many this is and always will be a spiritual path that is about “being in” (a oneness perspective) or “connecting to” (a dualist perspective) a sense of the infinite or consciousness beyond the bodymind, perhaps (or perhaps not) as a path to transcendence. For others, even if not specifically describing yoga, it’s about fully awakening to the spirit and reality of being alive, finding meaning, as Mark Johnson (1989, 10) proposes, “within the flow of experience that cannot exist without a biological organism engaging its environment.” Rather than human thought and experience being essentially illusional or somehow “cut off from the world,” Johnson (1989, 271–78) points us toward an “embodied, experiential view of meaning” expressed through this “phenomenal body”—not the folk concept of the body that is reduced to biological functioning, but one in which the bodymind is whole. Doing yoga gives us the opportunity to directly experience and cultivate this sense of wholeness of becoming in the full reality of our lives in this world.