“Be the centre of your storm”
The Storm, a word which has so many metaphors. Not only in the Play of King Lear, where Lear looses his mind, but in other forms of literature. T
Twain relinquished that “weather is necessary to a narrative of human experience.” And Shakespeare told us- “minded like the weather’. Lear is likeminded and chaotic like the storm. And in essence, these two writers are reflecting what all humans can feel internally.
This was the final day of using the screen for a warm up class;: Yoga
Dr Tiina Syrja, is a Senior Lecturer in Acting at University of Tampere. Tiina is a speech therapist, yoga teacher, vocologist and is a teacher of the Alexander technique. I touched upon the Alexander technique in my previous blog “Embodiment, Mindfulness & Movement: Part 1”
The Alexander techniques was designed by F.M Alexander. He was an Australian actor who reflected and observed his human function. B.Rosenburgh 2008 describes Alexanders research Including body expression, posture, voice and body balance. By analysing and observing himself he discovered that through muscular interference he had not been using his body in the best way. He discovered that the tensions he was experiencing, were not always immediately felt but built up to a sensory value. The methods he developed used systems within movement and body, that coordinated the distribution of the psychophysical process, starting with the head.
Tiina is the embodiment of someone who I would say is, centred, calm and controlled. She moves with grace and fluidity. Calm, direct and there is a warm energy about her,. We had only seen her pop in on the periphery through out the week and interacting with Tom when needed. This was the first time that group were being taught by her, and the warm up session was Yoga. Tiina was delivering a session based on the Integral Yoga.
“You translate everything, whether physical, mental or spiritual, into muscular tension.”
Swami Satchidananda was one of the first Yoga masters to bring the classical Yoga tradition to the West. The process involved include relaxing the eyes and combining chanting and inward conscious mediative state beyond movement. It is a philosophy and practice based on over millennials. .
As we rolled out our mats, there was a level of how far were we going to be pushed, how far could we stretch ourselves. We realised though when questioned how many of the coventry students were in experienced with the practice of yoga. I myself have only ever participated a few times with Yoga, even though I lived in a country for three years, where it was common practice. I saw the effects of others, but always failed to fully understand past the physiology of Yoga. I separated mediation away from Yoga, never really thinking or understanding the connection between the two. They were separate. One was body, one was mind. The day before a Eureka moment had happened when Mikko had described the warm resonate hands. I could connect a sensory response to how I was moving,
In the beginning of the class, I felt like I was being conditioned to relax, listen once again to silence and feel an inner experience. My favourite part of the practice was relaxing my eyes. We looked up… we looked down repeated over and over again, while sitting in a crossed leg position and our hand in our laps., slowly we were instructed to bring up our hands, and drag them slowly and softly over our eyes. It was a sensory experience of my eyes, relaxing, this then passed into my face muscles and slowly i fell into a relaxed state.
Deep breathing, slowly….. spaced out….. Expressed/inhaled. Tension dropped….. STOP…
So by this point, I felt relaxed I could have meditated in this state… and in a way it was mediation in the physical pain barrier of slowly pushing ourselves… We started to stretch. Different positions, different stances…. I am not going to lie, it hurt…. but what about not giving into the pain… What would happen if I breathed? That slow breathing it eased the pain, so that movement could be pushed some more. Then you hold that position and when you release the muscle, you breath outwardly. Over the space of doing this for 45 minutes, the positions became harder and finally at the end, the groups on both sides, just lay there silently on some digital space, sharing the same experience, that same digital silence came about and we were calm and still.
Tiina said one very poignant comment…. ‘be the centre of your own storm’ with reference to that part of a hurricane, where it is calm and centred. You can see all of your thoughts and noise flying around you, but you are in control of how you react to them. She also said that sometimes, you will go back in. But… if you can dedicate a small amount of time to these practices, then you can start to master your storm better. At this very moment when she said this, and we left the theatre, we all agreed that there was a serenity, we had all found a little nirvana within that class, but possibly within ourselves.
The benefits of Yoga are now being practiced more internationally than every before. Maybe we are now craving this inner calmness that we have lost or maybe even never felt. This experience calmed me down… for a short while before I got lost back in the storm of everyday living and finishing off a masters. However writing this blog and like all of the others, have really allowed me to relive and reflect on the whole experience. At times when I have had a spare 10 minutes while I have been waiting for a clip to render, I have dipped back into these classes that Mikko & Tiina have taught. And I have been practicing the classes by myself, in my bedroom or on the office floor when no is around. And combining this with running every other day.
I am asking myself why did I do this sooner?
The Alexander Technique. (2017). The Alexander Technique & Somatic Education. [online] Available at: http://alexandertechnique.com/resources/rosenberg.pdf [Accessed 4 Aug. 2017].
Schulz, K. (2017). Talk About the Weather. [online] The New Yorker. Available at: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/23/writers-in-the-storm [Accessed 4 Aug. 2017].