As a focus for our Fall group mat classes, we are going to ask you to flex and stretch a mind “muscle”. For some of you, knowing how you feel may be easily accessible at first thought. Answering the question “how do you feel?”, might bring to mind quick responses of “tired”, “great” or “stressed”. In class, we want to encourage a deep tuning into the body, and so we will begin our classes with a quick standing or lying down guided body scan, using the mind to map the body. The idea is that from this place of noticing, without judging, we can then exercise with attention to our starting place. This allows us many advantages. We can, if need be, focus on letting go tight and held muscles. We can pay attention to re-balancing. We can realize that the conversation we had just before we walked in the studio made us forget to breathe, or we feel joy and lightness. The body scan is a reminder to work with our body, not against it in the traditional “no pain, no gain” world of exercise. We can push within our limits, and reserve energy when needed.
At the end, of class, the body scan has the same uses, but adds in an important element. After we exercise, breathe deeply, move and stretch, we should feel markedly different. We hope and aim for a positive feeling in the body for each student in class. If you pay attention and feel that your shoulders have dropped, your back is feeling alive and straight, your feet feel the floor, and you feel “livelier”, then you can remember this “result” of your class. In effect, your brain says “this is a good thing to do” and will help you get yourself to class the next time searching for the “good stuff”. If you feel tight or sore after class, have a head-ache or are too tired, it is really very important information for us to gather. It is possible you over -did it, not working to your own level on that day. Or it’s possible you don’t understand the intent of an exercise fully and so are initiating from the wrong place in your body. As teachers, we would be happy to help you sort this out, and usually a brief conversation can move a student into a new and better territory for the next class.
You’ll be the ultimate judge of how you feel. As I often say to my students, you are your own boss, and the expert on your body. It pays greatly to listen, and to learn, and to be honest with oneself. From the outside, we’ll encourage and offer knowledge and hopefully motivate and inspire you on the quest. Besides those pelvic floor muscles, biceps and abs, the whole body includes that mind “muscle”. Work on getting it a little stronger each week too!