Walking and moving through life in general is a learning ground that enables us to see and feel where we are at in terms of the degree of settlement we have within ourselves.
We can notice how quickly we react, or how quickly we abandon ourselves, or how easily we can come off balance. We can be aware of this simply by noticing the energy within and around us and how it feels following our movements.
This has never been so clear to me as when I am in water. Over the years I have observed myself when I swim, and this has revealed much to me about how I am in life. The water acts as a magnification of movement, and the ripple effects are actually visible. I am also able to feel how I am within my body and how I respond to my environment and the movements that happen around me. Being in the water is a great tool for observation and a fantastic marker of the quality of our movement.
A recent opportunity to swim allowed me to experience the very obvious difference in myself and my movements since the last time I had been in the water, probably around two years ago. It was a glorious marker of how far I have come in terms of the way that I am within my body and the way that I now respond to life. There was a sense of calm as I gently took myself underwater and breathed out through my nose and gently breathed in on returning to the surface. No stress and no panic. On gliding under water I felt a joy within me, sensing the water around me and enjoying my movements. When engaging in the strokes while swimming I noticed that I no longer gasp for air and I took the time and space to be with my movements instead of focussing on how far I could swim.
There was a sense of living deeper within my body and of being less affected by the environment around me. And mostly I noticed a stillness within myself that I took into my movements which allowed me to swim for a substantial amount of time without getting breathless or feeling tired.
This confirmed that when we move from a quality of stillness there is no drain on the body – the body is simply in the flow of its natural rhythm, not having to call on any reserves.
Like many, I was not truly ‘taught’ to swim. I was literally thrown in at the deep end and left to gasp and splutter my way through the water trying to survive. Pondering on this, this was a reflection of the way I was living, and the panic in the water was a mirror of the panic with which I was living life – the ripple effects exactly the same. Later in life I taught myself to be ‘calmer’ and to swim in a controlled way, but this was just a reflection of the control that I had brought into my life as a way of managing the chaos and panic. There was still a great deal of tension, my breathing was erratic, and I was still fighting for survival. How often do we try to ‘deal’ with the stress with a solution from the outside without truly connecting to our natural inner quality first which allows an ease, rather than controlling from the outside trying to fix the panic?
Practising Esoteric Yoga has allowed me to develop a deeper awareness of my body, my movements and the effect these movements have on ourselves and the space and people around us.
My yoga practice has shown me how I can move through life with ease, which is now reflected in the way that I swim, and that ease being also experienced in the water. The focus on the quality of gentleness in movement is paramount, and has the power to break down and clear the previously held patterns of tension and control. Staying consciously present with the body allows one to feel more settled within oneself and can stop the overwhelm that can occur when focussing everywhere but the body. There is a beautiful sense of being at home within the body – a deepening within oneself that provides us with a more solid foundation from which to live.
My recent experience in the water has confirmed that there need be no effort within movement, and there need not be a push to get anywhere or improve anything.
Quite simply, when we connect to our inner quality of stillness this allows a natural ease of movement, and its ripple effects can be felt within every aspect of life.