On a Moving Meditation Mission

Emily Seymour Yoga Moving Meditation MissionI’ve been a people watcher for almost two decades. I gather information from watching the way that people move, how they hold themselves, and so on.  I’m not as good as that guy on Lie to Me, but I can read body language pretty well.

I had a bit of a revelation at a 5Rhythms dance class in Manhattan. These classes are incredible – anywhere from fifty to one hundred people come together for two glorious hours of moving meditation. The music is perfectly orchestrated and the teachers are phenomenal. At one point I paused to look the sea of people and it hit me:

People need to move more.

If you think that this is a strange response to watching a group of dancers, you’re absolutely right. It IS unusual and it caught me a little off guard. I was observing how the class was moving as a whole; particularly the WAY the people were moving. A lot of bouncing (which is great for spinal decompression) but something wasn’t connecting.

And then it clicked.

In that moment I could see the impact of modern day lifestyles – particularly the effect of sitting in chairs. I mean ALL chairs – desks, couches, cars, airplanes, trains, buses, bicycles – even toilets! I could also see the impact of sitting and watching TV. The effects extended beyond their physical bodies, and I could see the effect of being routinely cut off from the lower power centers of the body.

It’s no secret that sedentary lifestyles are a slow killer. We know that moving is essential for good health, that it prevents Alzheimer’s and other illnesses. And with that understanding many people go to fitness classes, the gym, or exercise for maybe a few hours a week.

What I realized in that moment is that it’s not enough. Adult bodies were designed for movement, not to sit around, or work at a desk for 8-10 hours a day, or have our legs go numb in seated meditation. Even if you do work out on a regular basis, those benefits are being undone by too much sitting.

So I’m on a mission to change this. I’m encouraging people to move their bodies a whole lot more, in ways that help them integrate the upper and lower halves of their bodies. It sounds basic enough but the process of actually doing it takes some effort. There’s some lifestyle reconstruction involved and a willingness to open our minds to change.

Sun Salutation CircleExercise is a way of giving your body a gift.

A good way to start this is by finding ways to move that your body enjoys. One of my favorite moving meditations is the sun salutation series. Sun salutations are a great way to energize and open your whole body. There are many ways to modify the series to suit a wide range of ability levels. They can even be used for weight loss! I teach the sun salutations series in my Foundations Training course.

Ready to get moving? I’d love to hear from you. Schedule a FREE no-obligation consultation today: Book Now

Mind Gym – Flexible Aging

Emily Seymour Yoga Flexible Aging

 “A Yogi measures the span of his life not by the number of years but by the number of his breaths.” – Sri Swami Sivananda

People will sometimes ask me how old I am. Honestly, I tend to forget (and it’s not from senility haha). On more than one occasion I’ve had to use a calculator to determine my age. It just isn’t something that I think about that much…

In my experience age associations tend to be more constrictive than empowering. You’re always too young or too old for something. And when someone learns your age their perspective of you shifts (I see this all the time). Age association shapes our idea of who we think we are. This can have an effect on us but only if we allow it to. Time is flexible to our perception of it.

You are not your age.

People tend to be surprised when I tell them how old I am. It’s partly because I don’t fit into the box of my age group. I try to maintain mental flexibility around aging. There’s a saying in yoga that what we focus our attention on tends to grow in size. Mindfulness meditation is a good tool for navigating potentially limiting thought patterns.

Your perception of yourself is one of the most powerful tools that you have in your belt. It helps to be aware of the ways that we talk about ourselves. Saying things like “I’m getting too old” is a sure-fire way to box yourself into self-imposed limitations. It’s the same with self-identifying with physical illnesses (example: “my arthritis”).

How we view our life experiences can also be limiting. Fixating on some aspect of the past as the being the “best time” of our lives makes us less likely to be open to new or different experiences.

Backbends reverse the aging process.

Your physiological age can be measured by the flexibility of your spine. Psychologically, backbends help us to access the “backpack” of our past which is held in the dorsal side of the body. Releasing and opening the body through back bending helps us digest our past memories. Opening the front body allows us to become more receptive to the present moment and future.

I’ll never forget a birthday present of wisdom that was given to me by a fellow yogini. We were talking about aging and I was surprised to learn that she was forty years old. Her youthful and powerful presence made her look fifteen years younger. She quietly confided that “age is all spirit.”

How old is your spirit?

Emily Seymour Yoga Flexible Aging Backbends