Esoteric Yoga: Union & Listening to My Body

by Helen Simkins, Alstonville, Australia

On reading the article Esoteric Yoga: Truth in Stillness, I felt inspired to reflect on my own experiences with this amazing modality.

I have been participating in Esoteric Yoga group sessions since 2008 and what a journey this has been… I will never forget my first session.

I was attending a Universal Medicine retreat with around 100 others when I was introduced to Esoteric Yoga and to the fact that truly yoga is about union.

I held the belief that yoga was a sort of ‘cool’ and ‘spiritual’ exercise modality or practise which I had on past occasions attempted to take up – without success.  I always thought that I was somehow lacking in the spirituality (and flexibility) required for devoting myself to yoga…

So I lay on my mat, ready for the yoga session to begin – and I waited, and waited and waited…

When would we start? Did I miss something? What was taking so long?

I lay there expectantly with my mind going in circles and my body wanting to fidget – and NOTHING happening. It was an uncomfortable and somewhat frustrating experience and seemed to go on forever.  Eventually the hour was over – and after some exposing discussion I was left with the realisation that instead of choosing to connect to myself and to my body, instead of experiencing any kind of union during that time, I had spent the session waiting for someone to tell me what to do, for something to deliver the yoga experience to me….. what an eye opener!

There were further Esoteric Yoga sessions during the 5 day retreat and that introductory session had shown me something not to be forgotten – so each session I embraced the opportunity to recognise that this was about me being with me, first and foremost  – as challenging as this would prove to be with so little distraction available!

The sessions were not all delivered like that first one. They included occasional suggestions about connecting to and feeling various parts of our bodies: to begin with it seemed impossible to get my head around what focussing on feeling from a part of my body even meant! There were even some gentle movements – thank goodness – I had no idea that actually being present and lying still in my own body could seem so PAINFUL.

I was learning something already through this introduction to Esoteric Yoga: exposing to myself how I had come to place so much importance on my mind and so little on listening to what was going on in my body.  So much was being revealed to me about the way I had allowed my mind to drive my body through life… and boy was it uncomfortable!

But there was something really special happening too: after each session I felt more deeply relaxed, calm and solidly connected to my whole being than I could remember. I was really enjoying this feeling. By the end of the 5 days my love for Esoteric Yoga and its powerful simplicity was born.

Part 2: Esoteric Yoga: The Joy of True Freedom

171 thoughts on “Esoteric Yoga: Union & Listening to My Body

  1. ‘…Esoteric Yoga and its powerful simplicity…’ Esoteric Yoga exposes to us how complex we make it, how our mind completely takes over and our body is somewhere else or on autopilot. In its simplicity I can feel the love and solid foundation for the body and how we can take this with us in our everyday movements, feeling the body from within, connected to our stillness and feeling the true quality in our way of living.

  2. We are so primed to have something delivered to us, served up on a plate with even some razzmatazz thrown in and then when we’re asked to just sit and be with it, it can throw us completely. I know this experience you speak of Helen as my own, waiting for something to happen, something to indicate what I am to do, and yet Esoteric Yoga does none of that, it offers us the space to feel us and our bodies and to know there is a deep well of stillness in us, ready and waiting to be connected to, to be expressed, and I know when I live and move from there everything is very different.

    1. That’s a great comment Monica about waiting to have everything delivered to us. I have to wonder what the next generations will be like when they reach adulthood, because now they spend so much time as babies and children on screens, phones, tablets, computers, etc, and do not have the period of childhood to simply play and be with themselves and their bodies in the natural union they are born to.

  3. This reminds me of my first experience with Esoteric Yoga in that I absolutely hated it. But what I have come to learn over time is that Esoteric Yoga is about union with my body, by actually choosing to be in my house (present in my body) rather than living up in the attic closed away in my mind or even colder, sitting on the roof. Coming back to my body at first was horrible because I had to face what I had allowed to occur in my absence – the abuse and disregard I had for my body to just follow all the ideals and thoughts running through my mind. And even today I find it challenging at times to come to terms with what I have and continue to allow to be in my body in terms of emotions and tensions etc. But the more I connect to the body the more I understand my choices and get a sense that in this connection any past choice can be rectified and healed.

  4. In the beginning I resisted going to Esoteric Yoga as I thought it would be just a different flavour of the other forms of yoga I had tried throughout my life, all of which I lost interest in after one or two classes. I attended my first Esoteric Yoga class at the Universal Medicine retreat in Vietnam in 2010 mainly because it was part and parcel of the daily presentations. Boy oh boy am I pleased that I did, as it revealed to me the true power in stillness and the wisdom my body can share with me when I choose to stop and connect with it.

  5. “I had spent the session waiting for someone to tell me what to do, for something to deliver the yoga experience to me….. what an eye opener!” And this is how most of us ‘unwittingly’ choose to live our lives.

  6. I had a very similar experience with my first Esoteric Yoga session. I was climbing the walls in agitation. I wondered what was happening, when we were going to get started…when could I start stretching? It took quite a while for me to get used to being still, laying there with my body. I had never ever taken the time to do that before and it was enormously uncomfortable. But, over time, my relationship with my body has developed to the point where I can now go about my day without the need for music. I can drive in silence, I can work in silence. The silence thing is just one example, and a huge step. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times where just being with my body is way too uncomfortable so I distract myself with all sorts of things – mainly food, but the awareness is there and I have a choice to connect or not in every moment.

  7. It’s quite remarkable how PAINFUL doing nothing can be! Our lives are full of distractions from ourselves, from our bodies and from the stillness that is within. So when we do finally stop and feel, the feelings are really intense, and that’s without moving at all (of course with breathing). It really is a profound and very healing modality.

  8. I am the first week of a 6 week Esoteric Yoga and what has been exposed to me is that when I perceive myself to be under the pump or in a challenging situation I default to my mind and pump adrenaline to get me where my mind tells me to go. My body has certainly given me very loud feedback that this is a very unhealthy behaviour – it was like physiologically my body was running a marathon even when in physical rest – hence restless sleep.

  9. ” I had no idea that actually being present and lying still in my own body could seem so PAINFUL.” I had a similar experience with my first Esoteric Yoga session, I used to be so much in my mind and could not feel my body, that when it came to this session, I was so exhausted and my body showed me loud and clear. I would fall asleep during the yoga session as my body was so tired. It reflected to me how I had been abusing my body and how tired I had become.

  10. Helen your experiences show the difference between the yoga that is currently very much in fashion, and Esoteric Yoga and it’s powerful simplicity of being in connection and union with ourselves. Before Esoteric Yoga I did not really have a relationship with my body as I had such a racy mind and was so driven by thinking. I am now much more connected to both my being and body and this has had a very positive impact on the daily choices I make, resulting in better health and general wellbeing. This is simply because I’m now connected to my body and how I feel, anxious, nervous or exhausted for example, and can then address these things. Before Esoteric Yoga it was surprising how little I could feel going on in my body.

  11. I had to laugh when I read this Helen as I too recall my first time at Esoteric Yoga and wondering why it was so silent and nothing much was going on. It was interesting to feel how uncomfortable I was with connecting with myself in this way and how I avoided this by going into my head often. It took me a little time to embrace the deep quality being offered in the Esoteric Yoga but when I did the feeling in my body was so exquisite and still I could feel how truly healing this modality is for everyone.

  12. I totally recognize these feelings from your first Esoteric Yoga session Helen. I felt so uncomfortable and had so much pain that I almost walked away. The pain was always there but because I was living so much in my head still, I hadn’t felt it before. After that I also embraced Esoteric Yoga as one of the modalities that support me being more in the body. And why being in the body is the way to go: very simple because if we are in the body we are connected to God.

  13. I’ve just started a new Esoteric Yoga program for women and it feels completely different than ever before. It is not that the session and its simple format has changed but what has changed is me and the way I choose union with me and my body. Esoteric Yoga is super simple but amazingly powerful, never a dull moment in any session I can assure you.

  14. With the practice of Esoteric Yoga we get to feel the momentum we have been living, nothing is left behind as the more we break away from the raciness of life and embrace the stillness within the more we know God within us.

  15. ‘I had spent the session waiting for someone to tell me what to do, for something to deliver the yoga experience to me’ what you share Helen here, is so revealing and in fact very known to me, how I’ve often waited for the outside to tell me, or confirm me and avoided feeling me and connecting to me. This is something I’m now exploring in a new way and Esoteric Yoga has been a huge support with this, it’s shown me so much and I can now be with me and my body in a very new way, there is a steadiness in me which I had not felt before and a willingness to surrender to my body and the wisdom it continually shows me. I am more myself simply.

  16. I was always quite intimidated by yoga as I was overweight and not very flexible so worried about going to classes as I would never fit the mould. Now that makes me laugh as I read your blog, those pictures are so far away from the truth of what yoga brings – its not about a headstand or some other uncomfortable pose – it is about connecting back to you and your body and this is equal for everyone. You don’t need to be able to wrap your legs around your head to do this.

  17. I had done quite a bit of posture yoga and enjoyed moving and stretching my body, but I had not done any yoga that was quite like Esoteric Yoga. Initially I found it also quite confronting mostly with what I was feeling in my body. I couldn’t use the postures to avoid feeling how uncomfortable I felt in my body. It was all just there for me to feel. What I eventually realised, after quite a few sessions was that all that was reflecting were my choices in how I was living everyday. I take the opportunity now to regularly attend programs for they really assist me in developing stillness, not just in those sessions, but in how I am as I move through my day. There is nothing quite like Esoteric Yoga.

  18. This hilarious account Helen is bitter sweetly felt as I can so relate to these initial feelings. This unique modality holds so much more than we can often first perceive because it is so simple. It’s like learning a new language. Doesn’t matter how simple the language is, if you are not familiar with it, it’s going to take some application and determination, but the pay-offs are life changing.

  19. Esoteric Yoga is an amazing modality – literally, heaven sent. From an initial resistance – as I’ve a tendency to do rather than be – I now love and value what it offers. Such a simple practical tool for living.

  20. So true Helen, when we place too much importance on what is going on in our head it makes our minds ‘full’ and we ‘forget’ to listen to our body. It’s quite ironic really.

  21. Having a head full of expectations seems to be a normal thing in life. How attached we become to them – we carry them around like pictures in our heads and feel quite uncomfortable when they are challenged. What do we miss out on in life by holding onto these images, rather than being with what actually is?

  22. Hi Helen, we all have a way where we expect everything to be more complicated than it need be – Esoteric Yoga has support me to understand that keeping things simple is a way that feel true in my body – it is an amazing modality and very exposing of the spirits fidgeting ways.

  23. I love the yoga sessions at the retreat. I found them to be very rejuvenating and gave me a marker for a quality that I could be during the day.

  24. Esoteric Yoga has definitely helped me reconnect with my body and offers an opportunity for stillness within, giving me space to truly feel how my body is, and how it needs to be supported.

  25. I also experienced struggles in first coming to the modality of Esoteric Yoga Helen – struggles, if not ‘torturous’ moments of directly experiencing just how removed from my body, and a steadiness (let alone stillness) within I had been living in.
    Hence your words resonate strongly: “…exposing to myself how I had come to place so much importance on my mind and so little on listening to what was going on in my body.”
    The modality continues to offer ever-more awareness in relationship with my body, and indeed all the facets of my being that drive it – yet the experience is today of the knowing of stillness within, yes with some revealing moments, but no ‘torture’ in sight. Has it been worth it – have I been worth it – OMG yes!

  26. I love that when we think we are not doing much and there’s not much happening so much is actually happening, and being still is like using a magnifying glass – we are given an opportunity to come closer to the details and we realise how spaciousness it really is.

  27. A modality or yoga that actual offers a reflection for your relationship with yourself is a rare commodity. In a world that is all about improving, impressing, strengthening, entertaining when it comes to yoga and exercise classes, this esoteric yoga really does stand out in the crowd. The fact that so many of us struggle just to be with ourselves for a moment is extremely telling and could be key to unlocking a lot of ills in the body.

  28. “I held the belief that yoga was a sort of ‘cool’ and ‘spiritual’ exercise ..” This is very true for so many people, and there are now so many different types of yogas. Esoteric Yoga though offers nothing outwardly to impress, it’s in fact a very humble modality, which is to me why it’s so powerful. It’s so stripped back, nothing to do but everything to be. It also requires an incredible level of honesty with the self, offering no distractions or things to achieve or strive towards, just simply being with you and all that is there to feel.

  29. We are so willing to wait for someone else to tell us what to do, or how to be or how to ‘fix’ this or that, so when we are offered something that supports our connection and to feel everything in our body… it can be very exposing and confronting. I remember my first time being painful, and I slept through most of it. From this first time I have done many Esoteric Yoga programs and felt and connected to so much more of who I am in my body.

  30. It really is amazing to feel just how naturally at ease we are when our bodies and being are in union, delivering us much more tangible and enriching sense of who we are, and how this connection to our fullness, our realness is available to live throughout our day.

  31. Thanks Helen! It’s interesting to note the vast difference between the mind and the body and what they bring you in the truth that they are. The body has a pain threshold that we tend to avoid and in the mind you can escape from that. The thing is though the longer we choose the mind the more pain there is to feel connecting back to the body because of the long separation that has been however, once we break through that pain level there is a beautiful still feeling on the other side – thanks to Esoteric Yoga.

  32. The opportunity to connect and be still with our body in union with our Soul and God, and then to feel where we are living in this relationship is an experience that everyone should have. It can be a very exposing experience but also one that is about connecting and either way, I have found it most valuable in deepening my relationship with my body. Thank you Helen, as you have shared Esoteric Yoga has been a great learning curve and I am so appreciative of the fact I persevered with deepening my relationship with Esoteric Yoga.

  33. Yoga is perhaps the modality that has more images attached to it. Yoga can be used for various ends. Esoteric Yoga does not feed the image feeder. What it offers is invaluable though.

  34. The great thing about Esoteric Yoga for me was feeling how challenging it was for me to still my mind and body at first, and now I absolutely love this feeling and how the stillness can support me throughout my day.

  35. I can so relate to your first session; I remember saying I never want to do that again. I was so uncomfortable; my mind would not stop talking. I did end up attending more sessions after that initial one and every time my mind became less noisy and I could start to hold the stillness in my body for longer periods of time. The stillness that I now feel during a session is a solid marker that I come back to when my mind starts to make too much noise and starts to run the show. It’s an incredible modality that once surrendered to shows us that we are far more than the mind wants us to believe.

  36. Haha, this is a classic article as I could see the experience of what was being said. I laugh respectfully as I can relate to what is being said. We can be so use to being told things, that when it’s not there, in the same quality, it is almost like we are missing out on something and yet when we reflect on it, we realise the entire thing is in reverse. Esoteric Yoga gives you no outcome to achieve and creates a solid space for you to feel what is already there. It doesn’t take you somewhere or promise to deliver you something but allows you the space to feel everything that is truly going on. It can be confronting and equally very freeing to see.

  37. I can totally relate Helen. I spent the first couple of esoteric yoga rolling my eyes internally at the word ‘stillness’ – to me at that time, it sounded boring, dull and disconnected to life. What an amazing journey it’s been to discover that stillness is huge, expansive and spacious and connects me to me and from there, everything and everyone else. That it’s a feeling I can actual feel and connect to within my own body has been most surprising and unexpected – a very cool discovery.

  38. How beautiful true yoga is being discussed – offering yourself a body movement that is in aligment with your Soul. And because there is only one Soul – we are one, hence it brings us back to Union. So a beautiful reflection of what Esoteric Yoga brings.

  39. I had a little giggle reading your first experience Helen because I can remember that feeling of restlessness and waiting to be told how to be with my body. I would lie there with pain presenting in different parts of my body and the anxiety that I lived in 24/7 magnified that I wanted to jump up and run screaming from the building! Oh gee I’ve come a long way from then! Esoteric Yoga to me now is a gift straight from heaven… an invitation to be at one with my body and let go of anything that is not me and not love.

  40. Esoteric Yoga is not what I grew up around. I wish it had been around many years ago, it would have assisted me to connect with my body during the times I was working out at the gym and not being present.

    I am now feeling the impulse to go on a program to connect deeper with myself and every session is so much different and learning more ‘that yoga is about union’.

  41. The impulse to do a program of Esoteric Yoga came recently when I attended ‘Life is Medicine’ workshop, when a practitioner spent half an hour presenting to 50 participants. Listening to her voice as she connected with us all, yet it was like she knew which part of my body was holding onto tension and she was speaking directly to me.
    Some of the tensions were subtle none the less they were there and no doubt have been there for a long time, but to have that awareness bought back is huge on its own – I love that awareness being bought out into the open and where the two meet, awareness and body = connection

  42. I had forgotten about how Yoga is seen as very “spiritual” or that it can help you to become that. Yoga in its true meaning is just union, union with our body and our divine essence or soul. This is something most babies and kids naturally do, they live in connection with their essence and body which shows how true yoga is very unspiritual, in fact it’s equally available for everybody and is truly soulful. Union or connection is something that is natural to us which we have moved away from.

  43. It definitely is a re-learning to bring focus and attention to parts of our body. I have walked around for most of this life simply ignoring that there was any physicality below my neck. Dragging my body around without any real respect or acknowledgement of it. Esoteric Yoga really helps to bring our head inline with our bodies. After all, it’s all part of the same thing….why do we seperate the two so often.

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