I have long been amazed by the way in which the practice of Esoteric Yoga brings not only a reconnection to inner stillness, but also a deep awareness of stillness being a state of being that is actually innate to our bodies (no matter how far away from it we may think ourselves to be). Experiencing this awareness has revealed what changes to my daily routine and way of living the choice of stillness can offer as a way forward. This became very clear quite some time ago during a 6-week course with the Esoteric Yoga Stillness Program for Women.
A few minutes into one of the sessions that comprise the program, we were lying down and I had connected to stillness. Our practitioner had us focus our attention on our hands. As I allowed myself to feel my hands from the place of stillness, I was very aware at that moment of two vastly different types of energy within them.
I was delighting in how delicate my hands felt and I had a sense of how much delicateness and stillness they were capable of holding. I started to feel a deep sense of appreciation for my hands and found myself contemplating how remarkably divine would be all that I touched and did with them, if I were to express in this energy.
At the same time, which in itself is quite remarkable, I also felt the intensity of how much I had had my hands ‘do’ up until this moment of revelation. My hands were showing me how much my life had been a push and a drive as I felt the physical hardness I had encased them in to serve this unrelenting, harsh, forward momentum.
I had used my hands as functional workhorses, there only to serve whatever my mind was deeming was the thing to do at any one time.
I had disfigured two fingers on my right hand with excessive writing while pushing myself to get a degree at University – before the days of word processors. I had tensed my hands driving my car at times, in stress, frustration and anger, and had used them to lift weights in the gym that were way beyond my physical capacity. I had allowed shopping bags and dog leashes to cut into my hands, while choosing to ignore the harsh, physical effects of these activities. On a few occasions I had burned and cut parts of my hands in kitchen accidents, usually when I was in a hurry or distracted by a million thoughts other than those relating to cooking.
All of this I felt as I observed my hands from stillness, without judgement but with an honest accounting of the energy residing in them, placed there by me during the course of a lifetime.
I was astonished by the matter-of-fact honesty offered by my body without recrimination or blame: just a sharing of truth and the offering of a choice – continue with the harshness or choose to honour my hands in the delicateness and stillness that I truly am. I could choose to have the same hands I had had as a baby – delicate, sensitive and tenderly aware of how my touch engages with the outside world.
For a while after this, my hands felt a little sore at the fingertips. This I attributed to my choice to honour them. This choice meant that I became very aware of how and when I was pushing, because my fingertips, previously numbed into hardness, became very sensitive and their sensitivity alerted me to how I’d been using my hands – the quality of energy I used them in as I went about my daily activity.
I started to take moments to stop and to appreciate my hands at different points in my day when I moved them gently or massaged them, reminding myself that I wanted to move all of me, including my hands, delicately, from stillness. At other times I found I was naturally delighting again in the loveliness of my hands in activity, often when drying dishes, or during my cleansing routine, or dressing for the day.
My hands have since become a truly remarkable and precise indicator of whatever energy is running through me at any one time and they offer a constant awareness of the choices available to us all. They are absolutely worth appreciating and absolutely worth offering the energy of delicateness and stillness for their expression. As am I absolutely worth being delicate with me, as the woman that I am.
By Coleen Hensey