Presence versus Escapism

“Feel yourself slipping from consciousness…”

“Lose yourself…”

“Imagine you are on a beach far from here…”

All of these are things I have heard in yoga and meditation classes in the past. I guess upon reading these statements you may be thinking, what’s wrong with them?…

Well quite a lot.

Up until I completed my trauma sensitive yoga and pilates teacher training course I did not see anything wrong with most of the practices above. I looked forward to the escapism of meditations, the way they took me out of my body and current situation and helped me to focus on something idyllic, something ‘better’. I saw no problem with ‘losing myself’ in my yoga practices, closing my eyes and drifting off into streams of thoughts and daydreams. I was glad of it.

However, I learned during my training that movement and meditation, in fact all activities we undertake, can be, and should be, a way to EMBRACE the present moment, not escape it. There is so much marketing in the yoga world about ‘escaping your reality’, ‘create a new reality’, ‘reach new levels of consciousness’ that it has become the norm.

Me & my coursemate during my teacher training – guiding a connected relaxation at the end of class

Having trained in and utilised incredibly transformative body-based practices in my teacher training I now see how problematic the above ways of approaching movement can be. Ultimately, as my teacher said, we are here on this planet to be humans. To experience life with all the joy and pain it inevitably involves. To experience it with our feet on the ground and our eyes open. And to do that, we need to practice presence. In fact, we just need to practice.

To practice how to cope with human life in a beneficial way that works for us so we can find our place in society, as well as our place within our own bodies, hearts, minds and souls. If the movement and meditation practices we do encourage us to DISCONNECT from our lives and our bodies we lose out on the chance to thrive in the now.

Life is such a gift, full of opportunities for learning, growth and experience that to close our eyes and constantly be waiting for something ‘better’ is a chronic waste.

I am not diminishing how entirely understandable it is to feel like life is too hard to be present with because of the difficulties we all encounter. Grief, death, divorce, accidents, bullying, loneliness and much more. These are all hard to deal with.

However, if we have our eyes closed and are waiting for our ticket to somewhere else we also miss out on being fully present in the inherent beauty, joy, love and adventure that life holds. If we try and escape the pain we won’t be able to heal from it and move forward. To reconnect to the wonderful creativity, passion, confidence, power and wisdom we all hold within.

Disconnection is rife in society which entirely makes sense with such high levels of trauma and stress. Simple, but practical tools to help individuals process pain and overwhelm has never been more in need. Everyone needs a toolbox to allow them to come back down to earth and feel able to deal with life in a connected, directed way.

Body based practices provide us with a beautiful way to do this. Tension and trauma manifests in our bodies and leads to us living our life stuck on ‘on’. With heightened levels of cortisol coursing through our body and with no way to release this emotion/energy our nervous system remains constantly primed for threat. Unaware the immediate threat has now dissipated the body short circuits and anxiety, stress, restlessness, fearfulness, anger, PTSD and burnout come to the fore.

The sessions I offer combine yoga, pilates, tai chi, intentional breathing, trauma release exercises and self-awareness techniques to help shed tension, calm the nervous system and guide you back to yourself in a beautiful way.

You don’t need to stay stuck on ‘on’. There is a path back to calm. A way to thrive in your beautiful body, heart, mind and soul. All you need is you.

Take care lovely people.

Alison xxxx

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