In our practice of core awareness we stretch and move in ways that help us learn new things about ourselves. Sometimes we assume yoga poses that take up a lot of space, for example Warrior I, II, and III. In these poses our stance is wide as we stretch our arms to their full span or reach skyward. At other times in our practice we fold into ourselves and lie close to the ground. In child’s pose for instance, we make ourselves as small as possible. In her book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, choreographer Twyla Tharp calls this latter exercise Egg and she does it daily. Using the movement as a metaphor, it is a physical lesson in solving an intellectual problem: How do you get a new project off the ground? Tharp writes,
Once you shrink yourself into a fetal ball, you have no choice but to do something expansive. You cannot hold the starting position forever, though you can hold it for as long as you like. Eventually, though, you’ll have to do something.
Reaching out, drawing inward – in yoga we are constantly exploring the boundaries of these oppositions and then holding them together to create balance and energy. The mind and body – they are connected. As Amy Cuddy’s research shows, the body shapes the mind and the mind shapes the body. Sometimes we forget this and as Ken Robinson suggests, the body can become just an elaborate system to transport the head around from meeting to meeting.
Amy Cuddy and Ken Robison’s Ted Talks have been inserted below. Both talks give fun and interesting perspectives on mind-body learning. Enjoy!
Amy Cuddy’s Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
Sir Ken Robinson’s How Schools Kill Creativity