There comes a time when something is just too good to keep to oneself. Enter Moga: An Adventure in Awareness with Maria Skinner. A colleague was sharing with me a wish she has to teach classes that feel like ones she loves to receive. I told her my desire when I teach class is to teach the class I would want to take. We looked at each other like “Are we saying the same thing?” At any rate, enter Moga, the class I wish I could take every singe day.
Moga is the culmination of my experience with the Nia Technique, Contact Improv, Experiential Anatomy, yoga, self-awareness and self-inquiry liberation practices and my unending exploration of the relationship between the body, the mind and the spirit.
At the root is a practice that emerged from Principle #5 of the Nia White Belt: Awareness …that each day, choosing sensation from the instant I wake up in the morning, begin to notice the state of my body and where I might need self-healing. This practice began being inspired by wanting to release aches & pain but has become the way I meditate and spend time with my “myself”.
At first glance, it is just a body scan laced with love, gratitude and curiosity. I check in (bring awareness to) and speak to my body beginning at the base, my feet, inviting it to relax. I do this by sensing of that part of my body with my full attention and breath without judgement, noting what is there for me. I make my way all the way up to the the top of my head, stopping at each joint and when I have time also each bone and muscle group. Sometimes I hang out in one place where there is more tension or holding or pain and I stay there with my awareness, breathe into that space, infuse it with love and gratitude and move on when I feel the tightness dissipate and sense what I call ” the flow”. I move all the way up my body, and by the time I get to my head, I am usually in a blissful state of humming vibration where I sense my whole body realigned, my breath deep and full and my spirit fully present.
This is a mostly physical process, I do not stop to analyze why something hurts or why something is tight, I just sense, witness and release. Needless to say, this is a great way to start the day.
I have also used this when waking up at night, times when sleep does not come easily. When I do this practice, it relaxes my mind and even if I do not fall asleep (which is rare) I go into a beautiful restful meditative space that is the next best thing, maybe even better.
This is also a great way to explore my emotional body. Inevitably, as I scan, emotions emerge. Connecting to the emotion as sensation, rather than the story behind it or the story I may create so that the sensation can be justified is extremely liberating. If I find a place in my body that feels tight and the feeling that comes from it is frustration, I go more deeply into that sensation. I use curiosity to sense more, to breathe into it, to move with. If an expression of emotions comes up, tears or laughter or sound, I go with it.
I began to bring this kind of awareness to my slower movement practices, experiential anatomy and yoga. Being in this very present state while I move, helps me release any interference in my energy fields and I can sense my connection to the larger earth and universal fields around me. If I am focused and my intention is clear, I can sense the field I am creating for my class to connect to the whole as well. And by teaching them to be in awareness, they can partake of the shared awareness field that we are creating.
What do we do in Moga? We move – sometimes in familiar yoga like postures and traditional stretches, sometimes in organic unorganized ways the emerge in the moment – we breathe, we sit in holy awareness, we shake, we use the floor and props to release tension. Every class is different and I cater it to the group that assembles for each class. Dare I say it does not really matter what we do as long as we bring clear awareness into it? Vanessa Stone, a beautiful teacher of awareness once said the it does not matter what our practice is, as long as it makes us feel more live. If it makes us feel more alive, that is our spiritual practice. More connection, more aliveness, more knowing the self through movement. That is what you will get when you come to Moga. Sweet connection to yourself.
Here is a great article about the Vagus Nerve… this is what Moga is all about. I hope to see you in class! In December 2013, Fridays at Noon at Yoga & Nia For Life, 135 Commonwealth Ave, Concord, MA.