Freeing our Identity Beyond Body
I know how entangled our identity can get with our bodies. There’s so much suffering associated with confusing our bodies for who we are. There is also a bizarre social fusion that simultaneously objectifies the body, inviting us to idolize particular body shapes, AND on the other hand tells us to hide our bodies as though to apologize for our physical existence.
Sometimes over identifying with our physical experience and physical appearance can compound problems into serious disorders. These disorders can be associated with depression, anxiety or unhealthy ways of seeing and experiencing ourselves, such as eating disorders, distain for our physical appearance, or anger/frustration/disappointment in the performance of our bodies. I’d like to honor these struggles and encourage us to offer support to each other into greater health, joy, and compassionate love.
PLEASE NOTE: Lila Yoga Studio in State College, PA USA is hosting EAT BREATH THRIVE: YOGA. FOOD. BODY IMAGE INTENSIVE WEEKEND WORKSHOP NOV 11-13, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/events/263795613986898/
Wouldn’t it be lovely to simply honor our physical existence by taking care of our bodies without over identifying with them as who we are? I’m inspired to invite us all to free and feed the inner joyous love within each of us.
In yoga this creative cosmic life force is called Lila and the energy itself is called prana. I’m declaring a Lila Yoga Revolution where we move beyond the perceived parameters to celebrate the sanctity of life with joyous love!
I’m going to share with you a personal journey that led me to know with pure heart wisdom that life is precious and not defined by physical experiences or appearances. Why live within false parameters? I want to dare myself and you to be radiant and respectfully free—soaring into generosity of spirit and wishing for everyone the same… That is the Lila Yoga way.
Each of us has a journey. It is my hope that by sharing some of mine history with you, it might encourage you too to see if there is room within your life to love more and free yourself more from any suffering that might be associated with your body.
People who knew me as a young child always remind me of what they saw. They saw a seriously ill child. They saw my severe debilitating eczema and asthma. It’s always odd for me to hear this because my memory is of a great childhood with a happy spirit.
52 years ago a strong spirit was ready to be released into this world. My vibrant spirit arrived into a one month premature body of pain.
Skin literally like leather, the body lived in dissonance, rejecting all food and finally subsisting on rice milk. Living in a body of discomfort, my spirit was joyous in the loving hands of a caring family, never confusing the weak body as me. Beyond sickly oozing skin and wheezing breaths, my family saw me clearly and treated my spirit with love and joy.
My spirit pushed me to dance in odd ways, free of any known convention—I moved my body to express my inner curiosities, passion, and energy. Luckily my family encouraged me and even praised my odd ways. By age 6 I declared that I would be a dancer. Never bound by my scrawny weak body, I had a kind imagination and knew an inner wealth.
My physical illness continued to assert its presence, often resulting in a wish for a different body—a difference vehicle of existence. I would fantasize of escaping and moving beyond my body and it’s extraordinarily debilitating system, to a place where I could move without damaging my skin and breathe freely to allow the flight I felt within.
At age nine my mother changed my life by introducing me to yoga.
We practiced regularly with a few asanas, pranayama, positive visualization, relaxation and meditation. For the first time in my life I had the tools of unity/yoga and I felt at hOMe. My mother and I continued to practice and our yoga gave me coping skills that allowed me to not bind my very real physical discomfort with my identity.
By age 14 and puberty my body fully irrupted so that my skin would stick to sheets and clothing. Each morning my mother patiently applied warm wet compresses to carefully separate my skin from the fabric. With raw full body open wounds, I was hospitalized for 9 1/2 weeks.
Upon my return home I was blessed to meet Dr. Clayton McCracken. He too was interested in meditation and systems to slow my heart rate and my
breathing. We worked together for years. He and my mother and my loving creative family are my teachers.
Although my physical illness continued, my yoga skills grew more powerful and helpful. I always knew a joyous passionate daring love, but now I had a system, the ancient science of yoga that now supported this clarity.
I willfully continued to practice, weaving my creative spirit with the blessings of yoga.
Soon through my explorations in yoga, I discover the amazing power of prana and my yoga practice was
transformed into a cosmic energy dance freeing my soul to fly. The cosmic inter-play of prana within the yoga practice is the hallmark of what is now known as Lila Yoga.
Now my skin and breath are calm. And although legally blind due to the same disorder, my third eye guides me with clarity.
I am blessed with the most amazing husband and two magnificent daughters out there in the world learning, testing, and contributing their unique talents. They too live in a body of physical resistance, but they too are learning to fly beyond boarders. Blessings Abound—truly, but we must quiet and calm our in order to know truth…this magnificence.
WE ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN OUR BODIES.
I know first hand some of the extreme pains of illness and I also know the worthiness of transcendence. WE MUST LEARN TO LOVE & RESPECT OUR BODY REGARDLESS OF ITS CONDITION. For it is our means of existence in this world.
I respect fully acknowledge our individual body struggles and invite us all to look beyond the immediacy of these identities… to know that we are surrounded by extraordinary blessings and an invitation to live our lives with joyous love.
With a peaceful heart, I bow to life “le’ chaim” and rise, with you into the blessing of a new day.
Lila Yoga infuses our yoga postures and our lives with prana.
OM SHANTHI ~Erica
REMEMBER: Lila Yoga is hosting EAT BREATH THRIVE: YOGA. FOOD. BODY IMAGE INTENSIVE WEEKEND WORKSHOP NOV 11-13. Body image can be a real struggle at times. It can lead to truly harmful disorders. These struggles are very common. I am interested in providing a safe and helpful place to address these concerns. If you or someone you know suffers or is simply interested in the subject, please sign up now. Feel free to call us.
Very well written. I did notice a few misspelled words, so I will have to give you an A-.