May 17, 2015 Union Yoga

Finding Growth in a Greater Dimension of Consciousness

Growth NOUN
The process of increasing in physical size

Personal growth. Physical growth. Spiritual growth. Professional growth. Emotional growth. Financial growth. Psychological growth….GROWTH. We hear it all the time. But what does it really mean to grow? How do we measure the more esoteric interpretations of growth? To what extent do we participate in the evolution of our own human development? Some of it seems natural. And then some of it seems selective.

Selective. Intentional. On purpose. Moving towards verses sitting idle.

“Growth has to have a selective life.”—Osho

My whole life I have had a mindful movement practice. I’ve danced for 28 years, and have practiced yoga for 13 years. Dance and yoga have always been something I do where I can easily drop in, be embodied and be in the present moment. This sort of moving meditation has been an integral part of my growth as an individual. I notice my growth most profoundly in the studio when I set an intention, met my challenges and paid attention the experience by being in the moment.

The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness. –Lao Tzu

Depression, anxiety, and negative self talk were all things that I struggled with growing up and they had a major impact on my life as a young adult. It wasn’t until I developed a yoga practice that I truly understood how being present mattered to my growth.

Studies have shown that when we are in the present moment, we are less likely to experience stress, low mood and anxiety. Both research and my personal experience have shown this to be true. It is because anxious, stressful and depressive thoughts and sensations develop from negative self talk, rumination, catastrophizing, analytical concern and obsession from the past or for the future. There is no way to be present when we are existing in what was and what will be. We, as human beings, do not yet have the power to do anything about either and yet we spend a lot of time existing in those spaces hoping to overpower what isn’t currently occurring.

We sometimes see growth and maturation when we have to go through something hard; when we have overcome an adversary. Growth also happens when we change a behavior in our life that it is no longer working for us and when we create new behaviors that do work for us.

I’ve experienced growth in many ways through movement. This practice of being in the moment through movement has treated my depression and anxiety as well as built confidence and a healthy self-esteem. It’s very powerful and profound to see how my own physical limitations have been confronted through challenging what is possible with my mind.

Growth happens when we move from one stage to the next. The practice of being in the moment through the medium of a movement or yoga class is where I see true integration through the work of the mind body relationship. When we ask our bodies to do something that we haven’t done before, there is an opportunity to refuse, resist or risk. On those days we feel like taking a risk (attempting that handstand or some other challenging pose), we see and experience growth in that moment. We also continue to build the muscle for even more growth.

On May 16th, I have the honor to integrate mindfulness and movement in a workshop offered at Union Yoga. It will be a 2 hour experience for yogis, dancers and non-dancers to learn how to achieve growth through exploration and embodied movement off the mat. I designed this workshop around the mechanics of how taking risks in the moment yield rapid physical growth.

Grow with us at Union Yoga this month. Try out a new class or sign up for a workshop.

Nkechi Njaka