Witnessing the River and Being With the Unknown: Feminine Energy in Yoga Practice

Sometimes we need to take stillness like we take medicine. It can taste awful, but it's good for us.

It's a moon, feminine energy that we can be very unfamiliar with, in a world where strong action is celebrated in any form, and we constantly seek the known, be with the known and knowable. That's hard in these times, where COVID forces us to be with the unknowable, the uncertain, the constantly shifting.

We look at statistics, at numbers and laws - all knowable. The actions that are taken in an attempt to flatten the curve are knowable. But still, in this is so much uncertainty and so much unknown, and that can make us anxious, feeling as if we are struggling to maintain any control in our lives.

In yoga practice, we are taught to be with the unknown. It's a beautiful thing to be a witness to the river, not having to do anything, but just to be with what is. We don't have to fix anything. We don't have to change anything. That's not the yoga. It's not getting fitter, healthier, slimmer, more flexible - it's about simply be-ing. The river flows, and we observe it, watching any sensations arise within our field of awareness.

It's interesting, being in this stillness of non-action. At times, sitting in an asana or a meditative seat, I want to do anything but - the sensations can be so strong that I it is the sun that rises in me - the shadowy part of the sun whose action is translated into running, avoidance. But there she is, too, the brave moon. To sit in stillness and darkness and observe the moonlit river, sometimes slow and silky, sometimes roaring and taking everything with it in it's path, is the art of yoga. There is no need to control the river. The river will always flow. We simply witness it.


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And so I sit here in my yoga room on this cold, dark Victorian night and I relish the stillness, the quiet moon energy that I lean into. The zoom class I check into - run by one of my yoga teachers who I admire - is always quiet, slow and soft on Monday nights. I like a guided practice to balance out my own self guided practice - it helps me focus. I particular like Chris's flow. Rather than heated, fast vinyasa, it's a more mindful practice of fluidity and listening, of calm and sensual movement whilst witnessing the arising of sensations in the field of awareness.

I appreciate so much the lunar, feminine energy that speaks to me in this space. He is a good teacher, and aware that like him, we are finding it hard in these times to feel much control over anything - many of us are exhausted, anxious, frustrated and fed up. His sequences are deep listening sequences, close to the ground, moon sequences, forward folds and pranyama.

Lying in savasana, after an hour of attending to listening and the tumultuous, sunlit river that has been threading itself through my day, I finally properly feel it again, this knowledge of the river lit by the moon. All this craziness out there can just flow - it is just what is. I feel in deep in my bones, in my cells. We cannot know, but must rest into that uncertainty and unknowingness, and there is a beautiful comfort in that. I can witness the shadows on the water, the branches floating downstream, the licking of waves on the shore, the cold and clear water, the things beneath, and just be without needing to know, or do.

And from that quiet, soft and gentle space, I can gather strength for the sunrise, and what comes next.

This week I'm exploring the Sacred or Divine feminine, and this is my first post holding space for this energy. I'm not sure where to start writing, as there is so much to explore, but this is a good a place as any. If you'd like to enquire into feminine energy in your life and how it might be manifesting, or how it is an important part of your life - or should be - check out the challenge on the @naturalmedicine blog this week.

With Love,

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To simply be the watcher is such a grace - and whatever name you need to give to that energy, it is timeless, sacred and beyond words. It is the deep silence and the bright light, at the same time. Both are observers, watchers and witnesses. And the river? it is neither, and both. And perfect without having to choose.

Forget about the brave moon - LOL - yoga in the cold is a heroic and utterly brave act!!

Hahah! It is, yes. I do turn the heater on for half an hour before I even go into the yoga room! Brrr. That room is an icebox!

I felt at peace just reading this post @riverflows.

We need to come vibe with you. Our Monday evenings our generally spent yelling at our landlord's dog to shut up as we try enjoy a meal outside. Sometimes they bark so long and loud I actually forget what I was doing or saying.

Oh no that really sucks. Have you tried talking to the dog? Is it over a fence our in the yard with you. I imagine it thinks it's doing a good job - and that yelling makes it worse.

Unfortunately, they are chained up right next to our windows. I think the main issue is they're underfed and untrained, and we don't have the time or resources to take care of them, nor is it our responsibility.

Sometimes though, when I'm in the middle of an online lesson, it appears very unprofessional to be interrupted by 5 minutes of barking. Sometimes we boil over, but for the most part we try to remain zen.

They just bark obsessively at anything that moves, always on short chains, not much human interaction, just a lot of negative circumstances. But sometimes I listen to nature sounds on my phone at night to block it out.

Tonight I'm gonna try some river flowing sounds though after reading this post. I can hear the water now.

That's awful - I know how bad dog barks can be when you are trying to do anything. I've lived with, and next to, barking dogs for a while. Sounds like they are really unhappy and need attention for sure and I'm sorry you don't have the time or resources to help them out. Are you ever tempted just to unleash them and open the gate and say 'someone stole your dogs?'?

Wow, wonderful.

This is a post of encouragement of peace. read you is to take a powerful journey into the calm.

Thanks so much! I felt calm as I wrote it. It's a beautiful space to drop into.

I appreciate your words.

When I meditate I always remember to be thankful for the mystery too. Be thankful for all the things that I don't understand or I can't control.

We don't have to either. I'm glad that we can sit - sometimes, in the unknown and be calm. ♥️♥️

Beautiful. I can feel the stillness and calm, just by reading your words.

I am trying my best to focus on non-doing myself lately but for different reasons ( as talked about in my latest write up ).

Gonna stare at the moon and stars some more and then it's time to sleep, rest and dream and wake up to another day

Much love! ✨

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