I remember teasing Dr. T. several weeks ago. I poked at him, “Why would anybody want to learn about the MPC?” He rolled his eyes, laughed at me (as he usually does) and then sighed and spoke. He said with a coy smile on his face, “Robyn, this lecture will change your life! It will allow you to understand what you teach more fully. Robyn, you will come to love the MPC!”
So here I am a few days after his lecture, “The Amazing MPC” and I must admit … he was right. The MPC is amazing. More amazing than I gave him credit for. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that so much of what I teach as a mindful movement teacher and advocate originates in the MPC. The MPC lies in the epi-center of the brain and is where awareness is born. I now have a better understanding of how the MPC is an integral part of my daily yoga practice, my teaching and learning.
A mindful yoga practice accesses the MPC is so many ways. I have explained to my students in the past, that I try to approach teaching by looking at the movement from many angles. I speak about “coming in the back door” to wake up a different part of the body. This is true of the MPC. We access the power of the MPC in unique ways during a mindful yoga practice. To me this is fascinating and exciting!
We begin our yoga practice usually on the floor in shivasana. This is a time where we give ourselves the space to transition away from a busy day and move towards an environment which is more quiet and even. While we settle in shivasana we begin to focus on the ground, the body and the breath. The breath feels round. It moves in, it moves out. It is a lullaby. It soothes and calms the nervous systems. The breath begins to regulate the body. Dr. T. explained in his lecture that there is no health without body regulation. This is the first function of the MPC … body regulation.
As we settle deeper into shivasana, we begin to bring an intentional attention to our body through a body scan or conscious softening. Through this practice we invite the MPC to “come online.”
Many of us know that there are days when we move through a yoga practice with no awareness or connection to our body or breath. A busy brain can easily hijack a yoga practice and then the practice quickly becomes nothing more than exercise.
When we are working mindfully and deeply our internal attunement is made active while observing and feeling the body. While connecting to moment by moment sensations, we encourage a level of openness in our awareness which is free of judgement or expectations. Our quiet, inner intelligence in our own self becomes stronger and more trusted. We slowly develop our own “me maps.” As our practice and connection to self deepens, we realize that we will never really understand the mystery of our body and that becomes enough. In a mindful practice, we welcome the mystery just as we learn to welcome each unknown moment.
A mindful yoga practice is a breeding ground of empathy for the self and for the outside world. We are able to move beyond our selves and think about the greater social group. No longer islands in ourselves, an interconnected relationship to the world expands and multiplies. The practice of mindfulness is no longer an individual practice. Connection to community, environment and the world extends far beyond the yoga mats. We develop strong “you maps” and “we maps”
Yoga is so much more than a set of exercises or shapes or postures. For me, the yoga postures have become a set of tools that I use as a pipeline to a deeper awareness and respect for my self and others.
Dr. T. smiled at me that day with an existing understanding of the power of the MPC. He knew that with this acquired knowledge , the shape and understanding of my practice will intensify. And that, could very well change my life!
Originally posted on Mindful She, Mindful He