Sensuality and Yoga is…
…like peanut butter and chocolate. Great separately, but together an amazing, delightful and decadent combination.
First, it is important to understand the meaning of both Yoga and sensuality. “The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.” While the yoga sutras may not always use modern terminology, this is the goal of yoga – not to have an empty mind, but to focus and still the mind on one point of concentration. This is the idea of restraint, to keep bringing the mind back to the present moment and the object of concentration.
The rest of what yoga has to offer is the practice, the things we do to help calm our minds and teach it to focus. The asana or physical practice that is most often associated with modern western yoga serves two purposes. The first is to ensure the body is physically fit so that it does not distract the mind from concentration. It’s hard to be still and calm when you are in physical discomfort.
The second is that the poses provide circumstances for the mind to focus on, the exact placement of a hand or foot, the feeling of breath moving in and out, the different sensations of muscular engagement, stretches and deep relaxation.
The word sensual is defined as
“1. of or relating to any of the senses or sense organs; bodily
2. strongly or unduly inclined to gratification of the senses”
and sensuality is the expression of a sensual experience. Any time you are choosing to focus your mind on the actual experience of your senses you are engaging in sensuality. In a Yoga Flirt class this might be the physical sensations in your body, the way the air feels against your skin, noticing minute and alluring textures and temperatures you feel with not just your hands but also your feet or any exposed skin, or hearing the deep, pulsing under beat of the music.
Sensuality is often thought of in terms of sexuality and certainly can be a partner to our sex lives. Again, tuning into the feel and taste of a kiss, the weight of our partners body against ours, and the sound of vocalizations are all experienced through the senses.
A true sensual experience requires a still and focused mind. Unless our mind is completely engaged in the present moment we will not fully experience our senses. How many times have you not heard what was being said, didn’t taste the meal you just rushed through, or not noticed how soft your own skin is?
Yoga is like peanut butter – nutritious, grounding, and requiring focus to get off the roof of your mouth. Yoga focuses the mind. Pole dancing is like chocolate – decadent, delicious and a pure treat to be enjoyed with the sense of smell and taste. Pole dancing gives the mind a sensual experience to focus on. Alone they are fabulous, together they compliment each other in an explosion that draws you in and captivates your attention.
Not peanut butter or chocolate. Peanut butter AND chocolate. Not yoga or pole dancing. Yoga AND pole dancing. A still, calm, focused mind AND a sensual experience.
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