"The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind" - Caroline Myss
Hello beautiful goddess.
This week, I would like to share a story with you from my experience of learning to let go and trust my body.
When I was undertaking my Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching at Nature Care College, one of the last subjects we were required to complete was a Yogic Cleansing Retreat. My class and I went away for the weekend with our teachers and immersed ourselves in yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic (traditional Indian medicine) cleansing practices.
My peers were quite content and looking forward to time out from their lives. When it came to the cleansing practices however, that was quite another story! For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, let me tell you, they usually involve the gentle insertion or expelling of liquids or cloth into and out of the body... This concept is pretty foreign for us in Western society!
The practice that concerned most people was Lagoo Shankhaprakshalana (Short Intestinal Cleansing).
"Shanka" means conch and "prakshalana" means cleaning out. The ancient yogis compared the digestive system as being like a conch, a long spiraled passageway through which food traveled. To clean out the whole digestive system from mouth to anus, they created a simple method.
It involves drinking one and a half liters of lukewarm salt water and then doing specific Yoga postures. This increases the speed of digestive movements and opens gently the valves of the digestive tract, one by one, so the water can flow freely through the system. This then squeezes out the toxic rests that tend to get trapped in the intestines and flushes all the built up waste out of the body.
My sincere apologies if you are reading this post over lunch! Going into the practice, it was very interesting to gently observe everyone's reactions, ranging from fear all the way to love. I for one was very much in the love spectrum. At the time, I was still reluctantly moving from a place of parties and bars to the (mostly) centred space where I find myself today. So I thought - if I can skull pints of beer, surely 6 glasses of salty water is no problem. This is the way I approached the whole task - "this is no problem". I drank each one down, lovingly ladled out by my dear mentor Fabio, eager to move on to the next and not get caught up in the detail. It was at this point that I also let go of observing others, and focused on what was to come (out of me).
After the drinking was over, we moved on to the yoga hall and flowed in and out of the specified postures. I could feel the water winding its way around my system, and it was encouraging to connect with my body and the process. I kept reminding myself, what do I have to lose? If this works, then I cleanse myself of a whole lot of gunk. If it doesn't, then I've just drunk a tonne of salty water, and will probably get rid of a whole lot of gunk anyway!
Once the postures were complete, it was time to wait...
Thank goodness the venue had enough toilets for all of us, as this reduced one aspect of the potential anxiety! I won't fill you in on many more details (I think I've given you enough already), but needless to say it worked like a charm. I felt as though what came out of me was not only physical, but emotional as well. So much anger, resentment, sadness, grief and anxiety that I had been carrying around with me had now been cast out. And mostly because I had approached the experience with the curiosity of a child.
Our bodies are incredible healers if we learn to work with them, rather than against them. As mentioned in the opening quote, it is usually the mind that gets in the way, with the "what if's", "when" and "why me".
Trust your body, beautiful goddess, release all sense of fear and begin to slowly expand from a place of openness.
I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Have you ever been on a retreat and tried some "unusual" techniques? Or was there an experience where your body showed you just how smart it was once you decided to let go of control?