Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the
frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but
get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not
philosophy. This is physics. Albert Einstein
Prior to practicing yoga, I had a very superficial understanding of energy. Either I had it, or I didn’t. For me, it was a felt sensation in my body signalling how invigorated or deflated I judged myself to be in that moment.
Many years ago, during a Reiki session, the practitioner working on me asked if I could feel energy moving in my body. I was puzzled by her question and instead answered, “What I feel is tingling in my feet.” “That’s energy,” was her reply, “you feel it when it moves.”
In fact energy, or prana as yogis refer to it, permeates every aspect of experience—physical sensations, thoughts, emotions, sex, food, attention/awareness—and impacts our experience of life. As an example, we often associate low levels of energy with sadness, boredom, fatigue and depression. While higher levels of energy are often perceived as more positive—inspired, happy, creative and invigorated. Typically, higher levels of energy when corresponding with higher levels of awareness—that is, reduced distraction and increased clarity—enable us to penetrate deeper levels of our own experience and further our understanding.
Unfortunately, as Henry Ford so aptly stated, “Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.” Contemplate for a moment the amount of energy we could amass by merely letting go of negativity and resistance. The presence of either is a clear signal our consciousness is approaching one of our deeply held, response patterns wherein our energy is blocked or stuck.
Meditation and asana (posture) practices move energy redistributing it in the body in order to create balance. In this way, previously trapped energy (deeply held patterns of behaviours and/or beliefs) can be released which is why some people shed tears or feel anger, etc. during a yoga practice. Frankly, this is the purpose of asana and meditation—to calm the body, breath and mind of distractions and free our awareness to experience our unconscious patterns. In all likelihood, these patterns are at the source of challenges in our daily living but we have been unaware of their existence. In essence, we have been unaware of the imbalance of energy within us. Now that we are aware, we can choose to move toward a more balanced state by leaning into and experiencing what has previously remained hidden.
When you practice meditation, or any discipline that requires attention,
you inevitably transform energy. Ken McLeod
McLeod offers the following 5-step mindfulness meditation as a means of opening one’s awareness to redistribute and transform energy (i.e., challenging emotions, pain or problems).
• Breathing in I feel this emotion/pain/problem / Breathing out I feel this emotion
• Breathing in I feel the reactions to this emotion / Breathing out I feel the reactions to this emotion
• Breathing in I feel calm in this emotion / Breathing out I feel calm in this emotion
• Breathing in I feel at ease in this emotion / Breathing out I feel at ease in this emotion
• Breathing in I understand/know how this emotion arises / Breathing out I understand how this emotion arises
As is implied in the process above, direct experience precedes understanding, neither of which we can rush or predict. Gently leaning into the challenging energy, rather than avoiding or actively suppressing it, begins the process of unblocking those areas in the body where energy is unable to flow. What we know for certain is the body’s wisdom—our intuition—will spontaneously show us what we need to understand in order to shift and balance (transform) our energy.
How we each experience energy transformation not only varies from person to person but within one person from day to day. A multitude of positive or negative sensations, emotions and thoughts may arise without an obvious reason. Nonetheless, the fact they arose indicates energy is being released from old patterns, and once it finds balance, you are likely to find yourself operating at a higher level of both energy and awareness.
So, simply put but not so easily implemented, all we need for balance and wellness is to take our awareness within and pay attention to our bodily sensations, the rhythms of our breath and the activity of our mind. These three inner experiences, when studied for the purpose of wellbeing, will light our pathway to that end.
For more on moving, shifting and transforming energy, click here.