So, my computer has officially died it’s day. This is my first attempt at updating my blog through my iPhone… Let’s see how it goes!!
Years back, when I spent some time living at the Bihar School of Yoga in India, I realised something that proved incredibly helpful… i discovered that I learn Through movement, sound and rhythm.
During the years I spent at school, I would frequently become stressed during exams and assignments, trying to take in information through reading. My head would swirl, the words would jump out at me and I would often feel defeated internally.
Despite this, I managed to do pretty well at school. I must have had some intuitive sense of how i absorb information because, when studying for my exams, I would learn all the potential essay answers to song from my favourite musicals at the time (yes, I loved musicals!!!), and I studied for the more fact based exams by rhythmically jumping and skipping round the house, sometimes clapping along, while reciting mathematical equations, anatomical information, musical theory and historical fact.
I hope some good (perhaps giggle worthy) imagery is coming up for you here! 😉
Through doing this I was able to retain enough information to pass my exams with good grades. And I wonder if this kind of learning had been greater promoted with greater consistency while I was at school, if my experience there would have been less stressful and more fluid, playful and fun! Wow, just imagine if learning were fun!!!
And indeed it is for many children, and indeed adults, who attend educational institutions who focus on serving the creative unfolding of each being… Whether that be through scientific, numerological, movement or arts based learning. Creativity is certainly not limited to the arts. Life itself is an art!
So, as you can imagine, yoga worked for me. When I was living in the ashram we hardly read any books. The emphasis was on experiential absorption of the teachings that were relevant to each of us. Through being there, drinking the experience in, I somehow walked away from it with a whole load of knowledge that I wasn’t quite sure where it had come from!!
It helped that this particular ashram has an incredibly holistic approach to yoga. The emphasis was not at all on stretching, although that was a small part of it. We turned towards seeing yoga from many angles and this appealed to me a lot since I grater resinate with yoga as a deep, authentic and intimate relationship with life more than I do so with it being solely about the improvement of physical finesse (although, feeling happy and healthy in the body is important. It’s just that there isn’t any ‘one way’ that that looks or feels – as can seem to be propagated by many modern approaches to yoga asana. It can be much like how beauty is portrayed on magazine covers – air brushed – and this unattainable idea of ‘perfection’ can become a subtle and aggressive goal in our physical practice – and this creates separation and subtle waves of inner tension, an outward portrayal of balance, finesse and detachment while the inner world is crumbling. Setting these two polarities apart, inwardly and outwardly, it can become harder to appreciate and embrace the whole that contains them both).
so, I was talking about learning!
It was a great relief to realise there were other ways of taking in knowledge. For me, I like to feel it. In my cells. Ok so it’s not like that for everything. Scientific, fact based learning is a little less cellular for me. But learning it with rhythm and with movement are good ways to help me remember. And this applied to learning that involves meaning, well this lands in my cells with a much greater felt sense. For me, it makes like rich. To feel life as I walk through it. To continuously enhance my relationship with my body through this connection to life brings great discernment and clarity in decision making (when I apply it!!! Sometimes I forget 🙂 ).
And what I really wanted to share with you is this great talk I listened to while practicing yoga this morning. I find that, during my practice, because I am applying the receptivity skills that I know work for me, inspiration such as appears in this talk really lands in the cells of my body, becomes embodied.
I love what Tim Freke says about the ‘both and’ approach and about embracing paradox. If you have time to listen to this talk, I highly recommend!
And here’s an open invitation to fully embrace the way that you learn so that it can be fun and playful for you too!