Embodied Presence Play

A friend texted me recently with the question “What do you call your expertise?”  Two jokes escaped me instantly (both true):
“Caring too much?!”

His response: “Haha!  But seriously, what is most important for you to teach?”  Without thinking, I typed,
“Embodied Presence Play.”

It’s true.  The language doesn’t do it justice, but those three words point toward what I’ve spent my whole life cultivating, and what I’m surrendering to even as I type this now.  Each word is a world unto itself that can be explored as a riddle in any given moment.  I’ve written entire papers for school about embodiment, presence, and play, and every yoga or dance class I teach spins around and into all three hubs.  I’ll spare you the lengthy academic discourse here, and instead invite you into:

1) A simple guided visualization for entering, awakening, and focusing embodied awareness (takes 3 min)
2) A practice of 2 opposing perspectives to hold you in presence and playfulness.

1)  Guided Meditation for entering embodied awareness:
Check in with your body posture right now, and adjust it so you are comfortable and relaxed, with an erect, buoyant spine.  Soften your gaze so you can still read these words, but can also put 80% of your attention to your interior world, the inside of your skin.  Take three deep breaths, expanding your chest on the inhale, softly contracting your belly on the exhale.  Keep breathing deeply, evenly, and fully as you drop your attention down to whatever body parts are touching the floor beneath you right now.  Sense and visualize that place of body meeting earth, earth supporting body, and take 3 full breaths with your attention concentrated completely on that foundation of your physical being.

Next, move your attention like a floodlight up your legs and low body, into your belly.  Find a point a few inches below your belly button and a few inches back into your body and focus your attention there.  Imagine a mini Sun burning in this center of your belly, center of creativity and sexuality.  Imagine that it is always, already burning, concentrating your creative powers as well as energizing your creative powers.  Take three full breaths into this center of your being.

Move your attention up and into the center of your chest, the center of your subtle heart.  Visualize a second mini Sun, always and already fueling and focusing this center of connection, love and relationship in your being.  Take three full breaths into this center, acknowledging and growing this domain of your being.

Lastly, move your attention up into the center of your head, in the place behind the center of your forehead.  Imagine a third mini Sun here, always, already energizing and focusing your mental energy.  If you are foggy, let this Sun clarify your mind; if you are distracted, let it drawn you into single-pointed awareness.  Take three full breaths into this center of your being.

Open your eyes, take one more full, cleansing breath, and move gently back into your environment, with your creative, relational, and mental/visionary centers consciously lit and focused.  See how this simple attending to yourself might affect your state of being the rest of the day.

(For a more comprehensive exploration of the energetic centers of the body-mind, according to the Yogic tradition, and their corresponding psychological implications, I highly recommend the book Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith, or the course Yoga 2 at Naropa University taught by my teacher and friend Nataraja Kallio.)

2) A Practice of Holding Opposing Perspectives to encounter presence and play:
This is simple, but endlessly profound and fun.

Bring a lens to your perception of yourself and the world, as if you are putting on sunglasses.  This lens is the perspective that this is all a dream.  This moment is flowing and gone, into the next, made of vapor and extraordinary, trans-rational logic that we cannot understand except through intuition.  Treat it as such.  Hold it lightly; take risks.  This is all a dream.  There is nothing to hold onto.

Second, and simultaneously, add the lens with this perspective: This moment is the only real thing.  It is absolutely Real, and nothing else exists.  So is this next moment, and this one.  Everything I do is of utmost importance, and matters infinitely.  Be utterly attentive and utterly kind!  

That’s it: This is just a dream AND This is absolutely real.  See how these perspectives move  you, especially in your heart.

See what’s possible by entering Embodied Presence Play.
And please let me know what you find…

With humble, burning Love,
Brooke Gessay McNamara


About Brooke Gessay

Brooke is a Dance artist, student and teacher of Yoga, and ordained Zen monk. She is a lover of adventure, especially in the territories of creative process and performance, meditation, and the awakening of somatic wisdom. She teaches dance and yoga to kids and adults in Boulder, CO, and works with mentoring clients one-on-one in person and by phone and skype.

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