Why You Love Yoga So Damn Much (hint: it’s not the pretty leggings)

Sep 20, 2016

Why You Love Yoga | www.nalumana.com

I have become a floating head.


And so have you, in all likelihood.

As have most of the people around us.

Our world has become more bountiful with information, images, and ideas than we could have ever imagined.  Every waking moment promises a maelstrom of concepts to engage with.  We lead frantically busy lives.  “Busy” has become a valued commodity in our interactions with others:  something we complain about and yet secretly relish.  It’s a way of life most of us don’t know who we are without.

And so:  the floating head.  We are so consumed by what’s going on between our ears that we have little concept of our own bodies.


The athletes, massage therapists, and yogis that I know tell me that they are shocked when they meet people who simply cannot access the feelings and signals their bodies are offering up.

There are a great many of us who experience pain or discomfort or nausea or anxiety on a regular basis, but who are so cut off from our own bodies that we don’t actually feel those feelings until they have disappeared somehow.

Our bodies are so miraculous:  they hold all of our wisdom, and they put up with all of our shit.  Gut feelings, tummy flutters, heart flip flops, chest constrictions, and toe curls are universally recognized signals from our bodies about whatever we are being confronted with in our lives.  And there are places in our bodies that bear the brunt of our day-to-day trials and tribulations:  the hips hold massive amounts of emotion, for example, and the shoulders and chest tell a tale about love and confidence.

But then there’s yoga class.  Yoga – breath and movement intertwined – is the way in, the access point, for many of us, to the messages our body is desperately trying to send.

Anyone who has ever hit the floor in child’s pose and started to cry, or felt almost queasy with vulnerability in camel post knows what I’m talking about.

Yoga offers up a state of presence within our physical being – or, as Martha Beck so lovingly refers to our bodies in her brilliant new book, Diana, Herself, our “meat-selves” – that most of us simply don’t access on a regular basis.  And so, perhaps more so than the fancy leggings, yoga is so alluring because it is a medicine for the mind-body connection; an access point for you to actually feel all the feels.

And though it can feel vulnerable or challenging and bring up resistance at times, yoga allows you to stretch deeply into alignment – into a state of deeper knowing that is informed by the wisest Source available to you:  your legging-clad meat-self.

What about you?  Does yoga act as an access point for hearing the messages your body is sending?  If not, do you have a practice that does offer you that?

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!