Three generations of yoga: Rani George, center, meditates with mother and daughter.
By Rani George
For the last three years, my daughter Anjuli and I have been offering a monthly workshop to explore the weaving of yoga with Family and Systemic Constellations.
As yoga teachers, we are grateful for the grounding that this connection to our Indian heritage provides. As Constellation facilitators, we are deeply conscious of the gift of working together as mother and daughter. We acknowledge my mother Mercy’s lifelong daily meditation and yoga practice, which often included her curious children and grandchildren, as sacred ground for our learning.
Through yoga, we have both experienced the deep joy of awareness and presence in our bodies. Asana, the poses which are only one of the many aspects of yoga, is focused predominantly on the body. Devotional chant can open the heart and allow expression of deeply held emotions. The poses and the chanting are designed to prepare the student for deep meditation.
In the yoga lineage of my training, it is believed that the mind can block true perception and experience. Through meditation, you can experience the truth of your Self as divine presence and you honor the world as an amazing and beautiful expression of the One. This is non-dual consciousness.
This has been great preparation for working in the Knowing Field, as it is called in Family and Systemic Constellations. The importance of being deeply present in the body, aware of arising sensations and emotions, and of honoring the deep wisdom of our own intuition and perceptions is held by both disciplines. We have found this preparation to be equally useful for the facilitator, the client, the representatives and for those holding space during a constellation. We use a varied combination of asana, chanting, breath work, and meditation to open and ready ourselves to access the healing wisdom of the Field.
At a monthly gathering early this year, we noticed during the opening round of sharing that the political situation needed to be acknowledged. Feelings of fear, anger, confusion, and disbelief filled the space.
Most prominent was the frustration at not knowing what to “do.” Using all the above-mentioned practices, we centered ourselves as individuals and as a group. We decided to forego traditional individual constellation sessions and try a different exercise. We went around the circle and asked each one present to offer at least one suggestion for a possible action to be taken.
Here are a few suggestions that were mentioned:
We had eight pillows scattered throughout the space. I proceeded to write each of these statements on a piece of paper and placed each paper under a pillow so it couldn’t be seen.
I asked the group to be in touch with their bodies and emotions and follow their movements with regard to the pillows. We spent about a half an hour engaging with each other and the pillows.
Some appeared to feel repulsion or fear when approaching a particular pillow. Sometimes it was a sense of being drawn to one very powerfully and just staying with it. Others wandered around to experience the nuances of emotion and body response to each pillow until it became clear which one had the most pull.
At some point, the activity ceased and each person was in the proximity of one of the pillows. Some standing on one, some lying down and hugging it, some clearly connected to two at the same time or two people connected to the same pillow.
We then read the words under each pillow and shared with the group. We not only read out loud the one we ended up with but also shared our remembered responses to some of the others we did not choose. It was fascinating for each of us to see where we were led and to see how we had responded to ones that we did not choose.
One participant felt that she didn’t want the pillow that she was near but that she was meant to be there and then felt her grandmother tapping her on the shoulder to say “You can do this!”
Most participants felt a marked decrease in general anxiety and increased comfort at having one action to take that felt directed by the body’s inner wisdom.
This activity could easily be done in small groups or even individually to give some guidance and direction during these times. It was a great opportunity to explore ways to move forward in a non-divisive way – a good reminder of the importance of the 2017 North American Systemic Constellations Conference theme, which is "Bridging the Divide: Healing the Personal and Collective Soul."
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