Yoga has countless advantages, from the material to the metaphysical and everywhere. What makes yoga so special if there are other ways to improve flexibility and muscle strength? Yoga differs from other mindfulness or movement-based practises because it enables one to connect to intuition, the body’s incredible, built-in wisdom.
Connecting with your body, listening to its cues, and acting on them to determine the duration, style, and intensity of your preferred movement is the essence of intuitive movement. By focusing on the present moment regardless of what you’re doing, intuitive movement is a form of mindfulness.
What Is “Intuitive Movement”?
Movements with a clear rationale but without a rigorous set of constraints are what I call “intuitive,” which is not a specific phrase or trademark. Upon arising, stretch your arms, wiggle around a bit to locate a small peak, and settle back down.
In most cases, that’s what it takes to strike a pose or engage a particular muscle. Though the goal is physical awakening, the process is intuitive since the underlying motivation is mental.
If we give them more thought, many of the motions we perform automatically can improve our strength, flexibility, mobility, and general well-being.
How Yoga Might Incorporate Intuitive Movement
Putting a Cat/Cow sequence on autopilot is a simple example of intuitive motion. Adding a 360-degree rotation to Cat/Cow’s already impressive range. The next step could be incorporating head and tail awareness into play with spinal motions. Moving from an extended to a reverse warrior position is an example of the flowing sequence seen in vinyasa practises.
You can’t be as “careful” about your alignment in this motion flow as you would be in a still position. You can get a better feel for the motion if you experiment with both a “push” and a “swing” across space. Intuitive movement modifications include making circular motions, isolating certain joints, and pedalling the feet in Downward Dog. Care and focus are crucial components of such actions.
Intuitive Yoga: Paying Attention To What Your Body Needs
In the heart of traditional practice, adopting yoga postures and exercises can greatly enhance one’s intuition and deepen the connection between the mind and body. Before starting, it’s beneficial to ground oneself with breathing techniques and meditation. Here are some curated exercises and postures to inspire your journey:
Nasal Alternation Breathing
Sit comfortably in a chair, ensuring your feet are flat against the ground. Gently close your eyes. Unite your thumb and forefinger and let them rest on the left thigh, palm facing upwards. The right index and middle fingers should touch the third eye region, between the eyebrows.
Procedure: Seal the right nostril using your thumb and inhale deeply through the left nostril, counting to six. Following this, exhale for six counts through the right nostril, having sealed the left during inhalation. Pause briefly after exhaling. Now, breathe in through the right nostril, and after sealing it off with the thumb, exhale from the left. This completes one cycle; strive for at least six such cycles.
With eyes shut, allow your right thumb and forefinger to meet atop the left thigh, palm skyward. Mirror this with the left thumb and forefinger on the right thigh, palm facing the earth. Maintain an erect posture and embrace the flow of thoughts for about five minutes.
Elevated Head Pose
Begin by placing your elbows beneath your shoulders, forearms resting on the ground. Interweave your fingers, keeping the elbows steadfastly under the shoulders. The crown of your head should lightly touch the ground, cradled by interlocked hands.
Avoid exerting undue pressure on the neck. Elevate your knees, pushing through your forearms. Gradually draw your hips in line with the shoulders. You may either keep this stance or raise your legs skywards. If unaccustomed to this pose, opt for a broad-legged forward bend. Maintain for 10-25 breaths, concluding with a restful Child’s Pose.
Embracing the Knees
Whilst seated, enfold your legs, pulling the knees close to your chest. Rest your chin atop your knees, eyes closed. Concentrate on your heart’s centre, taking 5-10 introspective breaths.
Position one shin on the mat, striving for a right angle with the floor. Extend the other leg straight behind. Lean forward, resting the torso atop the front shin. Employ a cushion for added comfort if needed. Hold the pose for ten breaths, then swap sides.
Begin by lunging forward, directing the front foot’s toes to the mat’s top corner, while the rear foot’s toes point to the mat’s upper left. Starting from a seated posture, elevate into Warrior One. Extend the front foot sideways whilst intertwining your hands behind. Inhale, broadening the chest; exhale, folding inward. After five breaths, alternate sides.
Stand with feet joined at either end of your mat. Bend your knees deeply and stretch your arms overhead. As you breathe in, join your palms at the heart; exhale and twist rightward, left arm outside the right thigh. Switch after five breaths, perhaps interspersing with a forward bend for relief.
Transitioning from Downward-Facing Dog, stride forward and align both hands inside your front foot. Activate the rear leg and elevate the hips. Lower the forearms if flexibility permits. Soften the pose by resting the rear knee. After 5-10 breaths, switch.
From Downward-Facing Dog, step forward and lower the back knee. Join your hands behind, drawing them close without straining. To diversify the backbend sensation, arch the chest skywards. Hold for 5-10 breaths, adjusting the hand grip when alternating sides.
Lie on the mat, stomach facing up and arms outstretched, palms to the sky. Rest your forehead on the mat and take 5-10 deep breaths, releasing barriers to intuitive connection.
Benefits Of Intuitive Movement
Humans were not built to do actions in a mechanically consistent manner. Our forefathers and mothers needed carpeted floors or perfectly level stairways. They dug, crawled, and carried while navigating rocks and roots, ascending and descending mountains and trees, picking fruit from branches, and so on. Adaptability and even growth are built into our system’s framework. Movements that come naturally reflect that diversity. Each yoga session or physical practice is unique, rather than following a routine.
Muscles grow more dynamically in response to the ever-changing difficulties they face. Repeating the same motions builds strength, but only along that motion. Many yoga practitioners can master chaturanga but struggle with wide-arm push-ups. There’s no need to limit your shoulder exercises to just one range of motion; doing so would be counterproductive.
Natural bendiness in yogis can be deceptive because it masks areas of immobility. Movement in the spine can be dominated by more mobile regions, sparing the less mobile facet joints. A deep side bend may move the spine’s joints significantly, but my body engages more range of motion in the hip and hamstring.
Many more joints will be activated and challenged by the innate practice of side bending (bringing one hand down towards your knee, extending up and over at varied angles, looping from side bend towards diagonals or forward bends). Your spine can now side bend at various angles because of these exercises. If you also want to undertake a side bend, your spine will be more embodied, showing your compensatory mechanisms and genuine range of motion. Then, you can deliberately direct your attention to a certain part of the stance.
When we move intuitively, we move the joints more three-dimensionally, which is fantastic for increasing mobility. When we play and explore our stiff areas, we don’t reinforce the habits that keep us from going there. Newer studies support the idea that dynamic stretching is more effective at increasing flexibility and preventing injuries than static stretching.
The pleasant sensations experienced during intuitive movement are significant. Instead of striving to improve yourself, you can have fun experimenting with different visuals, quality, speeds, and difficulties. Even in a predetermined yoga sequence, warming up can be made more intuitive by experimenting with transitions, varying the pace, and incorporating new poses.
Let go of the tight breathing and flow through the sequence.
Yoga has many benefits, such as making you more flexible and building muscle power. It is different from other mindfulness or movement-based routines because it helps people connect to their intuition, which is the body’s natural wisdom. Intuitive movement is a form of mindfulness that involves paying attention to the present and making moves that make sense but don’t have strict rules. The Cat/Cow pattern, which can be used in vinyasa practices, and the flowing sequence seen in vinyasa practices are both examples of intuitive movement.
By doing intuitive yoga poses and movements, you can improve your intuition and strengthen the link between your mind and body. To start, learn how to control your breathe and meditate. Some examples are nose-to-nose breathing, sitting in a meditation position, raising the head, hugging the knees, and Pigeon’s Repose. By doing these moves, you can develop your intuition and make yourself feel better all around.
By practising intuitive movement, you can get stronger, more flexible, and have more fun. It includes poses like Reverent Warrior, Rotated Stance, Lizard Alignment, Gentle Lunge, and Profound Pranam. These moves show how different people are and help muscles grow in a way that makes them better able to deal with problems that keep changing.
Intuitive movement can be deceiving because it can hide areas that aren’t moving. But it can also work and test more joints, which can make you more mobile and keep you from getting hurt. Static stretching isn’t as good as dynamic stretching at making you more flexible and avoiding injuries.
Having fun is also important when intuitively moving. By trying out different looks, sounds, speeds, and levels of difficulty, yoga practitioners can make their sequences feel more natural and fun. By letting go of tight breathing and flowing through the routine, practitioners can experience the benefits of intuitive movement and improve their health as a whole.
- Yoga offers benefits ranging from the physical to the metaphysical.
- Yoga uniquely connects individuals to their inner intuition.
- Intuitive movement emphasises listening to the body’s cues.
- It promotes mindfulness by focusing on the present moment.
- “Intuitive movement” involves actions without strict constraints.
- Physical awakening is achieved through mental motivation.
- Automatic movements can improve our overall well-being.
- Intuitive movements, such as a Cat/Cow sequence, can be adapted for more versatility.
- Alignment in motion flow is different from still poses.
- Circular movements and joint isolations are examples of intuitive modifications.
- Practising yoga can deepen the connection between mind and body.
- Grounding oneself with breathwork and meditation is recommended before starting.
- Nasal Alternation Breathing involves cycles of inhalations and exhalations through alternate nostrils.
- Meditative Seating encourages an upright posture and introspective thought.
- Elevated Head Pose focuses on alignment and can lead to the Child’s Pose for relaxation.
- Embracing the Knees requires a focus on the heart’s centre.
- Pigeon’s Repose enhances flexibility by alternating sides.
- Reverent Warrior evolves from a seated posture to a fold after expanding the chest.
- Rotated Stance combines a twist with a forward bend.
- Lizard Alignment offers variations based on flexibility.
- Gentle Lunge focuses on backbend sensation and hand-grip alterations.
- Profound Pranam encourages deep breaths for intuitive connection.
- Humans weren’t designed for mechanically consistent movements.
- Our ancestors had to navigate natural terrains and perform diverse activities.
- Each yoga session should be unique, not routine.
- Diverse movements lead to dynamic muscle growth.
- Limiting shoulder exercises to one range can be counterproductive.
- Natural flexibility can sometimes hide areas of immobility.
- Intuitive movement can challenge more joints in the body.
- Dynamic stretching is found to be more effective than static stretching.
- Intuitive movement brings joy and pleasant sensations.
- Movement experimentation can enhance enjoyment in yoga.
- Intuitive warming up can be incorporated into preset yoga sequences.
- Letting go of restricted breathing can improve flow in sequences.
- Yoga stands out from other practices due to its connection to intuition.
- The essence of intuitive movement is understanding one’s preferred intensity and style.
- Intuitive doesn’t refer to a specific trademark but rather a concept.
- Intuitive movement understands the mental motivation behind physical acts.
- 360-degree rotation enhances the Cat/Cow’s range.
- Intuitive movements can add awareness to spinal motions.
- Playing with “push” and “swing” can offer better motion understanding.
- Traditional yoga postures can enhance one’s intuition.
- Nasal Alternation Breathing includes cycles of breath.
- Elevated Head Pose focuses on ensuring minimal pressure on the neck.
- Pigeon’s Repose requires torso resting for comfort.
- Reverent Warrior involves intricate hand movements and breathwork.
- Rotated Stance demands a twist while maintaining posture.
- Lizard Alignment can be softened based on the individual’s comfort.
- Gentle Lunge promotes an arching of the chest.
- Profound Pranam focuses on introspection while lying down.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Intuitive Movement Yoga?
Moving intuitively involves slowing down and listening deeply. It takes a brave soul to hear what the body needs and respond compassionately, especially against the system we find imposed upon us.
How Do You Do Intuitive Movement?
Focus on how the Movement feels rather than tallying steps, miles or calories on a Fitbit. Paying attention to the felt sense within your body is like cross-fit for your intuition. Instead of just gritting your teeth through a workout, explore how you feel during the activity and throughout the day afterwards.
What Is An Example Of Intuitive Movement?
Intuitive Movement challenges you to move in response to sensory input from your body rather than Movement dictated by your mind. Intuitive Movement is grounded in curiosity, somatic exploration, fun, and joyful Movement, with moves like “Sky Dancer” and “Wiggle and Jiggle”.
What Is Intuitive Exercise?
Intuitive exercise is engaging in Movement that is guided by how you feel and enjoy doing.
What Is Intuitive Vinyasa?
Intuitive Vinyasa is a yoga practice or class taught with the traditional elements of a vinyasa flow, the Movement of Prana, the connection to Source and the mindfulness of being present with and for our Self and the ones we teach.