Potential Available Within - P.A.W. - in Kaiut Yoga

"Live up to your full potential, for only then will you experience both harmony and happiness. Only then will you possess real health, not just freedom from disease."  
Dr B.P. Pillai ~ 'Yoga A Way of Life'

The Potential Available Within - P.A.W. - has been referred to by Francisco Kaiut (founder of the Kaiut method of Yoga) in recent teachings.  

P.A.W. points you to see that you are born with an incredible potential inside of you. 

Huge potential.  

What is potential? And how can you tap into it in a positive way? 

You may believe that your potential is limited because of your genes.  But we now know through epigenetics that your genes can be turned ON or OFF depending on both your internal and external environment. 

If you are in an environment that exposes you to excessive amounts of stress over time, this will put you into a permanent fight or flight mode. Your cells will work as if they are fighting off an infection that doesn't really exist.  This creates an increased expression of certain types of genes that leads to inflammation in the body. And the problem is that inflammation raises the risk for all sort of serious health conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, arthritis and more.

The opposite of this flight or flight mode is a more contemplative and relaxed state. This state is accessed every time you can release tension and become present, akin to sleeping, the brainwaves change and this switches on the parasympathetic nervous system. In this state,  the genes in your body that are concerned with restoration and rejuvenation are switched on.

Your potential is actualized when there is a balance between pressure and stress and relaxation and restoration. You do need challenges to grow and evolve. Your system is designed to be able to adapt to stresses.  But you also need restoration to integrate that growth. A tree has a growing phase and a dormant phase. You are the same. 

Your potential is activated through the tap and flow of these energies.

In Kaiut Yoga you are cultivating the flow between these different states.  This is not always comfortable.  Kaiut poses are both incredibly challenging - exposing rigidity and helping you to grow beyond them - and incredibly relaxing.  For there you are,  in the midst of a challenging posture being invited to stay in the posture and relax. Or holding a difficult pose for a short time, then releasing it and allowing the body to go back to neutral.  You play in your practice between keeping a balance of nervous system relaxation with putting pressure and deliberately activating of the biomechanics of the body. 

This movement allows your potential to keep flowing as you practice. 

This is not to be confused with flow yoga.  In practices such as Ashtanga or Vinyasa students are taught to keep moving all the time, "flowing" relatively quickly from one pose to the next. The problem here is that students of a 'flow yogas' are so busy moving that they are activating their sympathetic nervous system only. If you are aggressively demanding movement to achieve many, many different (and sometimes difficult) postures throughout a class, if there is not a balance, and not enough time to rest and digest, the practice will be counter productive.   Movement in yoga has an active outward flow, you need to make sure you are not missing the deeper inner flow:   that is the potential available within.

See your potential within as the caterpillar that can transform (give it the right circumstances) into the butterfly so make sure the conditions and  circumstances around you are good when you practice.  You need time, gravity and awareness to be present when you practice. 

Examine the life of someone who has actualized their potential like Christy Brown (made famous in the movie with Daniel Day Lewis - My Left Foot).  Christy overcame the constraints of cerebral palsy to become and artist and poet using his left foot to draw and write.  Christy's story helps you realise that even when there are circumstances and things in life outwith your control, your potential to overcome them remains available at all times.   


"I just say that once you give nature some help, it just flows...instead of cleaning the river, you just stop polluting the river and eventually life comes back at its full speed and potential."

 Francisco Kaiut - Online Interview with Dayna Seraye






So whatever your life challenges are, think not of the difficulties, the problems, the trials of that particular issue you have, whether it is physical, emotional, mental or even spiritual.

Instead think of the potential that is brewing behind that challenge.  Think of the rock in the river as the obstacle and water as your potential.  Do you identify more with the water or have you become more like the rock?   It's your choice - discover where you can flow to access your potential, be more in that flow and live as that.

One important aspect of living in flow is seen in the quote above from Francisco Kaiut: stop polluting the river.  Stop polluting your body. Once you stop creating restrictions and tensions, you allow the river to flow. Now your full potential can be accessed.

There are a myriad of ways in which you create blocks, obstacles or "pollutants",  for yourself.  Whether it's through a poor diet, lack of exercise, addictive habits,  excessive worry and anxiety, or lack of awareness of your emotional or mental states.  And sometimes those blocks and obstacles come from too much stress in the external environment in which you live, the busyness of your everyday life, the strains and responsibilities of caring for family members, pressures of your work or business, or challenges of relationships.

You are not alone in having blocks and obstacles. Every human on this planet has challenges.   Your job is to not let those blocks stop you from accessing your potential.

Letting your potential flow means you acknowledge the challenges.  You see them when they are there and you flow around them.  What's beautiful about the analogy of the river, is that it is flowing.  You are flowing.  You are a growing, moving, flowing being.  Each moment is different.  Each moment is changing.  Each moment now has the potential for you to transform. 

So no matter what stresses or strains you may be suffering from. You can always begin again.

Now.

And whoosh,  watch how your potential, your innate nature comes flooding through.  Life, energy and vitality will rush to meet you.

Now.

So when you practice yoga, stay on your mat to feel.  When you are fully present you can begin to notice how life rushes in.

Stop the narratives.

Stop the ambition.

You are not on your yoga mat to see how far you can stretch down, nor to figure if you need some spinal adjustment from a chiropractor, nor to make your hips "better".

While all those things may come as a result of your practice, they are secondary.  Your primary focus in the practice is to engage with, feel and experience the very aliveness of being.  Present moment awareness holds the power and the potential, and yoga always invites you to access that potential.

When you practice yoga you feel.  As you feel something in your body especially if it is uncomfortable, the mind will want to engage a narrative.  Resist the temptation to go over your medical history, that injury or car accident, or your family's and what you inherited from your grandmother's hips or your father's bad back.

Your primary concern in yoga is to feel, in feeling you then can tap into your potential.

You are not practicing Kaiut Yoga to feel better, but rather to get better at feeling.  

That's not to say you won't  feel a lot better, you will, but it's not the goal, it's the consequence and comes slowly, surely, with a steady consistent practice.  It comes through the exploration of feeling everything (no matter how uncomfortable) as it arises in the present moment.  It is by feeling that you find your great and vast potential. 

And you cannot witness or experience your potential if your mind is in the past or in the future. If you are avoiding the present you will not be able to access it. If your mind wanders you will most certainly miss your potential as you worry about your bank balance, a sick child, your employment situation, what to cook for supper tonight or a million other ways in which you can be mentally or emotionally distracted.

You are there in your practice to feel and feel and feel again.  As you feel you become fully present to yourself.  And there you are witnessing your amazing potential within, and watching in real time how it flows in and of itself.

You might have to keep reminding yourself - your potential is only ever available now.

So when you get on your mat,  whether it is for an hour or half hour or just 10 minutes, it makes a huge difference to your whole system to be feeling and cultivating awareness of your potential.

If you get on your mat for an hour and spend most of that hour thinking or worrying about other things, you will not have cleared anything. Your potential will still be untapped. If you get on your mat with an agenda, to stretch into some pose or other, to achieve some posture you haven't quite got yet, then your mind is not present to what is actually there. No agenda.

In your practice when you encounter blocks and obstacles, challenges, tightness and tensions, expect them.  Don't shy away.  In Kaiut yoga, you actively seek out those challenges, to feel and experience them fully, to deliberately explore them.

When you practice,  again and again, seek and meet any restrictions you encounter in your body without a narrative, without an agenda, without the story of when or why they came into being.  Stay fully present to any restriction, breath, feel, and witness the potential and watch what unfolds.

Be mindful of memories,  and remain alert and aware only of the restrictions you can actually feel in the moment. Try to distinguish how what you feel might be the memory of a tensions or injury.  You might assume that because you have always had an issue with your shoulder - you put that tension in your body with your memory.  It may not actually be there in the same way.  Stay open to feel how your restrictions present in real time. 

Meet your restrictions, blocks and obstacles in the body with no aggression, with a loving presence, and be curious and open to 100% feel them.   Without any mental depth analysis, it's really simple and easy.  Feel tightness and tension when it is there and then move on.  Flow on.  The potential that flows through these restrictions will bring new energy, flow and healing,  you just need to allow it to happen by staying aware.  And when you simply let them go, they move and potential takes it's place.


You are practicing yoga to feel.  In feeling you develop your potential. Nature's potential. It's huge and it's available to you as the vast experience of present awareness.



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