Most approaches to practicing yoga offer a top down approach where the focus is on fitting your body into specific shapes with a particular alignment.
Unfortunately, notes yoga teacher Bobbie Ellis, founder of Soma Yoga and a Continuum teacher in this free download, although this has its value, it locks us off from that full body-mind experience that yoga also offers.
“The body is one of the wisest things on the planet, even way beyond the mind,” says Bobbie. “When we can go into a more silent, somatic level of experiencing the body, it gives us information. If we start to trust and follow that innate wisdom, we will automatically raise our health and wellbeing just by simply putting ourselves in that way of being with our body.”
Bobbie talks about her journey as a yoga teacher, starting out as a traditional yoga teacher and body worker trained in Kripalu yoga, Phoenix Rising, and numerous yoga styles and healing modalities.
But a 5-day workshop with Emilie Conrad, founder of Continuum movement, in 1998 transformed Bobbie’s approach to practice and teaching.
“It completely changed my viewpoint of the experience of my own body and how to teach to give people a more full experience,” she notes.
The focus in most forms of yoga is on alignment, i.e. fitting the body into specific shapes. In contrast, the focus in Continuum yoga is an inquiry practice. It’s a practice of being curious and always on the edge of discovery, notes Bobbie.
“Not that one is better than the other, but the explorative focus adds a whole other dimension to our practice,” Bobbie says. “It gives us a gateway to perception of an area that we are not trained to perceive in our culture, but which I think really moves into the realm of the mystic.”
“Continuum is profoundly mysterious in the sense that it is always in a place of discovery,” Bobbie notes. “It’s about really enhancing the participation with the unknown and being able to trust yourself enough to hold that space so that discovery can continue to happen.”
“This is about process more than results,” Bobbie explains. “It’s an unknown process and at each stage you’re discovering something. It’s open, there’s always more.”
We’re not looking for an outcome, we’re looking for a way of being in the body in a movement process. This in turn creates a unique experience for each person who practices. It sets up a process of internal tracking where students develop a whole new relationship with their body and enhanced awareness of what serves them and, importantly, what does not.
“I really appreciate being in an environment with people giving themselves that permission. It creates self-regulation or self-agency, which I think is so necessary today in the world,” Bobbie says.
You may also be interested in Bobbie’s course, The Continuum of Yoga: Nature’s Perfect Blend of Psyche and Soma.