SAIIER 2012:Awareness Through the Body

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Awareness Through the Body
by Aloka

The goal of Awareness Through the Body

Awareness Through the Body is a comprehensive curriculum of activities and exercises that aims to raise awareness and enable both children and adults to become conscious of their own perceptions and abilities, so that they may become more self-aware, self-directed individuals.

By discovering and exploring the body, Awareness through the Body (ATB) offers individuals tools to expand their consciousness, explore the different parts of their being (mind, emotions, physical body, energetic body), and discover their inner selves, and eventually enter in contact with their psychic being (soul). By refining and internalising the senses we can become more aware of our own perceptions. By using the senses in a more complete way, free from judgement and preconceived ideas, we are more able to better manage our mind and emotions, and thus determine how to steer our own life.

ATB sessions for adults

As with every year I have been giving two sessions a week with two different groups of adult Aurovilians.

One of the adults’ sessions is on Yoga Nidra. This is an open session for whoever wants to attend and lasts for about 1 hour. The attendance to this session fluctuates from 14 to 20 people.

The practice of Yoga Nidra as we see it in ATB has been evolving over the years. Every time we put the focus more on connecting with the body through the sensations experienced from inside. In this deep relaxation technique the participant is guided inwards. By placing the attention into the physical and subtle sensations she/he is experiencing during the session, and through the use of visualisation, the participant is able to journey to the depths of her/his consciousness, expanding it, and is able to contact higher transforming energies.

The person doing Yoga Nidra travels in, exploring and working in and from the physical body, as sensing it from the inside. Because he/she is fully present in whatever sensations he/she is experiencing, he/she has the possibility of opening to new perceptions of the self. Being able to observe oneself sensing, enhances the positioning of the inner observer – the more one is in this position the more one can effect positive changes in oneself. The more we work with Yoga Nidra the more I experience the richness of this technique and think of it as an important tool for self-growth.

The second group of adults is formed by a group of 12 to 14 people who work on Sensory Awareness. This session lasts for 2 hours.

With this group we have been working together for a while, and we can explore freely new themes which allow us to enter in new regions of our being.

Last year we had put the emphasis in the exploration of the subtle body, and this year the emphasis was to observe and experience the clear interconnection that exists between the different parts of the being. We might start the exploration by placing the focus of attention in the physical body, but after a while we would observe how the scope of attention would widen and we would find ourselves travelling in another part of our being. As I find difficult to express what I mean, I am going to use the example of one session where we decided to explore the heart.

We worked in pairs, with one person lying down and the other sitting next to him/her. We started by activating the trunk through breathing and touch. When the lying down person was breathing the sitting one was “assisting the inhalation” by helping the ribs to open and close more. We did that for a while at all the levels of the trunk; after, the sitting person placed one hand under the heart, at the back of the lying down one, and the other hand on top of the heart. He/she left the hands there completely immobile, “listening” with his/her whole attention to the sensations of movement: heartbeat, and actual movement of the organ. During the fifteen minutes of listening, both the partners were able to observe with detachment whatever movement was happening in the different planes of their being. After some more minutes of this contact, and the sensation of another being's heart between our hands, the mind of both partners became quiet and both experienced an opening at the heart level: a rush in of compassion, acceptance and a sense of wonder in the whole being.

We ended the session in quiet and full of gratitude towards each other, and we could observe how everybody was much more open, receptive, very calm and in a higher state of consciousness, which is the aim of any ATB exercise.

These exploratory sessions allow us to discover new exercises that can be used in the ATB workshops for adults or adapted for the school children.

ATB classes throughout Auroville

About 340 Aurovilians – children and adults – and about 60 children from the outreach schools have been working regularly with the progam this year, attending weekly classes in one of the following groups:

  • Centre Field Kindergarten: classes conducted by Patrizia, Stefania and Francesco
  • Nandanam Kindergarten: classes conducted by Patrizia, Stefania and Francesco
  • Transition School for the four younger grades: classes conducted by Patrizia and Amir
  • Transition School for the four older grades: classes conducted by Joan and Rosa
  • Deepanam School: two groups guided by Rosa and two groups by Yoffi
  • Udavi School: classes conducted by Partha and Suzie
  • New Creation: classes guided by Stefania and Francesco
  • TLC: classes guided by Amir
  • Adult classes conducted by Aloka and Joan

Workshops

Several workshops were offered which were conducted by Aloka and Joan. Every year in February we offer an ATB Intensive workshop of nine days (from 6 to 7 hours every day). This year the ATB basic training was offered to 22 participants, most of them from Auroville, some coming from other parts of India and some from abroad. The workshop was, as with the other times, an enriching experience that fostered in the participants and facilitators inner centring and growth.

Communications

We share ATB with the world through the web sites we have created. Maintaining and updating these webs, and keeping correspondence with the people interested in ATB is part of my everyday work. As it is part of my work the supervision of and advising to the ATB trainees.