The art of letting go, of simply allowing yourself to be, and of surrendering to the present moment is often challenging. We all have past traumas of one kind or another, and we all hold on to so much of what no longer serves us. But, once we learn how to approach it, letting go bares many powerful and transformative gifts that can truly revolutionise all aspects of life.
Gertrud shares her inspirational and healing practice of Embodied Meditation here at the Lounge. Hers is a mindfulness practice that provides individuals with the tools to begin letting go and learn how to become present. With Gertrud's guidance her students learn to let go of what no longer serves them, and instead make room for what inspires and nourishes them.
Embodied Meditation is the yoga of breath, mindfulness and movement. Gertrud uses traditional hatha asanas to explore the importance of the breath, bringing awareness to the physical edges of the body and the mental and emotional barriers of the mind.
Gertrud believes that any body, of any age, can fold fully into any position, and that the body is merely prevented from doing so by ones own inner edges - the unconscious places where we fear letting go because we do not yet know if it is safe to do so.
Gertrud's flowing, yin yoga style allows for each individual to breathe gently into the places where we hold on, where we don't dare to relax into posture.
One of the things that makes her practice unique is that, while acting as a guide, Gertrud consistently encourages her students to "bring the teacher home", to listen to their own bodies and to find what feels good and follow that. She stresses the importance of non-judgmental self-talk and the active practice of loving-kindness and self-compassion when moving in and out of yoga asanas. She urges her students never to ignore the warning signs of the body, but rather to approach the edge of the discomfort and breathe love and light into it. She says that this technique of never pushing or stretching into an edge but simply relaxing into it results in further physical flexibility whilst breathing in the way she teaches results in increased physical strength.
Gertrud also draws on her background as a healer, masseuse and reiki practitioner in her yoga classes, often using gentle touch to help soothe and ease her students into ever deepening states of relaxation.
Gertrud believes that through practicing yoga as part of an embodied meditation individuals become more capable of creating peaceful space within themselves, through which they can begin to investigate our personal edges. She teaches her students that only by bringing awareness to our edges can we soothe and love them into disappearance. Her yoga classes act as an opportunity to firstly: examine where the edges start and end, (be it mental, emotional, physical or otherwise). Secondly: to let go of the tensions, blockages, scars and strains that stop our muscles from relaxing, and thirdly: to relinquish striving and judgment of the self and others.
Her yoga is comprised of easy, organic and joyful exploration of the body, harnessing the power of the breath and mindfulness as an internal treasure map. She also uses music and visualisation as part of her guided meditations. Through these holistic mediums Gertrud and her students investigate and dance the lower and upper edges of the body, inner and outer. Just as her teaching style allows room for deep inward reflection that allows students to reconnect with themselves.
Gertrud teaches that by becoming aware, without judgment, of the patterns and behaviours that no longer serve us we can gently and lovingly release our hold on them. She asks students to leave competitiveness and ambition at the door because yoga is not about having the perfect body, or measuring who has the most flexible body. Yoga is about being grounded, present and kind to your own body. This act of letting go of judgment, she says, enables individuals to surrender joyfully to stillness and move intuitively between yoga poses in a state of naturally arising bliss.
Thus Gertud's grass-roots approach to yoga successfully marries the teachings of the ancient Eastern wisdom traditions with contemporary approaches to mindfulness. The result is the induction of beautiful states of stillness, which naturally expand on individuals innate inner wisdom and brings clarity to the body so that it begins to radiate and shine with health.
With her mindful yoga and embodied meditation practice Gertrud invites us to consider that all things, including our Selves, are just as they are meant to be. And that we are in fact, as Gertrud consistently reminds her students, utterly perfect.
...just as we are.