"Everything has to be folded." - Nigel Tufnel
Unintended inspiration spoken by one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite movies. Yes, Nigel! Let's explore the concept of (un)folding in the context of your yoga practice.
Next time you're on your mat, try this thought experiment. Notice each time you fold in towards yourself, usually in forward bends, and also notice each time you open up in an expansive movement like a backbend or extending your arms and legs away from your body. Notice how you feel as you hold these positions and how you feel moving through them, from one endpoint to another.
What does it feel like to curl into and out of yourself on a physical level? Is one action easier for you than another? It might be the case that big expansive backbends are your thing. You like increasing your heartbeat and strengthening your back. Now, see if this correlates to a deeper part of who you are in some way. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. The point of this exercise is to begin to use our bodies mindfully, to find new connections within yourself.
Now, become aware of your movement through poses, not as a way to get somewhere but as an experience all its own. Play with speed. Does it feel better to move slower or faster? Does that change based on what you're thinking or feeling? Do you prefer holding postures over transitioning from one to the next? Ask yourself again if this speaks to a deeper part of who you are. Open your ears and listen to the answer.
This physical practice we do reminds us that we are always in flux, continually opening and closing to life. The goal isn't to always remain open or closed, though, sometimes we need to dwell in one space for a while before moving on. The practice is to allow the process to happen, letting yourself be propelled by your own doing and undoing.