Spinning Waves Yoga – Harmonizing Cognition and Intuition

One of the most vexing and urgent dualities to harmonize is that between the heart and the mind. While these concepts are vast and still mysterious there are distinguishable aspects that help us to approach understanding. We live in a very cognitive world based on rules and schedules and words, conceptual constructs that determine in large part how we spend our time each day. The rise of cognition began with the scientific revolutions of the enlightenment period and were concisely summarized by Rene Decartes with his seminal quotation “I think, therefor I am!” This underlying assumption still holds powerful sway on our culture. As well, the rise of commercial law agreements that spread with European Imperialism are now the foundation of modern legal theory and practice. Since all corporations and government entities are created through contracts and laws, essentially our entire civilization is a cognitive creation. Thus, we are defined (and confined) by our own binding words. There are debatable benefits to this cognitive dominance, but that is for a different time.

The compliment to cognition is intuition. Intuition is our inner wisdom, a sense of knowing that is revealed to us intact and complete in each moment. In other words, it is not learned and cannot be fragmented or compartmentalized. In fact intuition is not based on words at all but rather sense impressions. Our mind seeks to translate these impressions into words but we are capable of understanding our intuition without that extra step. The rest of the biosphere lives intuitively which is why they appear so present and connected. That is the nature of intuition, present and inseparable. I could explain this further but instead I invite you to use your intuition to find your own answers.

Cognition and Intuition are not separate but rather they are complimentary aspects of whole. Cognition is an iteration of The Wave, vibrating radiating energy, akin to The Sun. Its power is focused and intense. Intuion is an iteration of The Spiral. It is connected to the structure of the universe (or at least our galaxy!). Its power is subtle and vast, encompassing the minute scale of electrons orbiting a nucleus to macro scale of stars spiraling around the center of the Milky Way. There is no spectrum between cognition and intuition so they are not opposites either. So when one aspect becomes dominant that is to the detriment of the complimentary aspect. In such a cognitive world that we inhabit, we have lost our trust in our intuition and instead rely overwhelmingly on cognition to make choices. The cognitive dominance has consequences that seem false in the lens of intuition. But since we are so far removed from trusting our innate wisdom, it is easy to justify our cognitive choices as rational and practical. But clearly there are problems in our system, clearly there is an imbalance of power, a concentration of wealth in the light of severe suffering not just of people but of our one and only home and all its inhabitants. All life exists to live. Can you recognize that as intuitively true? I invite you to. If you ask me to prove it then you are refusing to use your intuition. It is like a muscle and if it is neglected it will atrophy. At the same time it can be strengthened again through Asana practice.

When we perform asana, as previously described, we work on the relationship between structure and energy. We learn to control our bodies to create shapes. Each asana requires a certain structure and resonates with a certain energy. Energy in asana is most easily accessible through muscular engagement, both in terms of strengthening and relaxing, but there are more subtle forms of energy that we become sensitive to. Emotions carry energy, our thoughts have an energetic component and we need to become aware of how they affect our ability to create form and grace. While we work to control the body we engage our cognitive process, for example, we think about extending a knee joint and strengthening a thigh muscle and that is part of creating a posture but we cannot think of everything all the time, that is not the nature of cognition. However, that is the nature of intuition, present and inseparable. Our intuition signals to our cognition if we are stable, well organized, engaging adequate strength, or not. This communication is sensed rather than translated. As we learn to sense the asana within the body, sense the relationship between structure and power throughout our body, sense the subtle energies without the words, then we ignite our intuition and can restore a healthy harmony between cognition and intuition that permeates all aspects of our lives.