By Niamh Kavanagh
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” –Rumi
Listening to the Body
When I sensed I had an ovarian cyst, my first step was to validate my self-diagnosis with a medical one. Once confirmed through ultrasound, my next step was to explore all available treatments, both conventional and alternative. Only then was I confident in deciding my healing plan.
I found that the most extreme treatment option was surgery. After tuning into the listening body, such incisions felt harsh and intrusive to the energetic structure. This prompted a further inquiry into self-healing within the broad spectrum of tools yoga offers.
Self-Healing in Yoga
By the way, healing in yoga is accidental. Healing comes through energetic manifestation during the seeking of the Self. Its findings are vast. You must be a bit of a free thinker to wish to experience the true Self, to even believe such a thing is possible. It is similar to how the coast is met by a wall of fog that clouds the view beyond—the great, dynamic expanse of the ocean exists but remains out of sight. Only the sound of the ocean’s movement tells of a greater mystery. In the same way, you can listen to the voice of the soul via sensory awareness. Moving beyond the boundaries of conventional thought and belief, you can meet in a space beyond the mind where the true healer resides. Connectedness and wisdom emerge from in between the physical outline that seemingly separates you from me. There is knowingness, an understanding that healing and growth require moving beyond separation.
The Power of Women
Consider the collective consciousness of women, all that has been witnessed and endured since the dawn of time. Contemplate how this influences the psyche of the womb—her nature and nurture, memories and pain, distortions and violations; what she holds, possesses, and thinks she’s lost. By identifying with these ideas of right and wrong, blockages and doubts (both known and unknown) arise. This can bring confusion and contraction, which impede creativity and spontaneity—the very expression of Shakti, the energy or power of consciousness. When women come together to share in sacred sisterhood these contractions dissolve and healing energy amplifies.
Disease as Information
When disease manifests on the physical level, the body is communicating that there is an energetic imbalance. During the process of awakening the Divine Feminine, healing starts with the acknowledgment of any imbalances. For example, intuiting that ovarian cysts come from clinging to old energy, I asked both my feminine and masculine aspects: “What am I holding onto in my life and relationships?,” “Does the feminine and masculine relationship harmonize with my outer world, (friends, family, and work)?,” and “What’s is in the way of or holding back my creativity?”
While contemplating these questions, I continued to feel into what was out of balance by listening to my sensory responses. Then, moving beyond the personal, I acknowledged the womb of the world, which carries the ancestral psychic archive. Expanding my awareness in this way helped me understand and release the emotions I was holding onto. In the end, such analysis is not important. What matters is bringing light to what is hidden—only then does transformation start to occur. I listened to my body through sensory awareness, where I found every molecule of my being thirsting for “yang” (masculine) energy.
Embodying the Divine Feminine
It was a beautiful coincidence that as I was going through this process I was also preparing to host an Embody Your Divine Feminine workshop led by Antoaneta Gotea. In this workshop, Antoaneta shares her vast experience working with women. She explores the wisdom of the womb through dance, meditation, and breathing exercises. The workshop provides an opportunity to dive deep into vulnerability and share with other women in a beautifully held, non-judgmental environment.
Diet Number 7
One of my discoveries in our Divine Feminine gathering was George Ohsawa’s “Diet Number 7.” This macrobiotic diet (also shared in the Hridaya Yoga Retreat: Module 1 Intensive) is often primarily associated with healthy eating, weight loss, and detoxification. Consequently, its subtle, more powerful healing advantages are not so widely appreciated. This strict 10-day fast is performed to re-balance yin and yang (feminine and masculine) energies. It strengthens a weakened feminine by charging the body with yang energy.
The idea of doing this diet resonated deeply within and seemed the most natural way to deal with my health issue, as my symptoms expressed a feminine depletion. My mind didn’t want to do it. But, I didn’t listen to the mind. Instead, I listened to my body, and I knew it was longing for an infusion of yang energy.
During the Oshawa cleanse, blood cells are renewed only after at least seven days. Therefore, it is imperative to perform the full ten days. This allows the completion of the process of regeneration. The physical is but a reflection of the emotions and the mind. Diet Number 7 gives a tremendous power of the mind, bringing a deep appreciation of life and a quiet confidence.
Self-Healing Is Just the Beginning
Three weeks after I completed the Ohsawa diet, I had another ultrasound. This test showed no sign that an ovarian cyst ever existed. It had simply gone. While this was exciting news, I know that physical healing is just the surface of this work. The real essence of awakening the Divine Feminine is unveiling the treasures of womanhood—revealing all of Shakti’s quirks and imperfections and living in full-hearted awareness.
The Listening Body
You may ask, “What is a listening body and how do I know and trust decisions I make are the right ones?” Understanding and recognizing your bodily responses is essential for self-healing. The polarity that exists between the inner and outer worlds of sensations is expressed through the feminine and masculine aspects of your being. Your body temperature, emotions, and mood, as well as how you think, see, and feel are all uniquely reflected.
The secret to energetic work is to shift attention from the mind into the body. Through sensory awareness, you learn to recognize symptoms, expressions, and echoes of the subtle body and how they manifest in your life. Once the truth of what you feel starts to crystallize, you can move away from what your mind is telling you to do. During gatherings like the Embody Your Divine Feminine workshop, the wisdom of self-healing inherently speaks to every individual as One. You can learn to let go of the need to find an answer and allow Grace to work her magic.
The Depth of Womanhood
There is something sensually penetrative about a woman who truly knows her depth. I urge you to deepen and honor your connection to the very creation of life—your womb. To remain free in a loving, playful dance, surrendered to the unknown. When you allow your Divine Essence to shine through, healing and supportive experiences abound.
The wisdom, trust, friendships, love, and continuous gifts of this work never cease to satisfy. It’s as if I see my very own eyes smile through the mirror of my imagination.
Niamh is a Hridaya Yoga teacher and the founder of Hridaya Yoga UK.