I finally had the opportunity to take an online Zoom class with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, who is a pioneer in Body Mind Centering, a mindful philosophy of movement that is not Yoga and yet IS Yoga to its core. Less a type of exercise and more a means of cultivating awareness of the body through movement, Bonnie weaves together such topics and shifting away from biomechanical reductionism (concentric vs eccentric or flexion vs extension etc) towards moving from a "different place" (expansion vs contraction, responses vs answers to questions).
She spoke of "cellular consciousness", of using movement and awareness to awaken our cells to themselves. Each individual cell has certain functions that every other cell has, and yet may be differentiated between groups of cells performing certain actions while others are dedicated to other actions, such as digestive cells breaking down ingested nutrients while other cells differentiate between the nutrients, recombine them into what is needed, and then sending those nutrients where they need to go. Any part of this system can break down, and when one organization of cells is not working coherently it affects how other organizations of cells work.
Think of our bodies not as one physical organism but a collection of them, our cells are collections of atoms and those atoms are collections of protons, electrons, and neutrons. Each one of us as individuals are then organized into collections of family units, communities of family units, and so on until we realize that collectively, nations are collections which form the larger ecosystem of the Earth, the solar system is a collection of planets, and so on as this universe is a collection of galaxies.
We all notice when we don't feel well that often we have digestive disturbances; we get constipated or have diarrhea or have issues digesting certain foods. We may notice when one member of our family isn't feeling "right" and they act differently than they used too. We feel unsafe when some members of our community act in ways that are not beneficial to the community, when "rogue" nations take actions that make the world less safe.
We as individuals can't always "fix" things to our own liking but we as individuals CAN work on how we react to things we can't change and take action on those things we CAN change. Perhaps we make a vow (vrata in Sanskrit) to be kind to strangers (hold the door for the person behind us), pick up the trash without being asked, ask someone who looks like they are having difficulty what can we do to help. These may seem like such simple inconsequential things but to the "other" they may help them to do the same for someone else.
Not everyone is able or inclined to take big actions in a public arena but others do feel called to publicly demonstrate for the things they believe should happen. Perhaps one day we won't need to resist policies that systemically oppress others because we will recognize and remain conscious of how the harmonious relationships we cultivate with each other is a reflection of the harmonious relationships we are nurturing within our own bodies.