The devaluation of the body and embodied dimension in favour of the mental and intellectual dimension was established some centuries before Christ when Plato discovered two worlds: the world of ideas, where the archetypes of every material thing are to be found, and the sensory world, of the imperfect and bodily copies. The dualism between what is pure and what is changing and perishable has been established once and for all. If the conceptual world, eternal and unchanging equals to justice and goodness, the physical and impermanent one becomes synonymous with unjust and evil, with the consequent mortification of the bodily dimension. The subsequent introduction of a kingdom of heaven, reserved for pure spirits, will definitively consolidate this dualistic structure.
In the following centuries this primacy of metaphysics, that is, of the world beyond the physical dimension, will also be reflected in Western customs and practices aimed at privileging intellectual activities, so-called “spiritual” ones. One of the findings that ensured the definitive primacy of the thinking thing, "res cogitans" as Descartes called it, to the detriment of the sensory one, is the diffusion of the chair. If the Greeks, despite their fascination for the Logos, still assigned an important role to body well-being, pursued in the famous gymnasiums, even the triclivio of the Romans assessed the enhancement of a chilled-out dimension of sensory perception, summarized in the motto "mens sana in corpore sano". With the advent of the chair, however, we are literally separated from the earth, not only symbolically but also physically. The body is constrained within established limits and its ability to feel and perceive is thus discouraged and progressively inhibited. Our western life, thanks to technical tools such as chairs and, more recently, monitors of all kinds and shapes, but above all because of the work rhythms that often force us into exclusively sedentary activities, has slowly transformed us into beings with a hypertrophic brain and an underdeveloped perceptual sphere. This intellectual supremacy, definitely charming for its achievements and wonders on the philosophical and scientific domain, has produced a drastic reduction of the sensory capacity in our life, which is in fact ruled by constant mental activity. More than feeling our life we tend to think it. We know all about the surrounding objects, origin, size, prices, but we forget to perceive them. We do not remember the scent of a dress, the tactile sensation of a book cover or even that of our face. And this happens because we are constantly driven by an internal discourse that stands in the way and in many cases replaces the immediacy of sensory perception. Because of this incessant mental activity we are completely split from what is there.
This inner noise not only hinders the development of perception, but also blocks the dimension of feelings and emotions. In other words, we end up conceptualizing also the emotional level. And in such instances, emotions become disruptive and produce stagnation, since they are mentalized and controlled by the mind. The mind steals emotions from the body and sclerotizes them, turning them into harmful weapons for the person's balance. Only when emotion is free from the psychological load, it can easily penetrate the body, wear itself out and be easily reabsorbed, without leaving ant trace. In this case emotions are capable of changing the image and the mental boundaries of our body, of transforming it. In the peaceful moments, of particular receptivity, it is possible to experience sense perception, for this reason the path of hatha yoga trains us in this particular form of listening and of trustful rediscovery of our body.