"Don't try to get out of this world, get in to it" Bhagavan Das, what is yoga?
GET IN TO IT! Yes!!! This is my mantra this week.
This video evokes this desire in me to get in to the body on a deeper level, to move my body in soooooooo many ways. Yet witness the structure, the formation, the unity in these drummers. The complete understanding of their practice of drumming, the wisdom and the power of it all coming together in this way.
"Yoga is an effortless dance with breath and gravity." - Vanda Scaravelli.
When we begin Yoga - the most important part is understanding that you are working with your own body, to your own limitations and to begin to develop deeper wisdom of the body, this unity of your approach to the bodies potential, this power of transformation in body and in spirit arises. We see overtime that this develops your personal knowledge that only you can acquire and continue to develop each and every moment that you practice.
The efforting to push, pull and strive stops and the connecting begins. The rhythm flows and the beat goes on.
This week we are looking at the importance in Yoga to begin by lengthening the spine, creating more eveness in the ribs and the spine itself and how in turn this allows the muscles of the back to release any tension. We are looking to lengthen the spine, against gravitational force.
The vitality of the spine represents the vitality of our whole being.
Working to develop an upright spine, is working to become a being that is thriving in the realm of gravity and not being pulled down by it!
Yoga is more than a physical exercise.
The breath is key to this! We use the breath to loosen the spine and to prevent injury. As we become aware of the movements of prana (life force) and its expansive potential, it is limitless. The asana clears the subtle pathways which prana flows.
To practice any asana (posture) or 'seat' means to practice perfecting ones relationship with all aspects of the earth (manifestations of reality) and all beings that inhabit it.
We evolve and this evolution is all part of your practice in Yoga and in your Life!
Start where you are now!
This picture clearly shows us how the spine itself has changed with evolution!!! Asana encourages awareness of prana, giving us the opportunity to put ourselves in to the ever expanding shapes and patterns of existence and to then experience the wonderfully powerful dynamic force that animates all form.
I love watching this video above that so simply illustrates how our bodies move and have the potential to move!
If we think of a classic Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) that many of us Yogis have done a million times... this sequence includes a variety of individual movements and demonstrates the various ways we move in Yoga, that is united with the breath and creates balance on both sides of the body. To get an upright spine, we need balance. Not forgetting that Hatha is the the joining of the Sun (Ha) and the Moon (Tha), representing all pairs of opposites in the world.
How do our movements revitalise the spine, create a sense of being upright and grounded at the same time?
To find grounding we find our seat. You know this right, as I told ya that already the last couple of weeks? We create a solid foundation, a grounding in physical movement and in the rooted aspects of the s!pirit. Tadasana (mountain pose) above for example, is thought to be an abode to the gods/ divine. It isn't a passive standing pose. It is a meeting place of terrestrial and celestial forces. It is the youngest child of heaven and earth. It conducts the earth energy to heaven and visa versa. Our base is anchored to the earth. Just like a volcano is connected to the core of the earth and spews out the fire of the core. The peak of a mountain stretched towards the sky. It is considered the tree of life. It is rooted.
To open up we work with backbends, but we must be cautious and teach the muscles in the back to release rather than to tighten, which then allows our hearts to open beautifully and with a softness that comes from the inside out.
Our wonderful detoxifying twists help to derotate the spine, ensuring that we always be aware to lengthen the spine first before any twist is actioned.
Forward bends are used in Yoga to deeply release tension in the back and shoulders and these are super effective the longer we continue to fold and use the breath to release deeper and deeper over a longer period of holds.
" Inversions create a freedom in your body to experience alignment without the usual distortions caused by gravity. As a result, it is often easier, particularly if you have a scoliosis, to feel what alignment is upside down than while standing on your feet. The inversions also develop strength in the back and arms; increase circulation to the vertebrae, brain, and other organs, and encourage Iymphatic circulation and venous blood return." - Yoga Journal
Relaxation in savasana is by far one of the most important postures for the spine. It allows our body to rest, lengthen and most importantly invites our muscles to relax completely. No need for them to be switched on to bare the weight of the body or the tension we create through the mind.
The spine has its own wisdom, its own power. If you approach yoga and the movements of your spine with pure grace, awareness and acceptance you will inevitably become more connected, heightened in all aspects of life through the subtle expanse of sensitivity you welcome and embrace.
You become a vital force.
Let your desires be felt through your yoga practice this week, to awaken the spine, the balance, the openess and your strength in all ways, motions and mind. Feel grounded and full of vitality!
See you in class.
Namaste Yogis in the realms of Bristol and beyond.
Yoga i-D Classes:
TUESDAY PM 19:30-21:00 Matter Wholefoods, Bs5
WEDNESDAY AM 10:00-11:30 Yogasara, BS6