Saturday, February 26, 2011

Organic Yoga

As we move into various poses during our yoga practice, we compress our organs. The weight of the trunk and limbs both apply compressive support to a certain area of organs in each pose. This compression tones and energizes the organs which than feeds energy into the whole system from the inside-out.

In downward dog the guts get turned nearly up-side down; density of the organs slowly shifts as gravity draws in a fresh ground surface to the intestines. And as you hang out in your downdog, the top of your brain drains intoa freshly compressed surface and the center of your head draws towards the center of the earth.

The opposite force of compression is suspension. Mobility and expression arise from a grounded surface. So as the arms in down-dog are fuelled by the heart suspending, that energy travels upwards through the spinal line and into the pelvic cavity.

Shoulder Stand and Sphinx are mirror comparisons. In the inversion, the heart and upper chest are receiving compressive support while the pelvic organs are suspending support for the rest of the trunk. The compression of the heart strengthens the chest, giving more buoyancy to the lift-off of the arms. The digestive and reproductive organs suspend the weight of the trunck and float the legs above. The more toned the organs become through compression and suspension, the less the muscles need to "work" to lift the frame of the container. In Sphynx, the heart suspends the chest, feeding energy into the arm and eyes, while the pelvic organs receive compressive support and that toning flows into the legs.

The body will not release unless it feels supported. Our emotions will not honestly release unless we as beings feel supported. There is a link between the body and the emotions that is deeper than the muscles and the joints. The keystone to the poses and our emotional equilibrium is the soft stuff inside.

“Support and balance within a body are a process of continuous [cellular] awareness, not a static goal to achieve. This is also true of our emotional experience, support, balance and strength which develop out of and are closely related the organs’ physical processes. These are aspects of one’s life work, not something to be quickly found and dispensed with.” Linda Hartley, Wisdom of the Moving Body.

It is worth questioning, why we as yogis keep searching for that new edge. What is it about creating the intensity of physical, emotional andpsychic pressure? And that line between ease and effort? We’ve all got poses that we hate, that make us feel mad, scared or downright tortured. The practice yoga is how you get in that space and what you do once you are there. Like a spiritual warrior, you need to stay very close to inner voice or you are going to get hurt. In extreme poses. Instinctively the body knows this. Our challenge is to contain each pose as stable-supportive and then play with the mobility-expressiveness therein. It is a continuous interchange.

... ((BREATH))((BREATH)) conscious mind: effort/limitation ((BREATH)) ((BREATH)) unconscious mind: freedom/expression ...