Asana

Whatever I said in a previous post about bicycling yoginis may be true, but you know, there is still just nothing like a real asana practice. I love my hatha yoga, taking my body through movement and stillness, finding the focus in the breath, the ease and strength in each pose. Not only do I feel more alive and energized after a yoga practice, I also notice that i am more open to insights, both during and after the practice. Regular asana practice keeps me centered, and grounded, and I am remembering now how important that is…

Click here for an interesting site for anyone who might want to explore some new asanas, and maybe try putting together a simple home sequence or two.

I did not bring my yoga mat with me on this journey, and so I have been practicing on a variety of different surfaces… wood floor, grass, cement (ouch!) and carpets…  all these different surfaces make for interesting adjustments, which can lead to interesting insights…

During standing poses such as warrior II and triangle, we tend to really ground through our feet, and hook right into our sticky mats. That’s good, mostly.  But on slippery carpet, I am unable to rely on a “sticky” surface.  What I need to do to keep my feet from sliding out from under me is to draw the energy up through my legs and use the core of my body more.  The feet definitely stay grounded, but they cannot be my sole support.  Playing with this from a muscular perspective I find myself exploring the lift from an energetic perspective.

Try this next time you are in a warrior II pose:  Ground your feet. Find those points – base of the first toe, base of the baby toe, heel – and feel how they are connected to the ground.  Then, lift your toes. As you lift your toes, engage through your thighs. You want to engage in such a way that you feel the energy lifting upward, and carry that energetic engagement right up into the floor of the pelvis. One way to do this is to think about the legs drawing toward midline, without actually moving them. The pelvic floor draws up (think gentle mula bandha)  and allow the energy to rise all the way from the ground up through the pelvis.

I think this must be how dancers learn to fly.  What happened for me, as I played with this energy is that my legs were very active, and my feet felt solid – I could feel a lifting that would keep my feet from sliding out and away while still maintaining a sense of grounding.  Very interesting sensation.  Play with it, and try engaging and releasing different muscles of the legs and hips and see what changes.  You may even begin to feel the core drawing energy up into the spine.   Beware though, that you don’t allow the engagement to become “gripping.”  Notice the tendency to grip, then let it go.  Don’t forget to stay with the breath!

I tried this energetic lifting in downward dog as well…  with much the same effect.  With the shoulders wrapped, draw the inner arms together and use that drawing in to lift upward.  At the same time, draw the inner thighs toward each other, keeping them spinning in just slightly, and draw that energy up into the pelvic floor.  Once again, an amazing energetic lift!  Even with a slippery surface you can stay in downward dog… grounded and flying all at once!

Ahhhhh….. asana.  I love my hatha yoga practice.

When my body has been stretched and worked and opened, then my mind is better able to find the stillness, the meditation, and yes, even an energetic lift.

So next time you find yourself without a sticky mat and are afraid to do your asanas…. do it anyway, and let me know what happens!

🙂

Published in: on August 13, 2010 at 13:10  Leave a Comment  
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