Monday, January 6, 2014

Cultivating Ease

I mainly use Facebook to post about yoga classes.  One of my teachers (Simon and Bianca from Yoga Synergy) posted an amazing practice on his page by a young Chinese artist performing extraordinary movements with elegance and ease.  I reposted it on my own page but if you are not linked to me (send me an invite if you want to be) you can see the video demonstration here.

When I watch this young man move the cells of my body sing and want to move.  What he does is well beyond me and my intention in reposting is not to suggest that any of us would be aiming for such poses (though let's not dismiss the possibility!).  What we might like to emulate, however, is to explore ways of moving that are help us feel effortless, light, and elegant.  In the end, it does not matter whether you can be in the full physical expression of a pose, it matters more that you find this way of moving so that you feel good.  

Remember, the main purpose of the practice is to move circulation and energy through the body and you will do this if you stretch less, tense less, think less, and, if you can manage, breathe less.  In the end you should find that you can move more (pain-free), and feel more relaxed, calm and focussed. This is a good thing to keep in mind in one of the many new sequences I will be teaching on my return, which includes hanumanasana (front splits).   

A few interesting points as you watch (or re-watch):
  • Note the extreme clawing of the hands/fingertips in the extreme arm balances.  We really need to press down through our fingertips when performing arm balances.  Ours will not be so extreme but it is still an important way of generating power and preventing us from collapsing into the wrist joints.
  • Note how he stands up again from the side splits.  This is exactly what we want to cultivate when we practice similar postures.  In hanumanasana rather than stretching out and deeper, you actually want to feel as though you are lifting yourself up from the floor.  Remember, there are no yoga poses (at least ones that I can think of) where you want to feel like sinking.  Especially in extreme postures like the splits you need to think of being strong in them rather than just stretching and collapsing.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video.  Happy and safe practicing!

Much metta,

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