Oct. 17, 2013

Finding the “Optimal” Place in the Pose (part 2)

In the Big “Y” Yoga, on one level it’s all about ENERGY. In general energy moving feels good and energy not moving/stuck doesn’t feel good, and that’s a very easy subjective experience to have and we probably already know that. With this fact in mind, when we are hanging out in a relatively static pose, the place of most sensation should feel like something is shifting or changing in a way that feels positive, even if it’s only very slowly. If it does NOT feel that way, then we simply take that as feedback from the body that the pose is not in its optimal place and we need to purposely move or shift something to get to where we feel that something is changing in a positive way.

Ideally the feeling of something shifting for the positive will be felt throughout the body/mind, but for now having the area of sensation feel like it’s shifting should be sufficient for us to ascertain if the pose is at a good place for us in the moment or not.

If the area of sensation or of something shifting is at a joint, then, assuming that the joint is otherwise healthy, we should take that, too, as feedback that we need to purposely change something so that the sensation is not at the joint. If the joint is not healthy, for example is arthritic, then that statement may not be true and an experienced yoga teacher and one’s own experience would need to be consulted.

Once we are in the pose, breathing comfortably, relaxing what can be relaxed, easily able to focus on what is there and feeling that something is shifting for the better, then if we have any awareness to spare, and we may not, then we can start to notice what else is happening in the rest of our body and being. (And heck, why not do that from time to time in life, or even now as you read this article?) We can start this process by spreading our awareness out from the place that is getting our focus to the surrounding area and beyond. In this way, we can start to notice how things connect to and communicate with each other. We may also eventually realize that sometimes, though one thing was initially getting our focus, which is a necessary step in yoga practice, meditation and life, it’s not the only thing that’s going on and often times may not even be the thing that is most needing our attention and energy. (The Life Metaphors in that statement abound, for myself at least). For example tight hamstrings may be protecting the belly, and if we deal with whatever is happening in the belly, then the hamstrings don’t have to be so vigilant in their job. In this “movement”/”step” in the process of asana (posture) and life practice, we start to notice what else is happening, what else is present, beyond what we had initially noticed and been focusing on. Our world begins to get even bigger. (to be continued)