Finding the Optimal Place in the Pose, part 6, Lines of Energy

You may remember the entry on “It’s all about Energy.”  (or see my blog for a refresher)  Here’s a few more thoughts on that topic.  Many of you were in class for the month of practice focusing on lines of energy or where there at some point in previous years.  It is not my intention to give an exhaustive teaching on that here, but the general and simple, i.e. not exhaustive nor complete, idea is to feel or imagine or see your body as made of energy, with a big pool of energy in the belly and 6 main “lines” of energy emanating/shining/flowing out from there:  2 go down into the pelvis and down the legs and out usually through the feet; 2 go up in front of the spine to heart level where they divide and go out to the shoulders and down the arms, exiting usually through the hands or fingers;  one goes up in front of the spine and out the top of the head, and one goes down in front of the spine and sacrum on out in front of the tailbone. 

For a more complete discussion of this idea, see Erich Schiffman’s Yoga:  The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness, an excellent book on many of the aspects of yoga practice.  (It’s for sale at Loving Kindness.)  Erich does, for some reason not known yet to me, not include the “tailbone” line of energy, which seems like a glaring omission though his thoughts on the concept in general are quite good and clear and helpful.

When we move our awareness along the lines of energy, we may notice where there is a block to that movement of energy/awareness and then we potentially have a tool to purposely help increase the flow.  By endeavoring to purposely move our awareness along the line where it is blocked, we help the energy to move.  This movement is something that we can easily feel when it happens.  Alternately if we perceive a block, we can imagine the energy beginning to flow from it along the line and again, we’ll feel it when it happens.  This is an intellectual concept here, and I’m a big fan of practice and not so big a fan of intellectual concepts, hence the periodic focus in practice on such ideas as to get personal experience and not be just stuck in the realm of ideas.

If we see our bodies as made of energy and have a way to move energy which is the basis/foundation of our body and mind, then we have a way to move our body from a deeper place than from just muscles and bones.  In making that shift, we are moving more toward the core of our being which will lead naturally to us experiencing more peace.  In making that shift, we have a way to let the pose arise more from the inside rather than putting it on from the outside, i.e. from our teacher, the book, or from our history.  The pose can come alive IN THE MOMENT and FROM THE INSIDE.  For the pose to be optimal, in my experience and perspective, it has to arise unthinkingly from within; I can’t “make” it happen or even “create” it in the usual sense of the word.  I can create/foster/cultivate conditions in which the optimal pose (life!) can arise and be revealed moment by moment.  With the lines of energy we have one more tool to move in that direction.   Ultimately the optimal pose (or life) is NOT a place that you can take a picture of but could more accurately be described as a FLOW, something you know you are in when you are in it, but sadly as soon as we “know” we’re in it, it’s gone.

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