Monday, June 06, 2005

A Child's View

If you've ever worn contact lenses you know that sinking feeling you get when one pops out of your eye and onto the floor. You also know you can't find it standing up. When you're standing, everything beneath you looks like carpet.

So, you carefully get down on your hands and knees, turn your head to the side, and with one ear close to the ground you survey the floor around you. It's amazing how quickly it is revealed to you. It sticks up from the horizon like a big satellite dish.

Perspective. It's all about perspective. Some points of view help, other don't.

Does this sound familiar? "Never criticize another man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins."

St. Matthew recorded these words of Jesus as he prayed,
"O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!" (Matthew 11:25-26)
I suppose I could say a bunch of very profound stuff about this but I simply want to ask you today to change your point of view. When was the last time you got down on the ground?

When you go low, you see things differently. When you go low, like a child, something new will be revealed to you that you cannot see when you are upright.

I suggest supported child's pose, salambha balasana. It's a restorative pose. You set it up, you get into position, and then you wait. Here's how:

1) Get several blankets and spread one out flat to act as a cushion beneath your knees, shins and feet. Fold the others so they're about 10 inches wide and 3 feet long. Stack these folded blankets one on top of the others until the stack is about 12" tall.
2) Kneel on the spread out blanket, then with your feet together, sit on your heels, toes pointed backward.
3) Take your knees apart and bring the blanket stack between your knees.
4) Keeping your hips low, near your heels, bow forward and rest your torso on the blankets.
5) Turn your head to either side and rest quietly.

Stay for 5 minutes or longer. (Come out if you have any pain or numbness.)

salambha balasana, supported child's pose from Posted by Hello

Hear's a real treat: rest a weight on your back near the waistband of your pants.

One of the truths I hope is revealed to you when you are in this position is how marvelous and health-giving it can be to rest quietly, deeply, and for a long time.

In fact here are Jesus' words in Matthew right after the quote I gave you above:
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light. (emphases mine)

It's not a "waste" to rest like this. But you'll only know it if you try it.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., The classic book on restorative yoga was written by Judith Lasater years ago. I recommend it. It's called Relax and Renew. Follow her instructions on the set of poses she lays out and you'll be recharged.

p.p.s., Restorative yoga is prop-intensive. BKS Iyengar is the originator of using props to help with asana practice. His book, Yoga: the Path to Wholistic Health is beautiful and unmatched in 360-degree photography and tips for restorative poses.

p.p.p.s. Iyengar, in the above-referenced book calls child's pose adho mukha virasana, not balasana. Hmmmm. I wonder why?

Want insights into why certain poses are named the way they are? If you're like me, I don't just want insights, I want to remember the names. Our Experience Sanskrit workshop consists entirely of providing you with experiences that are designed to make the Sanskrit names of yoga poses unforgettable. We're meeting June 25 at St. Louis YogaSource. Tuition is $50. You can register at

By the way, adho mukha virasana means 'hero pose with the mouth facing down.'

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.


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