Sunday, October 30, 2005

Autumnal Expansion

It's so beautiful here today.

The temperature is perfect outside. The sun is shining. The sky is clear. Everywhere I look I see beautifully colored leaves. I smell the smoke of burning fireplaces all throughout our neighborhood. It's gorgeous.

We've started shifting to those warm, thick comfort foods, too. It seems I can't get enough soup, chewy bread, chili, and hot cocoa.

The windows in our bedroom are only slightly cracked. I love the cool fresh air for sleeping. Our beds are piled with thick blankets. I'll admit it, once the sun goes down, I'm ready to cocoon in the thick clothes and comforts of home.

But here's one thing I've noticed. When there's just the slightest breeze outside, my whole body starts to shrink, to compact itself, to grip and brace against the penetrating winds.

I came in from the car a couple nights ago with all of the muscles on the back of my neck gripping tightly. It hurt.

This contracture is a natural, protective reflex. It's a defense mechanism. You were born with it, for your protection.

But like any good thing, too much of a good thing can be BAD.

One of the things I love about Anusara yoga is that it recognizes the universal truth that everthing must be balanced. Each of the actions in the Five Universal Principles of Alignment is balanced by an opposite action.

In particuar, muscular engergy is balanced by organic expansion.

Muscular energy is the beneficial action of toning the muscles and drawing them from both the surface of the body towards the bones and from the distal limbs toward the trunk.

Organic expansion is both the widening and broadening of the trunk, along with the extension of the long bones out away from the center of the body.

If you overdo or underdo either one of these actions, you're imbalanced and you start to deviate from the optimal blueprint for your body. Pain, like that pain in my neck I mentioned earlier, usually gets your attention. And you start looking for a solution.

Might I suggest you start somewhere other than your medicine cabinet?

If you live where it's cold, start watching for the reflexive tightening and shrinking of your body. Then intentionally expand. Broaden your trunk. Lift your head. Straighten your limbs. And lengthen your long bones. Breathe. Take up more space!

But you might want to get warm first. Several rounds of sun salutations (surya namaskar) should do the trick!

Here's to a beautiful and balanced Autumn season for us all!

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

Kevin Perry

p.s., If you read this Daily Yoga Tip with any regularity, you probably recognize that I love playing with words, puns, double entendre, literary devices and homonyms. I think I get it from my Dad and his whole family. Give them a free moment and there's a crossword puzzle or something like it being attacked.

When I read today's Daily Yoga Tip, one word comes to mind: juxtapose.

BKS Iyengar has been attributed with saying, "Every pose should have some repose." It's brilliant. Every asana involves some work, some effort, but also ease, rest. It's almost a restating of Patanjali's "the posture of yoga is steady and easy."

Maybe someone will attribute this saying to me, "To pose is to juxtapose."

Juxtapose means to bring two things into close proximity for comparison, to see more clearly their differences, or perhaps that they are opposite.

To really practice a yoga pose you must integrate opposites into one body, one mind, one person.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.


Blogger drsundeep said...

Hi there !
Great 2 meet a yoga enthusiast. From how many years are you practicising ? I am into it from past 10 years and its been an enlightening journey for me. My whole lifestyle as well as my perception of life has undergone a sea change.
Along with yogasanas, I also do Pranayama (deep breathing exercises). This has been a great help in relieving me of my nioggling coughs & colds and sundry allergies to dust and pollen.
Great blog you have here! Lookig forward to more such informative atricles from you.

1:08 AM  

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