“Wherever You Go There You Are,” is a book authored by long time Yoga Instructor and writer, John Kabat Zinn. Zinn introduced his philosophy into practical, everyday situations that he terms: “Wakefulness.”
When practicing Yoga, we become consciously aware of our thoughts and actions, thus Yoga awakens the mind and body to expand into movements designed to improve health and fitness.
Do you ever find yourself in a non-thinking “mode,” when habitual learning patterns seem to be in “charge” of thoughts/actions? A Yoga practice emphasizes thinking and analysis of actions before putting them into practice. Non-thinking physical patterns are drooping the head with a hunched back and walking like a duck, extending the head forward and backward that puts the spine out of alignment. We often place the culprit of improper body form on “pain.” However, pain in the body can be the consequences of habitual non-thinking patterns of behavior. In order to re-align the body, we have to begin by re-aligning our thoughts. When we feel pain in the physical body, we need to analyze our posture and habits. Our mind is the key to change and we need to initiate actions to test and address causes of pain.
A good physical assessment can begin by lengthening the spine with each deep inhale and slow exhale through the nose. Deep inhales through the nose increase oxygenation of the blood. Deep and long exhales release toxins from the body.
Yoga focus is on “thinking,” as we move through everyday twists and turns. The body’s anatomy is based on spinal mobility. Often, we become conditioned to circumstances that may not be beneficial to releasing tension.
Besides a focus on deep breathing, we need to learn how to hold Yoga poses so the body can lengthen and strengthen. Jumping from one pose to the next is almost defeating the purpose of a beneficial practice. To re-align the body into healthy movement and postures, poses are designed to retrain the body and break past negative habit patterns.
A Yoga practice is not “designed” to be “easy” or just to say you are practicing Yoga. Yoga has to be felt through every move. Each person makes their own determination on how to improve flexibility. A healthy body is “created” with repetition and practice.
Posture: “Revolved Half Wind Reliving Pose.”
Begin by lying flat on the Yoga mat with legs extended forward. Slowly lift up the left arm to the back of the head with a bent elbow and twist the upper body to the right as you lift the right leg with a bent knee. Hold the pose until tension in the body gradually releases. Repeat this move at least 5 times on each side. Move slowly and focus on a greater twist each time you rotate to the other side. Which side is tighter when you twist, is it the upper or lower core? Often it is the “dominate” side of the body is tighter.
Next, expand this posture into a long, revolved triangle as demonstrated in the picture with practioners Gerald DeWind, Leslie Wade, Mary Loe, Pat Sheltz, Kate Mattews and Lori Amato at Shield Medical Group on US 27, North of Sun and Lakes Blvd.
This pose also moves the form through a long twist, balancing on one side with folded hands and then changing legs. This twist takes concentration and fortitude.
Yoga is awareness. Observe each Yoga move and assess what you need to do to gain more strength and flexibility, this is the beginning of any practice.
Join the Yoga classes: Mondays, 6-7:30 p.m., Peter Powell Roberts Museum, Avon Park and Shield Medical Group, US 27 north of Sun and Lakes Blvd on the right. Tues/Fri 1-2 p.m. and Thursdays 5:30 p.m. Have fun while you learn!