Well, I’m fresh off of a certification training with the incredible and knowledgable Laurel Van Matre, owner of YOGA Garden MPLS, which is a big part of why I have not been blogging as often. My brain is full of a host of topics to expand upon here, and to my students… And though I could spout out all kinds of clinical and official-sounding tidbits that I have learned and explored during this training, I come back to something simple which proved to be profoundly deep to me years ago as a budding yogi, stressed-out professional musician, and struggler with my own body image:
We have a cultural tunnel-vision issue with our tissue.
And by that, I mean skin. The stuff we cover up for propriety sake. The stuff we look at each day. The stuff our primal nature makes us all tear our clothes off to see and touch and -ahem- *interact* with so we can re-populate this earth.
As I crammed all kinds of new and newly-integrated information into my brain for the last three months, I came back again and again to something essential to this practice, and to gaining its benefits – while learning and practicing, we must attempt to go deeper than our skin, the shape, the “end goal” of getting into a pose: we must get out of thinking, go past the skin we look at all day long, and get into feeling what’s going on underneath all that skin.
Thanks to one of my trainee cohorts, I found this great series of illustrations and articles by Ray Long, MD / Orthopedic surgeon / yogi, and 3D illustrator Chris Macivor. The images visually isolate the use of the psoas muscle in different poses – literally at the ahem – CORE – of our bodies. You’ll notice this core is not a picture of your abdominals, or anything resembling a six pack. Its much deeper than that, and it gets used, twisted, lengthened, stretched, and strengthened in just about every yoga pose. So next time you come to class you can remember to close your eyes if necessary, get out of your head, go further than your skin, and feel your body and your breath in order to find mobility in the tissue which brings us into optimal alignment.