Relaxation is the state of mind that brings clarity and focus; it is the
state in the body that generates muscle and fascia release, reduces pain and generates strength. As it relates to yoga, it is the seed for cultivating an
effortless effort one without pain or injury. The more you can relax, the
safer, stronger and more powerful your yoga practice will be. Effortless effort
is conscious action while being at ease, it is strength cultivated from inner
moving with the spine in mind.
Are you moving with your will or are you moving with relaxation?
When moving with 'will', tension increases in the body, movement
becomes more difficult and we develop a tendency to move in a disconnected way
- stick the ribs out, excessively arch the lower back. The spine is the
al place to begin movement because of its central connection to every
other piece of the body. Each of its vertebrae connects with fascia, blood
vessels, muscles and nerves, which in turn fan in various directions to nourish,
stimulate and balance each part of the body. At its essence the spine is really
a system of skeletal, neurological, electrical, vascular and chemical input.
connecting the movement of the spine with the largest joints.
Connecting spinal movement with movement of the largest joints - the shoulders
and hips - enables the transfer of energy from the core through the limbs
fiving us grace and power. By not connecting these two primary areas with
spinal movement, there is a tendency to compensate further down the chain - in
the elbows or wrists, or in the knees and the feet.
moving the joints in the optimum range of motion.
All joints have their own optimum range of motion. Some move more, others
move less. Even between bodies there is an optimum range of motion. This is
particularly the case for people with osteoarthritis or other injury in their
joints. Pushing past the optimum range of motion is a recipe for 'bad' pain.
developing core stability along with easy breath.
Core stability is more than your 'belly', more than the 'transversus
abdominus' and 'the pelvic floor'. It is the connection between core muscles
found along the midline of the body from the base of the skull, to the bottom
of the feet, combined with the freedom of movement at the hips, shoulders,
vertebral joints as well as the elbows, wrists, knees and ankle joints.
adopting relaxed resilience.
Relaxation in yoga is not 'doing anything'. It is the direct experience of
the vital and dynamic action that is inside, which occurs when there is space
and freedom for movement. It occurs when we don't force the movement. When
movements in yoga asanas are forced, tension develops. Typically, the tension
develops at the superficial layers of muscles. As relaxation develops, the
superficial muscles can release and deeper muscles can take over. As a result
core stability improves, mobility and flexibility increase and strength and
power are enhanced. That is relaxed resilience.
moving in the pain range of motion.
Pain is a loaded word with many meanings and interpretations. Good pain is
muscle fatigue and goes away after a few hours. Bad pain is the searing,
tearing, straining pain that you truly know is 'bad'.
Not practicing 'less is
When ambition overrides patience, trouble occurs - where curiosity
overrides, knowledge grows!