RESTORATIVE-YIN YOGA involves supported body/mind relaxation. This is gentle, gentle yoga that promotes deep relaxation for stress reduction while also stretching and rehabilitating connective tissue.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Middle Way / Moderation

Copyright Lance Kinseth, Middle Way / Chudo, 2011

Rolling toward Equinox
The slow-sway of Earth now away from the Sun
Toning down the burst to life,
 A wash of the stars,
Overflowing and then softly waning.

SEPTEMBER: a middle way—in between plenitude and loss

In the North American mid-continent, there is the tug of a swelling tide of  biomass from summer’s production and the simultaneous outflow of light in the waning of days

A time of seasonal transition from summer to the meteorological autumn

Butterflies, the silk of milkweed, fallen apples, ochre fields of golden corn, golden rod and woodland sunflowers

Tattered leaves—wind-beaten and devoured and encysted by insects

The drying garden—in this drying, a sense of ending—the coming end of flora, and in in human life as exemplified in Japan—in the coming visits to family graves near equinox

Against summer’s heat, an incoming coolness—a sense of beginning and freshness

The temperature shift now becoming literal in morning haze in midcontentent, as fogged Earth leans back from the sun—jeweled cobwebs and grass blade

Harvest moon—the full moon closest to equinox, rising within a half-hour of sunset, looking very large and brightening night, and so named for the gift of night illumination to complete the harvest.

IN THE NORTH AMERICAN mid-continent, September’s moderation of climate might inspire some symmetry between body-mind practice and the immanent season.

A middle way in body-mind practice, in between the tides of pressing to a physical edge and release, moderation is strongly expressed in third excellence of yoga: to allow the practice to be just what it is, to be what is optimal for that day, rather than to aspire to rush ahead.  Moderation is also expressed in Santosha—contentment with life-as-it-is.  In moderation, a release of tension appears.  In the calmness of moderation, nuances lost in the depletion of energy might appear, offering more clarity.  In moderation, more “space” and time is offered, allowing for deeply enriched states of being, such as charm and grace, to appear in the moments of practice.

Attention given over to moderation in body-mind practice can translate into optimal human attributes that extend into everyday life: Mental Calmness, Mediation, Diplomacy, Composure, Poise, Forbearance, Temperance, Tolerance, Peace, and Lenience

Moderation is the center wherein all philosophies, both human and divine, meet.
Benjamin Disraeli

In restorative yoga, perhaps there might be an overall rekindling of a strong sense of moderation in all poses.  And for special emphasis in this or any season, Mahamudra, an advanced seated pose for breath control that resembles Janu Sirasana, might be moderated for rich restorative practice to provide a place for deep listening to the body.  Modified,
  • Place either a bolster or rolled blanket under the knee of the extended leg to both bend and support knee, releasing hamstring and gastronemius muscle tension.
  • Place another rolled blanket or bolster atop knee. 
  • Lean gently forward, bending elbows and stacking hands softly on shins just below knee on extended leg, and resting head gently on support to release neck tension.  Support atop knee should also aspire to release tension in lumbar fascia. [Raising head support or adding a slight backward bend of the thoracic spine can reduce lumbar tension.  Perhaps wrap the body in a blanket. 
Once in the pose, inhale-exhale softly and evenly through nose.  With tension released, energy is optimized for focus on developing a stillness.  Then bring awareness to sensations that emerge from one’s entire body mass—a feeling of being fully inside the complete body rather than either focus on in a specific area or thoughts generated by the feelings, attending to the vitality of life force and energy that is continuously active throughout the body.  Relax and listen deeply.  Repeat on other side. 

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