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.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Coming To The Mat

Lance, Kinseth, Adho Mukha Shavanasana II

THE FIRST XCELLENCE of yoga, simple yet subtle:

“Coming to the spin bike” or to the treadmill or step machine, or to oh so soft tai chi or harsh tire-tossing MMA provokes experiences that are atypical.  A step out of the everyday routine to “exercise” will produce a rich qualitative shift out of the everyday.  And when the activity is completed, the endorphins kick in, and a little, beautiful, eloquent “high” is received, but likely not the 1st Xcellence of yoga.

In “body-mind” work, (different from “fitness,” but, of course, most “pop” yoga is really fitness, appealing to youthfulness and testosterone, profound qualities are the very reason for body-mind work.

  • Stillness: Calmness, quietness, relaxation vs. “fast & furious &/or hot, Hot, HOT.  Stillness offers a “Relaxation Response” that you don’t get in fast & furious, and also, an intense, very real, abrupt sensory shift producing diverse physiological changes that optimize health, affecting cardio/vascular [down to the micro vessels], neuro-, neuro-endocrine, lymphatic, and “energy” channels [Eastern] and  anti-anxiety and anti-depressant chemicals.

  • Threshold: In the concrete moment, and yet, a profound step out of the everyday:  Cross through the doorway leading to the yoga practice area, and you step across a threshold, if you get it.  In any body-mind—tai chi, aiki, yoga, and qigong, a tep out of the everyday, and into, where?  Where is it that you have allowed yourself to arrive?

  • Beingness: Letting go roles and agendas for a time—Dis-identification.  Stepping outside habitual consciousness: Roles or vocation, age, gender, ethnicity/race dropping off.  Transformation vs. discrimination.
  • Transpersonality: Everyday life expresses a larger life [that C. G. Jung associated with archetypes (i.e., themes underlying everyday decisions, such as marriage as "the way of all flesh," rather than being some unique, individual action) or Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s “interbeing,” or radical psychiatrist R. D. Laing’s  “inter-experience.”]  This is deep body-mind.

  • Intuition:  As the body calms and respiration transforms from perhaps 12-18 respiration cycles per minute to six or less, the body chemistry flips mind from everyday “chatter” to a more in-depth language.  And so, if one were to speak, the content would be more heart-felt.  Response then becomes more spontaneous, AND may come from a deeper intelligence.  Language that, heretofore, seemed imaginary or effusively hopeful, may become imaginal or from a deep place.

  • Invitation: Instead of an agenda, such as getting more fit or flexible, seeing what appears, without checking it.  The image that appears may be “too simple” or “confusing/I don’t get it.”  But skipping that admonition in yoga to set an “Intention” or “goal for practice” may open a door where there didn't appear to be one [less cultural or personal, but deeper, unexpected, creative, and rich].

Yoga can become a practice of expectations that has little to do with “body-mind” or “yoga.”

Quiet, calm, still.