Bringing the Mind into the Body with Alignments

In Longevity Yoga class,  we talk about bringing the mind into the body. Basically, this is an instruction to bring your attention inside and feel what’s happening in your body. In this culture where so much emphasis is placed on thinking and accomplishing externally, this is not always an easy task. We may feel some parts or our insides vividly, while other areas are totally elusive.

katie-slack.jpgHere’s a suggestion to make the process easier. As you get into your alignments, pay particular attention to the balance of lifting and dropping – lifting through the kwa (at the crease where the leg meets the torso), the mid and upper spine and the juncture where the spine meets the occiput – and dropping through the lower spine, relaxing the chest downward toward the belly, relaxing the face. In so doing you may get a feel that you are “taking the slack out” of the whole body. Be sure to do this without creating tension.

Borrowing a descriptive image from Zero Balancing (bodywork), consider the sail of sailboat that is slack and loose in the winds – in this case, the boat is buffeted by random forces; however, by taking out the slack of the sail just a bit, the sailor feels the winds around her clearly and can work with them usefully.

Similarly, having too much looseness in the body when we practice, our minds can be buffeted, so to speak, by random thoughts and sensations, and it is more difficult to feel what’s happening inside clearly. Using alignments to “take out the slack” , our minds will tend to focus more easily and we can feel more specifically what’s happening inside.