Monday, August 13, 2012

Are you holding? Let it go.

That one, the one with her back to you, that's me, yours truly. Take a look at that right shoulder - that's classic holding. I'm pulling my right shoulder blade in that causes tension all the way through my elbow to wrist, hand, and fingers.

If you look at that right hip (it's okay, this is a kind of anatomy lesson), you can also see how I'm more drawn in than I am on the left. Can you see how it affects the back of my right knee and calf?

Yoga Sutra 2.46 (sthirasukhaasanam) tells us that our posture should have the dual qualities of alertness without tension, and relaxation without dullness or heaviness (from Reflections on Yoga Suutras of Patanjali by TKV Desikachar).

My left side in this photo is close to that balance yet my right side is drawn in. To find that balance, I need to release that tension on my right side, which I can do by first being aware that I'm holding, and then exhaling and using visualization to send that exhale into the holding area. Three long exhales will usually do it. And, yes, it's that simple. What initiates that holding anyway? Mind, of course. So Mind needs to engage fully with Breath to help Body find its way to that place of stability and comfort.

It can be a lot easier to see than it can be to recognize when you are holding or locked into a gripping pattern. What is the difference between holding and gripping? And what difference does it make to you? We'll take a look at that next time.

Oh, and that's Ephiny in the background with one of her new students.  We practice Horse-Assisted Yoga with her and her herd mates at Judith Tarr's Dancing Horse Farm every third Friday of the month (Tucson). 

Thanks to Evie Brettthe photographer gifted at catching these teaching moments.