Yoga teachings and reading
This term we have been looking at the three antaraya that discuss issues around direction:
- brāntidarśana – confused direction
- alabdhabhūmikatva – lack of direction
- anavasthitātvani – loss of direction
Working with asana we have brought attention to the psoas muscle or hip flexor. As well as bringing flexion to the hip, this muscle also gives feedback to the body in stressful situations and can become chronically tight with chronic stress patterns as well as hours in a seated position. One of the most effective ways to release this muscle is through movement, being aligned and using the breath to favour the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) rather than sympathetic nervous system (fight and flight response). A tight, inflexible psoas can affect both our ability to find a physical direction and can keep us fixed mentally.
We have thought about the hands bringing direction to asana, leading us into and out of shapes, particularly in utkatasana (squat). And this week we returned to the idea of the breath bringing direction. This can be really felt in the inhale where the spine and limbs can be felt lengthening, capitalising on the foundation of the exhale.
You also chanted Yoga sutra Chapter 1.30 brilliantly – thanks for just doing it. I think we did a great job!
We have four sessions in the summer, yet to be planned. In September we will explore how to counter the antaraya (obstacles to a yoga state – see earlier blogs). This term we have turned our attention to the exhale and BK (pause after the exhale) which is one, very powerful tool for releasing habits and clearing obstacles to reveal space and clarity. It doesn’t happen immediately. We will discuss what this means over the autumn and winter.
This reading from John O’Donohue illustrates our theme this term:
I am away until the beginning of August and will look forward to checking in, replying to emails and confirming appointments on my return.