Throughout my practice in yoga, I have noticed some things…..When I’m totally in my center, I am FLYING. In other words, feeling amazing, loving life, jumping out of bed, etc. But yes, sometimes I do struggle with events happening in my life. It’s in those times, where I feel “off center”, it reflects in my body as well. Not only feeling this way, but also noticing it in my yoga practice. Whatever you do on one side, you do on the other, so it’s easy to notice when you are “off”. In fact, those times where I’ve been feeling off, is when pain creeps in, knees, or lower back, or even wrists.
Over the years of teaching yoga therapy, some people have told me, their one leg is shorter than the other. Possible cause? They claim, “genetic’s”. But what is handed down to us by genetics, can contribute to feeling off, but we definitely have a say what happens to our bodies, through how we live, and our environment, so that is not necessarily the cause.
The good news here, is our yoga practice can and does help overcome the challenges we face, in our bodies, and our genetic makeup. Our yoga practice INSISTS we stay in the center, by doing poses on one side, then the other. It forces one leg to be just as strong, and flexible as the other side. Here is what the Muscle Technician has to say about this…….
“All these things add up along the way. And our bodies will compensate for various injuries. When we are young it’s not so much of an issue, young bodies are supple, but as we age all these little instances of soft tissue disturbances start to have an effect. Things like recurring injury, headaches, lower-back pain, neck pain etc can be traced back to some kind of imbalance in the body. These imbalances may have been there for many years but the pain may only show up in times of greater stress on the body.”
Here is a simple test to see if “your in the center”. Put your hands on a kitchen counter or higher table and press down evenly with body hands. Walk your feet back until your hips are over your legs. Reach both legs, hips back until your spine is completely straight. (people with tight hamstrings will have to bend their knees to get their spine straight.) You can also do this with hands at wall, but hands flat is easier to feel what’s going on. Now for the challenging part. Raise one leg behind you, keeping both hips level, AND most importantly not shifting over to the opposite side as you lift your leg. Some people compensate by bending their opposite elbow, or raising the same hip. Both hips should be level here. It’s helpful to have someone else watching you to make sure you are doing this correctly.
Here above is the first version, and to the right is the 2nd version, only imagine both pictures with their hands on the counter. Check and see if you are in the center. If not, practice more yoga, with teachers who know how to keep you in your center, and not cheat the pose, just to get into it. In the center you will find good health, vitality, and a unimaginable joy for life!
See you at Anahata Center!