It's Thursday and Steve and I are in the lovely town of Chapel Hill, NC. Steve is attending a Yin yoga training with Sarah Powers and I am, well, enjoying the heck out of unadulterated free time. Before I tell you the thrilling activities I am taking part in I want to state that it is so lovely to watch my partner (and husband!) find and follow his spiritual path. Before I dated Steve I made a list of must-haves in a partner. At the top of this list was that he be actively developing himself spiritually and emotionally . . . . that, whatever his spiritual path was, it be one he followed with commitment and zeal. It is amazing how the intentions of our hearts are heard and I am ever grateful and in awe of the satisfaction and delight it brings me to be with a partner that listens and follows his heart's and soul's yearnings.
Quickly, I went to Paul Sobin's class this morning and it was SO fun. He and his wife Sommer (who is a full 9 mos. pregnant and will deliver any minute now) are both certified Anusara teachers and hold Immersions and Teacher Trainings (thousandpetalsyoga.com). This was a level 2 practice class so Paul practiced with us. I love practice classes as they inspire and delight me to no end. I also, as quite a talker and social butterfly, like the casual and encouraging atmosphere cultivated in a practice. It is always great to see how my teacher practices . . . I ALWAYS learn so much. Today we did scorpian handstand, a pose I have never done. I love how the Universal Principles of Alignement (UPAs) are always opening and revealing a new way for my body to feel, express, open and harness energy.
It is my intention to write about the 5 Universal Principles of Alignment. Mainly for the Athens, GA gang. I find that as we grow as a group of Anusara students, there are many people who really dig the practice and would like to study the alignment principles but may not know all 5 principles or understand them. First, this is an ongoing process (which is part of the delight) that is ever-unfolding and revealing itself to each of us in varied detail. Second, I cannot recommend an Immersion enough if you would really like to be a student of the Anusara principles in greater detail. Ask me if you'd like some direction on Immersions.
So, today is the 2nd UPA, Muscle Energy. (My last post was the 1st UPA, Open to Grace)
Muscle Energy's emphasis, as stated in the Anusara Teacher Training Manual, "is to draw all the parts into one whole with the attitude of self-embracing".
John Friend talks about Muscle Energy as "not merely moving from periphery to core (as it does), but as the core, in its longing to know itself, drawing all of the parts of the self to it". (from the amazing blog:yoganerd.blogspot.com)
The UPAs are so cool because they are an elegant system of taking care of ourselves. Honoring and remembering the Spirit that shines within us. Anusara suggests that God created us out of a yearning to know Itself. Likewise, we have the opportunity to know ourselves more fully (and this helps us know Creator more-it just rolls like that) :-) We must hug to the principles that we know to be true. By remembering this longing to know our fullness more we express our unique hearts and this is a beautiful gift and service to the entire Universe. Okay, I feel myself climbing onto the proverbial pulpit, but I just have to say this: Don't give up! Keep hugging in. This is where it is at . . . YOU, beautiful you.
The following is straight from the ATTM:
Muscle Energy has three main directions of flow which occur in the following sequence:
1. Hugging the core evenly on all sides. Specifically ME flows from the outer circumference to the core lines of the body. The energy flow is from skin to muscle. Ex: Hug your skin evenly on all sides around the muscles of your legs.
2.Drawing the arms, legs, and neck toward the midline or medial core of the body. In whatever initial position the appendages are in, they are isometrically drawn toward the midline via the shortest possible route. Ex: "shins in": hug your shins isometrically towards the midline of your body
3. Drawing from the extremities of the hands, feet and head into the Focal Point of the pose. Ex: From your fingertips, draw the head of your arm bone into your shoudler socket.