Last weekend I had the incredible opportunity to attend a yoga festival…of classes and music, and sweet souls. I nourished my body, my mind and my heart. I walked in the dusty, windy desert grounds, I danced to the music around me, I moved to the words of instruction.
Above all, I was reminded of the need for balance between the ground and the sky. I mean, we walk on the earth, we sleep with our bellies open to the sky. But do we really think about what we are doing?
I propose that all we do relates us to what is below and what is above. In yoga, and I am finding in all “exercise” or body awareness modes, like Feldenkrais, physical therapy, lifting weights, etc. we are balancing between the ground and the sky.
So how does this translate to our bodies and our movement? When we stand, we root down through the feet. Maybe we press down through the big toes, or the 4 corners of each foot. We activate the leg muscles to feel the lower limbs and body supporting us.
That leaves the upper limbs and body to be able to move freely, to sway with the wind or do work like lift the arms or garden. The lower body is stable and supportive, while the upper body is lighter and more flexible, reaching to the sky.
In Taoism theory, this relates to the concepts of Yin and Yang, 2 equal yet opposing energies that unite to create harmony and balance. We do this all the time, as I illustrated above, by using the lower limbs and body for support to allow the upper body and limbs to have freedom of movement. There needs to be a balance of effort and ease, stability and flexibility, for us to feel wholeness.
We need both. We need strength and flexibility. We need the ground and the sky. We need stability as well as movement. The body and mind require balance and homeostasis for our health and well-being.
One of my favorite ways to work with the body is Yin Yoga. Yin provides the stability in the lower body while stretching the deep tissues around the joints. Practicing the postures in a Yin way, held longer than usual, allows the body to focus on the grounding of the lower body, letting it sink closer to the earth. Yin Yoga complements the active styles of yoga, our active lifestyles where we go, go go until we sleep.
How are you bringing balance into your life? Are you walking, running, or biking and stretching afterward? Do you work out, lifting weights for strength while practicing yoga postures for flexibility? In what ways do you find the balance between the ground and the sky?
Todays blog was written by Debbie Stevens firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie teaches yoga at FFL on Monday’s @ 6:00pm & Wednesdays at 5:00pm