The Yoga Loft, San Francisco
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Pelvic Floor & More
Often times in yoga class, I like to remind students that yoga practice is a long journey to the center of the center, the root of the root, the core of the core. In more specific terms, it is a journey to the pelvic floor. If we could all better understand how to consistently access, strengthen, stabilize and utilize the muscles of the pelvic floor, bodies would begin to float (rather than struggle) through the practice. We would be kinder to ourselves. Symptoms would be minimized. Alignment would be attained from the inside out, rather than the other way around. Even our voices would be more doubtless, more connected up with the truth we are living in our bodies. In short, we would have a much greater understanding and acceptance around what it really feels like to ‘let go and let God.’
So, if you are interested in this deep and actual ‘core work’ (abdominals come later!), please join me at Yoga Country next weekend for a 3-hour workshop that will shed light on mula bhanda, and everything else that happens at the base of the body. The afternoon will begin with an educational discussion followed by experiential movements to awaken your connection to this often mysterious area. The workshop is open to ALL levels of practice and can benefit students who deal with pelvic pain, lower back, hip or groin problems, incontinence, prolapsed organs, are about to have a baby or have recently had one…or are just plain curious about why the pelvic floor is to so key to the magic of a good yoga practice.
I am convinced that if we could squeeze the original Star Wars trilogy between the palms of our hands, we would be left with a really good, really pure Hatha Yoga practice. Remember this dialogue between young Luke Skywalker and his teacher Obe-Wan Kenobi?
Obe-Wan: Remember, Luke..a Jedi can feel the force flowing through him.
Imagine back to the greatest state of innocence that you can possibly recall. The way it felt last time you stood in the middle of a wet forrest and allowed the smell of the forrest floor to overwhelm whatever else might be happening in your life. Or leaning with your back up against the sturdiness of an old tree, for example. Or staring out at the Pacific Ocean in a way that worked to both fill and empty the heart simultaneously as your feet sunk just a little, the perfect amount, into rough and salty sand.
Back and back and back. Because these are the states that work to open the body. And as my teacher Sofia loves to repeat, ‘Freedom IS an Open Body!’ It has taken me about a decade to realize this in the way that I have wanted to realize it, which is more now from the place of experience and less from that of the sheer gutsiness that it took to make my mind up to trust her in the first place.
In the house where I grew up, my kid-bedroom had a magical crawl-space, most practically fated for storage purposes. But I saw this crawl-space as absolutely sacred in that it had a latchable wooden door and, for some reason, it was also carpeted, painted, and well & softly-lit. This was my place. It saved me. I saved it. Every day after school, I would crawl into this sacred place for the unfurling of imagination with my three best friends. In time, the room collected all kinds of things of our loving. We had a record player and all of our favorite records from ‘The Muppet Story’ to ‘Chicago 17’ to all of Cyndi Lauper. The music evolved over time. But I can certainly remember listening to ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ about a thousand times on repeat in there, and I can also remember taking the time to transcribe every word to every song that I had ever truly fallen in love with, as if my life depended on it. And, who knows, maybe it did.
In that cave-like place somewhere in the the midst of suburban condominium sprawl, innocence lived and thrived. A pod of girls talked, giggled, confessed, wrote poems, and called and hung up on boys. And…and this is very important!…we also did inversions on the wall because the wall space was just about high enough for the extension of our legs in what-we-didn’t-know -then was Viparita Karani. It just felt good to be upside down, and it was fun.
So now, as I hang wall ropes and curtains in the small & cozy-perfect room in the back of the graceful studio that is Steadfast & True in Nashville, Tennessee, I am giving out a giant Divine Wink. It is all starting to make sense. This place, this sanctuary, this return to some place that is so new and so strangely, beautifully familiar. Place-allujah!
Posted October 29th, 2010 | Leave a Comment