Part 1 - Seven Universal Actions
The practice of yoga asana is not concerned with making the shape in the space, but with what’s going on inside. The easy stability that is alignment encompasses structural integrity (earth), functional freedom (water), energetic harmony (fire), internal spaciousness (air) and effortless attention (space).
Type of Event
please arrive 15 minutes earlier
Earth represents stability – the ability to maintain structural integrity under stress. It is embodied in asana. Asana is easy stability in the physical structure, in which each part of the body is aligned with the others to support the whole effortlessly. By stabilizing the body, our mind also begins to stabilize and quieten. Focusing on structure, utilizing the principles of alignment, is the earth aspect of practice. The superficial application of earth is to approach alignment in a linear manner, losing oneself in the detail. The subtle application is an intuitive approach, grounded in sensitization, whereby the energy of opposition is utilized to activate emptiness, Establishing earth requires the utilization of pressure; the sign of its presence is the opposite, emptiness.
The way that we use our limbs to support the foundation is crucial. The activity of the muscles of the limbs is subtle. The muscles used are used not to articulate the bones, but to cradle and support them. This involves lengthening and sealing muscle groups into the bones. This is the use of the motor muscles which is unfamiliar to us. We must be patient in learning it. We learn to contract only the ends of the muscle body, right at the origin and insertion, so as to lengthen the centre of the muscle and flattens it against the bone.
The sealing action of the muscles of the limbs is more than an anatomical process. It is a physiological one too. It promotes a deep release in the tissues, nerves, capillaries, veins, ducts and channels of the skin and joints.
This session will focus on functionally integrating the body through subtle action. This requires the activation of the Seven Universal Actions of yoga posture practice which generate the bandhas in the whole body. In doing so the body is brought into the deep, quiet stillness of quantum resonance without requiring extremes of strength and flexibility.