Arriving

I want to tell you about one of my favorite practices, the Arriving practice. A portion of it is shown on the Homepage of this website. The Arriving practice is the starting point of an Embodiyoga™  class as developed by my teacher Lisa Clark. The first time I was introduced to it I was completely hooked and my body began to crave it. You may be wondering why? I mean, it does just look like lying on the ground. What’s the big deal? The deal is this, when we put as much of our body on the ground as possible it’s like plugging it into a potent power socket and getting a recharge and a reboot. Our connection to the earth is our first and most primary base of support and stability. When we consciously allow our bodies to feel the support of the ground and allow our weight to settle into it with the help of gravity, we begin to unwind the residual tension we are typically carrying around all the time. This is different than a nap, which can also be wonderful. While Arriving, the intent is to stay conscious of the parts of the body meeting the earth and allow the body to drop its full weight. In the video I am tuning into the side of my body that is on the ground and letting my bones rest into the support and experience the heavy, condensed, compressed sensation which is a feeling of being anchored.  With that sensation I am also able to perceive the sensation of the earth pushing back against me. This is the principle of Yield, consciously resting into support and feeling that support meet you. When we yield we are neither flopping limply nor holding ourselves up. We are resting evenly and able to feel a state of balanced ease. The only effort needed for this endeavor is attention. As more of the body gets further from the ground it gets more challenging and takes more attention. Tuning into the anchored underside of the pose, which gravity is supporting and the push back against the body, which is levity, enables one to experience the buoyancy of the upper side of the body which is in space so we can move with ease and lightness. I find it amazing to simultaneously experience gravity and levity and these forces are always available to us if we just “plug into” them. When I do the Arriving practice my body feels ease, balance, natural strength and containment. This brings me back to myself. I love to do it often, even if I only have 5 minutes for one side of the body. My preferred practice is at least 5 minutes on every side of my body.  I recommend doing an Arriving practice when you are feeling fatigue, achiness, crankiness, anxiety or at the beginning of any physical practice. This will clarify for you where your strength and support actually lie. You can even practice Arriving in a sitting or standing stance by simply tuning into what is meeting support, dropping your weight into it and feeling the support meet you. Life with all of it’s excitement, tensions, distractions and intensity can really take us outside of ourselves. By settling into the earth we can arrive back into who we are at our most base level, natural ease. If you want a little more guidance to get you started with an Arriving practice, please visit embodiyogalisaclark.com Go to podcasts at the bottom of the homepage. I recommend you begin with the Bonding with Gravity practice.

Enjoy!

How often do you bend?

 

Have you ever estimated or even thought about how many times you bend forward in one day? The moment your feet hit the floor at the start of your day begins an endless succession of bending just to move through life. We do it so much in fact that we are hardly aware of doing it at all. Most of us even know someone who has “thrown their back out” while bending over.

Even if we are accustomed to forward  bends through yoga or other forms of exercise, once our attention is divided it’s easy to quickly become unaware of just how we are bending. This makes us vulnerable to injury. What if we were to develop an awareness of when and how we are bending to help us to naturally stretch and strengthen our bodies? Then the multitude of mundane tasks we perform daily could actually become welcome opportunities for toning and relieving tension. The way to take these everyday tasks from burdensome to benevolent is by performing these tasks with awareness and intent, this can supply you with some of the most important stretching and strengthening exercises you need to remain healthy, strong and attractive. This is a fundamental way of staying well.

 The next time you need to bend over to pick something up, slow down. Notice your belly, are you holding it in? If you are, let it soften, relax your belly. That’s right, relax your belly. Let that relaxation seep down into your groins and pelvic region, if you need a mental image here think about where your underwear touch the top of your thighs, that’s part of your pelvic region and groins.  Right there, relax. Begin to let your pubic bone release through your legs. You want to let the relaxation in your belly transfer to a deep relaxation in your hip joints so that the pelvis may rotate freely over the tops of your thigh bones. When you begin to notice pulling sensations (stretching) on the backs of your thighs, soften your knees forward. Let the weight stay towards the back of your feet in your heels. To put this simply, whatever you are bending towards, your rump moves away from it.

Developing a deep awareness takes time and repetition, intention and attention. By bending in your hips, knees and ankles you protect your spine from injury. This is a simple thing you can do daily to preserve your health. Begin developing  awareness in your everyday tasks of how many opportunities you have to bend forward. You may want to keep it simple for awhile and just choose one thing you do daily that is a forward bend and follow these guidelines to the letter. As you begin feeling the stretching in your thighs and rump you may be pleased to try more! Remember these things, slow down, relax your belly, release your pubic bone through your thighs. And please come to class soon so you can be checked and rest assured that you are bending your way to better health!