615.419.3604 hilary@activeyoga.com

WIRED.

  I always ask them, why did you come to yoga today? Most of them stay silent hoping I’ll ignore them or just do anything, anything other than demand an answer. Today a couple of folks wanted a body mind connection.   You will move your body. You will breathe with intention to inspire that movement. That will connect your body and mind. But your mind is a tricky construct created between you and impressions of the world. It is both your protector and foil. You want to connect to more of yourself than that. But the mind says there is nothing more. This is the work. And the work is intimacy that you were trained to avoid.   We are a network of nerves.   What does that have to do with your yoga practice? You came here expecting to move in familiar ways. You came here expecting me to tell you to breathe as if that was the measure of your endurance or consciousness, as if that done with precision will mean the yoga is working.   We see, hear, taste, smell, touch and think of that which comes in from an outside source. We have another sense of our movement in relation to space. Simultaneously, we have internal senses that measure impressions of the world within. These senses dictate our behavior both consciously and automatically.  We are a matrix of nerves wired to compute 24/7. We are not familiar with all of ourselves because all of ourselves is vast beyond present measurement.   People come to yoga for relief and they try to blow past sensations...

Somatic Yoga. Ladybug v. the Beetle

I cleaned out an old desk and found this described in a flyer from a workshop I taught in 2008: Balancing Structure and Freedom The student moving from precise focused alignment to an exploration of the senses will come away with a deeper awareness of asana as the physical expression of yoga philosophy. The student will also be guided to freedom of movement within and without form to create form.   The second part of that workshop presented a study in inductive v. deductive body reasoning which is why an Iyengar student back in the day described my classes as back door yoga. The pose is revealed as the parts come together. You might say, as the parts become organized as a whole.   This is based on my experience of yoga. This is what a yoga teacher offers. It is not regurgitation of something before them.  It is the expression of that information now digested by their unique digestive juices.   My yoga developed during years of dual study in Iyengar and Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement. These practices do not involve opposing subtleties but they are opposing dynamics.  They are taught independently in different worlds of somatics. That informed my teaching at a time few people were studying either. Now I see the online yoga world discovering the benefits of subtle movement .  What felt unique to me is becoming “a thing”. That is a good thing.   But when I wonder what I have left to offer any student that hasn’t been done before, when I become frustrated that I’ve said and done it all, I am...

What Does Karma Have to Do With Your Yoga Practice?

  Karma describes the cycle of action creating a reaction which causes a further action. It is called the wheel of karma because it is a loop. It can indicate a lack of consciousness when the reactions do not reap positive change. In your asana practice it can manifest as non-productive aggression. That aggression results in discomfort. Yet asana is described as a comfortable seat. How do you manage karma in your yoga practice in a yoga class? Mimic the outer form of the posture.  That is the guide and imposition of external force.  That is the action. Then move within that form until it is comfortable. That is the reaction. Extend yourself with your breath into the outer reaches of that form. Adjust again and again until you are comfortable even for two breaths. Hold the space in the pose because you have stability because you can do that now. Be in the pose and don’t push. The breath is all the action you need. Receive and release the breath. Do not force it. If your pose has a positive effect the movement of breath will be pleasing. Recognize the sensation before you feel the need to shift again, because you will, because nothing but death is static.  Notice what ease feels like as the wheel of karma momentarily stops.  ...

No Stability, No Space. Closed Chain Yoga with Hilary Lindsay

Closed chain describes exercise where the limbs are steadied by a constant surface. It keeps the energy in the distal and proximal length of the limbs at once and crosses several joints at once. It bounces us back to the spine. A modern yoga teacher often uses the word “open”. Without a sense of center or place to open from, this description can be confusing in a physical yoga practice. Here the postures demand movement from the core. The core surrounds and supports the spine and brain. The sensation of opening in this case is the stretch of muscle bone and fiber once activated and rooted. This is stability. Once stable the nervous system calms and has space to pay attention, to direct attention. No stability~no space. Ignite what supports the spine and brain. Bring physical energy to the core in order to ground the student. Without grounding, opening is not only confusing but dangerous. Furthermore it makes for a whole lot of yoga absurdity. Who hasn’t been in a group of open hearted yogis who are more posture than substance? I know I have. I have fled the yoga studio scene because of that lack of sincerity. Using unstable bands, bands that stretch, encourages the nerves to find center in an unstable world. It adds an element of reality to the practice of yoga with props. I am introducing yoga using therapy bands. For instruction contact me at activeyoga@comcast.net. My studio comes with me. Here is the first video.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7NRrtDpP3g The cues for action and awareness will be...

What Does “Move Energy” Mean in Your Yoga Class?

Energy is shrouded in mystery because we can’t see it. What we see and feel as the materialization of energy can be confusing as well.  Yoga is sometimes described as a method to manage energy. That refers to the energy of thought and intention. The means to that is physical energy because physical gives bodily sensation to something intangible. In yoga we create the sensation of energy by giving it weight. We contract muscles to create force. We synchronize the restriction and release of the muscles in coordination with the breath.  The first weight is made by the windpipe.  The breath becomes sensational and intimate as you orchestrate the narrowing of the windpipe to hear breath and feel it in a pleasing way.   There are also muscle groups that act as sphincters or round muscles. The constriction of those sphincters is sometimes referred to as bandhas.   Bandhas turn on as we create force along the spine, pelvis and shoulders by engaging the muscles of the limbs, buttocks and belly with precision to ignite our posture. The effort of the muscles will have varying effects on our spine depending on the pose. We are not just moving muscles and bones but corralling energy to become form.   Asana is the intensification of awareness. When that awareness dissipates we can escalate the movement of energy by tweaking the posture. We are moving energy. A finished posture is the eye of the storm. Force formed a shape to contain the quiet. Then energy no longer needed weight. You became the sum of that energy for the moment until something shifted...

Tangled Up Inside

Your body is a nervous system, a union of several nervous systems. The nerves transmit electric signals. You are an integration of communicators and receptors. Picture a cinematic disaster with bystanders and emergency responders frantically grasping for answers and direction. Does your body ever feel that way?   You are a bundle of nerves navigating uncharted territory every day. You are under stress. Wires overheat. Circuits go haywire. You want to manage the stress.  If you’ve recognized it you’ve done step one. Now what are the effects of the de-stressor you chose? You are high but is the stress gone? You’ve exhausted your muscles but is the stress gone? You relaxed but is the stress gone? You’ve eaten a cake but is the stress gone?  If not, where is it? Can you repair those hot wires?   Let them cool as you sit with sensation. Consider your choices. Approach as a novice. You are.  Approach as an intuitive being. You are. Test and re-test. It’s your computer lab. You keep the notations.   For your complex energy web.     Save Save...