In the last inquiry post I wrote that the body and mind collaborate through an unspoken language. It is a system of organization by automatic pilot that moves you in the right direction if all the signals are clear.
But what happens if the signals are not clear and your organization goes offline so to speak? Will you be able to willfully remember and retrieve data so that you can manage yourself manually?
Most of us have had the experience of changing computers or programs and losing automatic access to a site that had “remembered” our password for us. If we’ve forgotten or lost our password we’re now locked out. It’s important to keep the muscle memory of our secret keys.
I was a dancer. My muscle memory allowed me to move with grace. It was automatic. Now I have a damaged hip and a fused lumbar spine. I cannot automatically move according to the data that worked for a healthy system. I must input unique passwords to retrieve healthy movement. Otherwise what follows the first flawed motion will take me down a bad path.
It’s called compensation and it’s a useful way for the body to organize in emergencies but it’s just for emergencies. When it is used as a permanent fix, things can go badly.
They went badly for me. I was intense and too impatient to heed injuries so by the time I noticed them I was already in the weeds. I’ve had to retrain muscles that would not fire. I am trying to encourage opportunity for damaged nerves to renew. Automatic is nice but when you need to manually operate it pays to keep your awareness sharp and your memory strong.
Here’s an example of taking an automatic task and doing it purposefully. Then you may see for yourself that you have the ability to tinker with your system. This is a powerful thing to know. This is deliberate yoga and an exercise in empowerment.
In asana practice we start with the breath as we move into a posture. The combination of inhale or exhale and movement affects the expansion or contraction of muscle to bone. This happens automatically to a degree which is why Surya Namaskar Asana is a good lesson for beginners.
Do the first four postures in the sun salutation pressing the skeleton to its fullest expression. Create the form first and invite the breath to fill the space afterward.
Note! This is an exercise and not recommended for use in your practice. This exercise is not appropriate for beginners.
Inhale ~ Arms overhead – Lift the chest and press the upper circumference of ribs apart (Hasta Tadasana)
Exhale ~ Arms down – Hug the legs, buttocks and belly and turn the inner armpits forward in conjunction as you roll the upper arm bone back and tone the shoulder blades (Samasthiti)
Inhale ~ Lift arms parallel to floor laterally and press side ribs open
Exhale ~Join palms at the sternum. Let the shoulders and elbows drop. Keep the expansion of the ribs as you lift the chest (Atmanjali Mudra)
The purpose of this exercise is to create awareness where habit may have made you dull. Automatic is only good in a foolproof system. I don’t know of anything foolproof as all things change Only a fool would believe otherwise.