615.419.3604 hilarylindsayyoga@gmail.com

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...

Your Yoga Practice is a Tandem Rowboat Race

The two rowers rowing in ‘tandem‘, need to be well matched and synchronized to make this work. If one pulls too hard or the other not enough, the boat will go off course. You have two of each limb, this many fingers, these toes, matching hips etc. which is why you buy two shoes, two gloves, two legged pants. But they don’t work exactly the same way. They may even look different on close inspection but you don’t notice. It’s like, how long have you had that mole? I don’t know. What mole!   We don’t notice the subtle differences one side to the other because they don’t matter until we are uncomfortable.   The intelligent way to practice yoga when you want to refine your impressions is to work unilaterally.   Divide the body down the spinal line to conquer habit and dullness. Bring your awareness to the skull as well, divided by the bridge of the nose. When you can expand your focus to hold more events at once, you will unite and conquer the same postures that can otherwise be your downfall.   For example, you can spread your collarbones and stop or you can see if one or the other can move again. The one that can move again would not have had the opportunity if you had left it at the first pass. Behind, the shoulder girdle and its muscles will become uneven in effort and tone as well. This will effect the spinal muscles which will effect the pelvis.   The tailbone is an interesting place to consider as well.  You can’t see...

Empty Footprints and the Bandhas: Inquiry and Experience #9

  Stand in Mountain Pose, Tadasana Feet root to the ground, tail roots to the heels, head rises from the tail, chest rises and arms draw down   Shift to one leg and raise the other foot in the air, knee bent Where does your tongue go? Is it at the roof of the mouth? Is there hardness to the breath? Can you feel the pinch of the pelvic floor and the tightening of the diaphragm? This is the drawing in of the sphincter muscles that correspond to the bandhas Are you gripping?   Stand down   Step forward purposefully as if over your own arch and raise the other foot, knee bent Is the tongue in a different place? Is it at the bottom of the mouth? Is there softness to the breath? Can you feel the light lift of the pelvic floor and the soft expanse of the diaphragm? Is this easier?   When there is too much effort, the trunk clamps down on itself and confines you. When you try to gain space in a posture done with wrong effort, that space may not be good space but compressed space. There will be a lack of prana or grace. When you include space when creating your pose, that space will be good. There will be a sense of prana or good flowing energy and grace. Asana is interpreted as good space. The bandha tone comes naturally when the muscles are directed correctly. This is a combination of sthira and sukkha which is effort and ease. Good space during effort is described by the bandhas. The bandhas...

Memory:If the System Goes Down Will Your Data Be Saved? Inquiry and Experience #5

  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...

Everyone is Uneven: Inquiry and Experience #2

    Study a photograph of your face cut down the middle and notice that the two sides are not identical. The naked body will reveal the same thing. Most of us are uneven.   When I started teaching yoga I saw a room full of people. As I became more seasoned I saw a room full of individuals. How would I teach them all with their disparate unevenness!   I explore sensation with my own body, examine the process of dealing with my own pain and pleasure and begin with the assumption that no one is even. I can only offer what I know for fact. Insight and experience give me the confidence to teach through the template of my own crooked being and all it has done to right itself toward an experience of quality. New students are usually less sensitive to imbalance and it gives them the opportunity of awareness. My most uneven students are teachers or experienced students who reap tremendous benefit from this approach. People who are fairly balanced have the opportunity to work with more precision.   Here are a few explorations of potential imbalance that might lead to harm if not considered in a yoga practice.   Inquiry # 2:   Sitting ~ Contract your buttocks. Does one side contract faster than the other? If so, contract the slacker side first when doing symmetrical strength postures or exercises.   Standing~ Bend your knees. Does one knee bend faster than the other? If so, drive the heel of the foot on the side that is slacker harder into the floor as you proceed....