The other night, my partner got a migraine. He was writhing in bed, ibuprofen scattered around the room, ice packs and hot water bottles strewn everywhere. I did what I do best in emergencies: research.
“The body never lies,” Janet Stone said in a workshop on the yogic concept of satya, or truth. “We misinterpret it, ignore it, and project our ideas onto it, but the body itself never lies.”
Our mouths sure do, though. Even if we don’t tell boldfaced lies, we all withhold aspects of the truth, revert quickly to what we want to believe rather than listening openly, we hide aspects of ourselves from others, and most of all, we lie to ourselves. And that’s okay: it’s only human.
The massage therapist slid her hand under my sacrum, and waited. I wasn’t sure what this was supposed to feel like and apparently nothing was happening.
“What do you feel?” she asked, keeping her hand still. I closed my eyes.
Movement has the power to heal, to cultivate strength, and to nourish the mind–body connection. Try these DVDs to explore your own dynamic flow—all from the comfort of home.
Designed to alleviate chronic pain, the Egoscue Method offers a series of movements to support proper body alignment. The Egoscue Pain Free Workout offers a general guided home practice. (shop.egoscue.com)
Also try: Alexander Technique. (alexandervideo.com)
Anger: we all know it, many of us well. But at a yoga party, it would be gauche to bring up the raging intensity sitting in your gut. We’re all focusing on the positive here, right?
Not exactly. Yoga is in part a practice for life. It’s natural and normal to feel anger, and yoga can help us find the compassionate action that the anger is sometimes trying to point us toward.
This is how bad things have gotten: I am squatting on my floor by a low table to write this because I threw out my back again and I am in extreme pain. Pain, however, can lead to resting, also known as sitting in my apartment with nothing to do, which makes me feel like the craziest of crazy, so I must find some way of working. Hence squatting before my altar to the Lord of the Internet.
You know when you feel stuck? I mean really stuck? Maybe you’re stuck in a bad marriage, or a really crappy job. Or you’re stuck with a body that is causing you grief (for whatever reason). Or perhaps you feel stuck and need to let out more of your creative light, say, write a book or start drawing or painting (again), or reinvigorate your vitality at work.
In one of my first yoga classes, my teacher pointed to my elbows. A quick glance in the mirror revealed that my arms were bent at a most unnatural angle—almost backward—in many poses. I discovered that I habitually hyperextended my elbows, forcing the joints to take the strain, rather than the muscles.
A guide to the ultimate home practice.
I wish I could speak like music.
I wish I could put the swaying splendor
Of the fields into words
So that you could hold Truth
Against your body
I am trying the best I can
With this crude brush, the tongue,
To cover you with light.
I wish I could speak like divine music.
I want to give you the sublime rhythms
Of this earth and the sky's limbs
As they joyously spin and surrender,