The Roundness of Ourselves in Yoga

Themes are threads I weave through yoga classes to hold the disparate elements together. Lately the themes have been weaving themselves. Last fall, the manic vata energy of the season seemed to beg for us to feel our contacts with the earth.  As we moved into the more sluggish kapha winter, all that downward focus asked for a counterbalance, so we brought some air and flow into our movements. First we used the breath somewhat forcefully, puffing out with sharp, rhythmic movements. Later, we attended to our flowing transitions between asana. Continuous through these practices was a sense of the roundness of ourselves—the roundness of the pelvis on the floor as it rolls, the roundness of the spirals the pelvis makes in space as we shift from standing pose to standing pose.

reed basketSo, now, in spring, the season of blooms, we continue to sense the roundness of ourselves, with special attention to the ribs. The rib cage, spherical and malleable, is essential to healthy breathing, and affects the movement along the entirety of the spine. In such close proximity to the shoulders, it has important influence on our reaching actions, and how we support ourselves on our hands (as in downward dog). I much prefer the German term for rib cage, actually: Brustkorb or “breast basket.” I imagine moist reeds woven along diagonal paths to create a protective, but not rigid, container. The ribs, according to Calais-Germain, are the most flexible bones in the body. Include with that fact that, in the front, what we mistake for ribs is actually cartilage, not bone, then we have to surmise that we can find more mobility in this area than we have imagined. Let’s throw off our rib cages and dress in our breast baskets instead!—reedy, round and mobile, all 24 of our liberated ribs can move as they are meant to.

All levels Yoga
Sundays, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Gentle Yoga
Mondays, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
(Drop in for $16 / $14 seniors, class cards for less)
Lotus Yoga
4860 Rainier Avenue South

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