One of the pleasures of teaching healing adaptive yoga is the joy expressed by students when they align their bones and immediately feel relaxed. This process is not as easy as it sounds. I have met many people with postural issues ranging from slightly rounded and misshaped to scoliosis, arthritis, chronic pain, Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus. After years of limited body awareness and the constant demand to move about in the world as they best can, their mobility has become severely compromised. It is a struggle to sit or lay, let alone properly walk.
When I teach Sitting Mountain Pose in chair and healing adaptive yoga classes, many students experience a “Wow” moment. This can occur when
- The feet and knees are pointing forward and are “2 fists” apart
- Heels are under the knees, feet are flat on the floor
- Elbows are tucked into the ribs, directly under the shoulders
- A support for the lumbar area, such as a rolled up towel, is in place
- The spine is extended up to the ceiling
- Shoulders are dropped back and down over the back ribs
- Head is positioned above the spine, chin is level, ears & shoulders align
We set this up as an intention because ideal posture can be difficult to maintain. Now, we focus on breath driven movement to further extend and flex the spine. The inhale creates a lifting, opening and “good space”; the exhale fosters grounding, releasing and closing.
Recently, students experienced and expressed benefits that include:
“being able to sit relatively still for 45 minutes without pain”
40+ year old female with chronic pain
“relief from tension in several areas of where I have muscle spasms”
40+ year old male with neuromuscular issues
“I can walk up right and more effectively”
Elderly female who uses a walker
“I can stand and sit up straight. I am taller and can feel the chair back for the first time.”
50+ year old female with neuromuscular issues
It has become clear that proper body alignment allows for an optimal flow of energy and muscle function that guides our comfort and movement. When we have sufficient awareness and support to create this alignment, we can conquer limitations.
Contact me at Howie@youcallthisyoga.org with your comments, questions and stories.