Yoga, Twisting Postures and Ownership

Ed’s thoughts on our twisting pose of the week

Hot Yoga class all in seated twist, some with bottom leg extended, some folded.

Hatha Yoga offers lots of twisting positions for us to work with. There’s much to learn

physically by exploring our own obliques and how our spines react to turning. There’s a

reflective journey to be taken too: twisting is an opportunity to consider how we turn away

from (or towards) ourselves.

Most people will identify aspects of their appearance or habits

that they then decide they don’t like. Equally, we can overstate the importance of some of

our characteristics. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t look for ways to change and evolve, or

that we shouldn’t be glad of our capabilities. I feel that a Yoga practice offers a chance to

own it all first, to drive conscious change.

It starts with breath. The in breath does lightly tug at skin and clothing, and provides a

reference point for the physical boundary of the body. Everything in there is us, as we are

today. In there, the good bits and the bad are together, side by side and within that

boundary, they are considered to be one. The out breath is our chance to relax into our own

unicity.

Hot Yoga class in Revolved Side Angle pose, hands at heart centre.

Our minds have evolved to think and assess – even reading these words, you’ll probably be

figuring out how valuable they are, and how (if at all) they relate to you. This is a more-or-

less automatic process and it’s essential for survival. It evolved for a reason. But we can of

course make these snap assessments about ourselves, and that can be unfairly harsh…or it

can be unduly sympathetic, or downright smug.

Breath is the link between the visceral reality of our bodies and the looping intelligence of

the software in our heads. Whatever we are doing – whether active and awake at work, or

asleep in the silence of our beds – our bodies will respond to the thoughts and dreams in

that drift in and out and our breath will reflect this.

So when practicing twisting postures, make a point of not just turning left and right, but

actively towards your own breath. Good breath or bad, it keeps us alive for the next

moment. It’s the one thing we can’t judge: we can only be grateful for what we have, right

now.

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