Ed’s thoughts on our twisting pose of the week
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
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