Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Sunday 2011

Sherri will be teaching her regular Sunday 11 am class this weekend Easter Day. Join her- everyBUNNYS gonna be there!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Root Lock

The Root Lock in Vinyasa Yoga is called Mula Bandha. There are many bandhas or locks that we practice in Yoga- the hand lock- hasta bandha, the foot lock- paddha bandha, the chin lock- jalandhara bandha, the belly lock- uddiyana bandha, the mental lock- chitta bandha- all locks imply some elevation and/or lift, physically and energetically. The word lock is somewhat misleading- really by practicing the locks we are able to unlock forces and begin to use them consciously. The locks build energetic bridges that facilitate growth, healing and empowerment. Classical Yoga is not a philosophy which focuses on energy. There is no talk in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali about prana, kundalini or chakras- the Sutras are about the many ways to quiet the mind. Hatha Yoga comes to us from Classical Yoga. It is the practice of asana, pranayama and conscious relaxation- some traditions add seated meditation. When we practice Hatha Yoga with bandhas, we are adding a Tantric element- the manipulation of energy. I believe the Tantric path to be an accelerated spiritual path so for me the bandhas are of utmost importance. Even, arguably, more important than a focus on breath because by the practice of bandha, pure breathing comes naturally. Many Yoga teacher unfortunately do not have a clear understanding of the technique themselves nor an understanding of its importance so they cannot instruct what they do not know or practice. The outcome of a successful bandha practice is a body that is both strong and light- if we jump in our asana practice, the jumps begin to have less sound as we begin to land with more and more control. Emotionally we find that we are more resilient and steadier in the midst of change. Physically and energetically mula bandha is a mechanism of lift in the pelvic floor. Specifically, it is a lift at the cervix in women and lift at the perineum in men, but in the beginning, maybe even the first several years of serious practice, we may lift the muscles of the pelvic floor and even the contract the anal sphincter as well. Mula bandha is an activation of the trigger point to awaken Muladhara Chakra- the root energy center. There is a relationship between Muladhara Chakra and Ajna Chakra, the 3rd eye energy center, so when we awaken the root chakra the 3rd eye chakra begins to awaken as well. The root center is about material world balance- feeling safe, dealing with fear, anxiety, worry, prosperity, greed, addictions and having a strong foundation in life with a living space that nurtures us and a meaningful career with positive karmic consequences. The 3rd eye center is about clarity of vision, purpose, intuition, awareness and developing a perspective on reality that is more accurate. So the awakening of both centers simultaneously is a powerful push toward often radical life changes- we begin to see with more clarity the toxic nature of some jobs, relationships and living environments and find the power (fire) to take action. One student of mine used to own a bar and now has a body work practice- this is a sign of both energy centers awakening. Kundalini Shakti is the dormant creative force that is inherent in each of us. A force that, when awakened, enables humans to reach their greatest potential. Kunda means fire place- kundalini shakti is a dormant fire place nestled in the groove of the sacrum- the sacred bone in the hips. The plan to awaken Kundalini Shakti in Tantra is to build fire, energy, in the first 3 energy centers- root center, sexual center and navel center. If we can stoke these fires sufficiently the heat will awaken Kundalini from her celestial slumber. By the practice of mula bandha, Yogis set the stage for the awakening of this great creative force that is the mechanism of enlightenment. There are nerves in the sacrum that instigate the lift in the pelvic floor when we perform mula bandha. There are only 2 places in the spine where parasympathetic nervous system fibers are present- the sacrum and the neck. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the relaxation response in the body. When we perform mula bandha we evoke the relaxation response and the result is a huge release of muscular and mental tension. Not only does the physical body become light from mula bandha practice, we find that emotionally we feel lighter with this letting go of tension on a regular basis. The Yogic texts tell us that there are 72,000 nadis, or lines of energy, in the human body. (Some texts say more.) We are told that the point of origin for every single line of energy is in the pelvic floor. Physical work affects the pranic body and energetic work affects the physical body. When we engage mula bandha we stimulate all the energy lines in our body and the result is a more vibrant energetic field and the cultivation of radiant physical health. Mula Bandha was formerly a closely guarded secret technique that was taught only to experienced Yogis. It is only in recent history that this technique is now common knowledge, part of the public domain of information via books and the Internet and Yoga teachers now give even beginning students instruction in the technique. Everything is perfect, there are no accidents- it seems as though humans are ready for mula bandha practice en mass. We, my friends, do indeed live in interesting times.