“Now is the time to mirror the flowering in the plant world by expressing your own creative fullness in your heart, life and expression in the world” ~ Shiva Rea
Unfurling: unfolding, expanding, developing, opening out, spreading out…..
The natural world often inspires my yoga practice, and I love doing yoga outside on the grass in my garden, on a hillside or on the beach (with my husband pretending he’s not with me!). At this time of year, the ferns in my garden are just unrolling and unfurling, changing almost by the day. I took some of them in to my classes a week or so ago, and got a few strange looks when I said how much they remind me of the spine unfurling.
The spinal wave is a key concept in Dru yoga, and we often mention unrolling the spine from the base up to the crown of the head with a flowing wave-like movement. To me, the fern perfectly illustrates that concept as it grows taller and unfurls from the bottom of it’s stem right up to the top. As it unfurls, its leaves expand too – like the ribs on either side of the spine. So it ends up like this……
Tall, open, expanded, strong yet flexible. All qualities that I aspire to through my yoga practice.
Does anything in nature inspire you or help you with your yoga practice?
From ‘The Inner Life of Asanas’ by Swami Lalitananda…….
“…. in the city, I see the effects of stressful lifestyles often related to work – the tight shoulders, the worried brows, the feeling that ‘I don’t have time’…The principles that are learned in class can be taken back to work. Once you experience the difference between tension and relaxation, you can relax in the moment. … The spinal twist, in a modified form can be discreetly practiced in most work situations. Symbolically, too, the twist relates to work. How often do you wind yourself into action and only take time to ‘unwind’ when you leave the workplace?”
Twisting movements are very good for keeping the spine flexible, and also give the internal organs a nice massage, so are good for the digestion and for detoxing. The spinal twist (ardha matsyendrasana) can transform negative emotions into more positive ones by spiralling our energy upwards, and often has a rejuvenating effect. As above, the twisting postures remind us to unwind and release knots of tension.
The warrior of light sometimes behaves like water, flowing around the obstacles he encounters.Occasionally, resisting might mean being destroyed, and so he adapts to the circumstances. He accepts without complaint that the stones along the path hinder his way across the mountains.Therein lies the strength of water: it cannot be shattered by a hammer or wounded by a knife. The strongest sword in the world cannot scar its surface.
The waters of a river adapt themselves to whatever route proves possible, but the river never forgets its one objective: the sea. So fragile at its source, it gradually gathers the strength of the other rivers it encounters.
And, after a certain point, its power is absolute.
From Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho
Yoga encourages us to go with the flow and be flexible. Sometimes, when you’re stiff you might try and push yourself into a posture, which invariably doesn’t work. If you accept, relax and breathe into the stretch, you’ll find the stiffness starts to melt away, little by little, working gently with your body. And if the tightness in your body remains, accept that, work around it and develop your own inner strength to find the stillness and peace within you.
In Dru yoga, we work with the flowing warrior posture to develop that inner strength and use it so we can help others.