This last week, I was inspired by the idea of thermal columns and up draughts and how there is a wonderful analogy at play with yoga and life. Thermal columns are upward flows of gases that have been warmed near the ground's surface. These up draughts carry powerful energy that some species of birds readily take advantage of. By flying into these thermal columns and opening their wing span with ease, these birds get carried into the atmosphere to staggering heights. This passage of elevation mimics so much of how we can experience life.
Our hips are one of the most mobile joints of the body thanks to their 'ball and socket' design. One of the primary movements of the hips is rotation. External (or lateral) rotation is facilitated by numerous muscles including the Piriformis muscle. This muscle has an interesting anatomical setup that requires some playful and purposeful isolation into order to functionally target it when stretching.
I was thinking yesterday of how experienced rock climbers (note: never actually done it myself) emulate how a yoga practice can be – highly saturated with a sense of mindful engagement and receptivity. The skill and agility applied in rock climbing requires a delightful balance of knowing how to engage regions of the body that require stabilization and strength while, at the same time, being able to remain free, open, and receptive to move through large, complex movements. Is this not what is required of us when moving on the mat?
A significant and necessary shift is occurring in the yoga world where teaching is evolving from the common standardization of yoga poses towards more individualization and customization. Functional yoga anatomy explores the uniqueness and variability in body structures and mechanics, and aims to inspire students/practitioners of yoga to engage their practices with an authentic approach.