The yoga is concerned with moving the inner energy up from the base of the spine to the top of the head. When/ if that happens, we raise to higher levels of awareness of who we are and what our role in the bigger scheme of things is.
As a method for moving and clearing the inner energy, the yoga is linked to the chakra system.
There are two chakras in particular that are especially relevant in asana practice and that, in my own personal experience, are rather elusive. They are also associated with the bandhas.
Before I go deeper into the topic, a disclaimer: I’m just sharing the results of my personal research as of today. I do not claim these to be universal truths. What is written here should be embraced with an open mind and a grain of salt :)
When it comes to the pelvic floor, Ashtanga yoga practitioners think in terms of bandhas, more in particular of Moola Bandha, or a series of internal actions that unleash the power of the pelvis, our body’s powerhouse.
It seems to me that Moola Bandha is much more than squeezing the anus. In fact, we are probably aiming at something more subtle.
Rather than squeezing or tensing up, Richard Freeman refers to bandhas in terms of convergence: when different parts come together, the bandha is established. A “squeeze” creates more tension, which pushes away the subtle awareness of the bandha itself.
Hamish Hendry talks about bringing the hip joints together across the lower navel and, as he puts it, is a “continuous refinement”. Santina Giardina - Chard, the lady who has turned my practice upside down, places emphasis on the confluence of the pubic symphysis and on orchestrating the movement around the hip joints.
She also refers to the Power of the Yoni, the Biological Core, the vagina in women, which might correspond to the jewels in men (?) -gentlemen, you’ll have to seek the advice of a male teacher on this one :)
These considerations around the pelvic floor offer some room for subtle exploration that I’ve come to find rather interesting.
When it comes to the energy in our pelvis, our life force (note the pelvis as the giver of life), we are mainly looking at two energy centers: Mooladhara, at the root of the spine, and Svadisthana, behind the genitals.
It is believed that in the root of the pelvis our conditionings or karmas, lay dormant, and they find expression through the Svadisthana. Curiously, some practitioners find a connection between the pelvic floor and the throat. That is the central axis of our bodies, the Susumna. Hence, potential blockages around the throat area, restrictions in the ways how we communicate, express ourselves and “choose” to be in the world, are directly related to the awareness within the pelvic bowl, or the lack thereof.
It is the aim of the yoga practice to create awareness around these and observe, integrate and resolve -not deny or avoid. Then, wisdom comes. And we are a bit more free.
There is some subtle technique I work with to access the pelvic floor. Rather than repeating a posture 1,000 times and hope for the starts to align to get it right, I’m finding many answers in the careful observance of the Vinyasa, from the Sun Salutations. I’ll share some of these in future entries as my understanding expands.
Meanwhile, see if you can observe and sit with whatever comes up during practice and in your daily life. Human relationships are great mirrors, in the sense that they uncover deep-seated imprints. Being mindfully in this world is a wonderful opportunity to explore, comprehend and integrate.
Class Times at Ashtanga School Madrid from Friday August 31st <3