Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Getting Lost, Getting Found, and Moving Energy Around

I’ve recently felt a bit lost—where to turn, finding solid ground, making my way home.  While listening to an interview on NPR’s “On Being” with psychotherapist and mediation teacher Sylvia Boorstein, I took comfort in her analogy of the car’s GPS. 

Whenever she made a wrong turn or got off course, regardless of how many times she found herself in the weeds, the GPS would always say, in the same nonjudgmental tone, “recalculating,” and then direct her towards the best road to reach her destination.     

Most of our lives are spent “recalculating” after wrong turns, dead ends, missed chances, and other obstacles.  A perpetual process of getting lost and getting found, our own personal sacred labyrinth.

A friend of mine recently confessed her “end of the world” feelings when her son didn’t get in to a graduate program at Stanford.  I understood her concern about how this might impact his future, but this is simply how things go—for everyone.  In some area of our lives and at some point. 

A nonjudgmental “recalculating” seems like just the right response. That and to be reminded of what Joseph Campbell has said:  “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  Or, listen to Spanx founder and recent billionaire Sarah Blakely comment on hitting her personal bumps in the road, including bombing the LSAT.  All the better to get her to the right place.

These dead ends, setbacks, or wrong turns can often prove the necessary tool to steer us down a different—and often better—path.  One that’s truer to our selves. Life’s way of opening a new road, and returning us home.

To support this “recalculating” process, it helps to have open and clear energy in the body and mind. And yoga, of course, can help with that.  Here’s why. 

In Moving Into Stillness, Erich Schiffman describes how yoga asanas, or poses, are particular configurations that allow for energy, or the Life Force, to move more freely through the body. He calls these “lines of energy.” 

If the flow of energy becomes obstructed, this can impede our health, and our ability to open the mind to our own inner guidance.  Essentially, unobstructed energy facilitates new inner channels and roads, helping to guide our outward path. 

Try these yoga poses to begin to clear the lines of energy when you hit the next bump in the road. 

Mountain Pose (Tadasana) – The primary line of energy here comes from a strong grounding of the four corners of the feet (the big toe mound, the baby toe mound, the inner heel and the outer heel). This engages the base of the spine, the body’s energy center, and gives the sense of shooting upward through each of the vertebrae to the crown of the head. 
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) – To unlock one line of energy in this pose—from fingertip to fingertip—requires opening the upper back or heart center. Warm up with a few heart expanding poses like cat and cow, bridge pose, or cobra.   

Staff Pose (Dandasana) – Here the lines of energy move in two directions from the sits bones. The tailbone moves downward rooting the sitting bones, and then the energy extends up through the crown of the head, and the other direction pushing out through the feet. Place your hands at the side of the body and press your fingertips into the floor to support a feeling of “lift” through the torso.
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