In continuation of “Youth Resides In The Spine” we will discuss elongation as the basis of the six movements of the spine in yoga.
I suppose the reason that ‘elongation’ is not included as a specific movement of the spine, is because it is one that is assumed in all of the movements. The spine should be long and spacious in preparation of any forward bend, back bend, side stretch or twist.
My debate is that elongation should not be assumed, and should be the first of seven movements of the spine (elongate, forward, back, side, side, twist, twist). Elongation can almost be separated into two movements; as the spine lengthens up towards the sky, it also should be grounding towards the earth. A perfect balance of lightness and weight: of energy body and physical body.
In Kundalini Yoga the focus is on awakening energy that is coiled at the bottom of the spine. When I imagine this energy moving up the spine, or through the chakras, I envision a tall healthy spine that allows the energy to move clear and strong through the body. When I imagine that Kundalini energy trying to rise through a spine that is compressed or not open, I see how energy could become blocked, restricted, or even stopped at certain places as it tries to rise. The purpose of this liberation of Kundalini energy is to bring us to the divine state of enlightenment.
Yoga is preparation that strengthens the body and mind for sitting in meditation for long periods of time. Energy flow is best through a strong, tall, open spine. When we sit tall and engage our core, we naturally are drawing the organs towards the spine, we are drawing the chakras back into alignment along the spine, the entire process of yoga and meditation is based around the spine.
WHAT IF I DON’T DO YOGA?
So why is elongation assumed? Whether or not you practice yoga or meditation, begin to observe your daily habits of your body, spine and posture. Do you engage your core to help support your back or does the weight of your body pull your spine forward? Do you feel light through your body and open through your heart, or do you feel heavy, lethargic and slump your shoulders forward?
If you want to feel lighter and stronger in your daily living, begin by focusing on elongation of the spine. Your breathing will improve, your posture with improve, your heart will open, your core will tone, your energy will improve and you will begin to feel more focused and clear-headed in all you do.