Full on Breathing

I’m still chewing on an idea from yoga this morning, a delicious treat. Even better than weekend pastries.

Tara Glazier, the owner of Abhaya Yoga in Dumbo, was teaching us the concept of arm spirals. (It’s an alignment refinement she said she just figured out last week, after 10 years of practice.) We would internally rotate the arms, rounding the shoulders, to feel the width across the upper back, the spreading between the shoulder blades, and the expansion of the breath in the back of the body.

Then we’d externally rotate the arms, lifting the upper chest, drawing the shoulder blades together, to feel the expansion of the breath in the front of the body. It was a potent exercise that made the arms feel as though they started in the center of the body, instead of stopping at the shoulder. And for me, it gave a fascinating endpoint to the breath. I usually lose track of it somewhere in the throat, but the movement of the chest and lungs illuminated the depth of the inhales.

[Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews teach similarly fascinating spirals at The Breathing Project… it’s cool to feel it all coming together.]

All of this related to the idea of fullness. Tara had taken a day of silence last week, and shared her experience. We run around all day, talking and helping and working and playing, spilling out energy until we feel drained. We can balance this external focus with a day of silence. Our other senses come alive; we notice colors, smells, flavors, and feelings much more strongly. We can practice breathing. Inspiration. It refills the tanks.

So as we practiced poses this morning, I really felt the breath as a form of food. As I’m sitting here now, I still am. I’m thinking about other ways to refill the tanks in my life. And it’s funny that it starts with doing less.

2 thoughts on “Full on Breathing”

  1. The “spirals” are a big Anusara concept…is this the Anusara studio you were talking about? I love me some spirals! I have one teacher who is a hard core anatomy geek who has been having us all work with the contrasting spirals–like the ones you’re talking about–how the forearm spirals in and the upper arm spirals out…this is actually the natural direction in the curves of the arm bones. Um…I think. Don’t quote me on that…

    Also the legs work in a similar way…the shins pulling in and together and the thighs moving back and apart.

    Yay for yoga-geek-dom!!


  2. Yes! Come take a class with Tara the next time you’re back in New York. She is finally clearing up the mystical language of Anusara for me.

    Body Mind Centering is also really big on spirals. Specifically their occurrence during development. Apparently the arms spiral out, and the legs spiral in, as they emerge from the embryo? So it would make sense that the curves of the bones follow these directions… but yeah don’t quote me either!

    It is just a whole new fascinating layer to anatomy… first we have to learn the straight lines and perpendicular angles of alignment, then we learn to move them into spirals… what’s next, string theory?

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