Holding a Team of Wild Horses

The theme of this blog was inspired by two occurrences.  The first inspiration came from a recent Well Woman Wisdom class in which yoga belts were being used as a support in Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee posture).  The second inspiration follows up on the western / cowboy theme touched on in an earlier offering - Adventures in Borderland Anatomy (it's kinda nice when there's a sequel don't you think?)


Using props in yoga can make the world of difference in how someone either experiences the benefits of a posture, or enables them to access a posture in the first place.  


Restorative yoga is a prop manufacturers idea of heaven.  You simply can't have too many mats, bolsters, folded blankets and belts,  Let's not forget blocks and eye pillows too!


Issues can arise when the prop is used incorrectly or relied upon too heavily to the detriment of the body.


A process comes to mind to describe what can happen in this regard - tightening.


For example: belts can be pulled on too tightly, creating tension in the hands and fingers.  This in turn can transfer the energy of this 'gripping' up the arms, into the shoulders and at times, can visibly be seen around the jawline.

The theme of this blog captures the essence of what's happening on occasions such as these - it's as if the belt is being pulled in order to control a team of wild horses at the other end.


So what's the remedy?


Oddly (or maybe not!) the answer is something that I've been getting students of my Meditation - Practice Made Simple to apply in their sitting practice - loosening.


We need mindful awareness of when there's an element of gripping or tightening - simply notice, breathe, soften.


But this remedy too can become a problem.  If we're too 'loose' in our approach, we may not experience the engagement or support that the prop is offering in that moment.


At all times we need to be paying attention to what's being sensed and to ensure that we feel nourished by the experience.


So next time you take hold of a yoga belt, remember!  They're not reins!


One last piece of advice to bring closure to this western connection (sadly) - "Don't squat while wearing your spurs!"


Claire teaches a variety of classes in meditation and yoga and has a passion for empowering women to reconnect with every aspect of themselves.


[Picture credit: Google images]


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