Day 230 – Our connection to (and practice with) our body is scientific. As such, in today’s reading, Rolf outlines the “discoveries in body work [that] intersect the ancient wisdom of asana” through the lines of connective tissue. He brings our attention to Sun Salutation which alternates between opening our superficial front line in upward dog and our superficial back line (downward dog). Logically, the backline is opened when dog forward bends and starts at the bottom of our feet; the front line is opened in back bends and starts at the stops of the feet. This connection, therefore, reveals much to me as I move into a place of healing with my practice. Indeed, it informs my teaching, too, showing the importance of origins of my students’ difficulties: feet! There are not just a few of us with plantar fasciitis.
However, our connection to and practice with our body is as sacred as it is scientific. I think some would describe the body as miraculously designed, but as an aging yogi, the miracles lie more mind’s habits than in the wondrous things my body do in asana. Nonetheless, in today’s reading, Rolf invites us to “connect to the sweep of these long [connective] lines” in our bodies, as well as to their origins in our feet. In this “sweep,” I understand not the science (although I have an appreciation), but the sacred: our body is both our strength and our vulnerability. It houses, as Rolf beautifully writes, “its infinity of sensations, fears, and desires.” It is “the source of some of life’s greatest adventures and life’s most profound pain.”
In Day 16, “Knowing the Body,” in Meditations on Intention and Being, Rolf discusses root causes to viewing the body in a negative way, as well as the physical and spiritual side of healing and the reasons why he began meditating, not all of which are my own. Although much can be learned from considering the profound violence which resides in today’s world, much can be learned from moving past this, recognizing that there is violence that affects us domestically, in entertainment, in sport. Just as some things are damaging to our minds and cannot be unseen, we harbor in fear and vulnerability.
Yoga is a way of re-programming the mind and re-connecting to our essential physical and spiritual body. In offering ourselves space, we are loving ourselves. In shutting off the news, we are loving ourselves. In slowing down and accepting our aging gracefully, we are our loving ourselves. In this practice of nonviolence, we offer ourselves compassion and discover an intimacy that we can share in the same way with others.