As we dive into the new year, I have been enjoying a return to the structure and routine of daily life, and the psychological stability that gives. Around the time of solstice my practice became more restorative, introspective, and a way to assimilate the flurry of holiday experiences. While I like to keep a thread of restoration throughout the winter months, the tide of “fresh start” feelings generated in our cultures psyche around New Years has awaked in my body a desire to work muscularly; create stability physically as well as in my mind.
Today I loved practicing some variations of pincha mayurasana (peacock feather pose: a forearm stand inversion) which has profoundly stabilizing affects on the shoulder girdle. When the humerus are grounded, serratus anterior and rhomboid muscles supporting lateral expansion through the chest, and skeletal alignement sound, this pose creates strong foundation for sirsasana, and a lasting after effect of width and lift through the shoulder girdle and upper chest. The mental and emotional mirrors of stability in the shoulders reveal feeling confident, bright, capable, and calm.
I often practice this pose holding on to the base of a folding chair, but today explored stretching my palms wide rather than gripping the chair with the hands. (A fellow student in Kim Schwartz’s delicious Tuesday morning level 2 class had the idea, and we all tried it out after some exploration…) The outstretched palms of the hands, still held against the chair, faced each other in this version. (They faced each other rather than down, as in the full pose. This allowed for less challenge to the external rotation in the upper arms and thus thus the opening in the chest and upper lungs, than if the lower arms were in complete internal rotation, as in the full pose.) This set up felt more challenging psychologically, but created the shoulders to become much more stable, and allowed my chest to open more than when hands, and thus chest, were gripping. Because of this alignment in the shoulders, the foundation of the pose was stable enough that I could articulate pelvic floor strength to lengthen the kidney area and traction the spine upwards, reaching through the inner heels. To find the subtle key awakenings of alignment in the body, (and therefore all the unseen realms, as well) allows so many other components of our work and experience to integrate. The expansion, and freedom, becomes possible through stability. After working in pincha mayurasana for a while, we practiced chakrasana, a pose I find quite challenging. But from awakening the stability in my arms and shoulders, this experience was accessible and the effects permeated into all the levels of my being, sending the waves of shift and transformation deep within. The unknown comes into the known. Breath by breath, anything is possible.