Most people know that our bodies are primarily liquid in nature, yet how many people move and sway and breathe like liquid?
‘When I speak of fluidity, I am also referring to the idea that what we call ‘body’ is not matter, but movement…We can be seen as a fluid unfolding of an innate intelligence.’ Emilie Conrad
Have you ever noticed that almost nothing in nature works in straight lines or repetitive movements? Down to the finest minutia of cells, the smallest organisms on earth and the intricate shapes of our organs: living things all have rounded edges. We have tubular torsos, three-dimensionally spherical bones and wave or tide-like life forces that spiral through our bodies called breath and cerebral spinal fluid.
So, within this circular world, we might ponder "What is the point in implementing straight lines, hard edges and perfect angles into bodies (or yoga postures) that are predominantly liquid?"
Below are a few experiments and tips you can play with in order to bring the softness and strength of water into your movement practice.
1. Lying on your back with a thin block under your pelvis. Lift your legs into the air and jiggle them (like the flutter kick)…start slow and let the jiggling get faster and faster (try lateral jiggles as well). Let the tissues jiggle around the bones, so that the skin layer, the fascial matrix and the muscles feel like they are made of jello jiggling around the bones. You may even begin to feel like your bones are become less solid and more like the cartilage of your nose. Try this with your arms as well. Then, explore feeling your layers slide and jiggle in warrior postures and uttanasa (chair-pose). Let the armor of your muscle body soften and see what you feel? When you rest in your fluid body, you may feel buoyant. Postures may begin to feel timeless and restful (even apparently strong and tiring postures become softer and easier), like you are wearing a life jacket weightless and soft in your skin.
‘As the currents of life become more fully realized, what appears to be static blushes with vigor. It is the changes in tissue structure that now become fascinating – a re-forming takes place, including bone…when drenched in the pulsations of fluid, bone will change its character, becoming more cartilaginous as if swimming once again in the sea.’ Emilie Conrad
2. Pelvic Tilts and Sacrum Rocks. Remove the block from under your sacrum. Find the movement of breath as it breathes the shape of your body. Come to a place where you don’t feel like you are ‘doing’ the breath, rather, it is ‘breathing’ you. From there stream your focus to the base of the pelvis. Feel a soft rock of the pelvis away and towards you (very subtle anterior and posterior pelvic tilt) as you breath. Perhaps like the tides of the ocean in your body? Do this for a few minutes and see what you feel. From there, explore leaning into your feet and sliding the sacrum skin up and down (pelvis remains grounded). You are essentially rocking or jiggling the skin on your sacrum towards your skull and then towards your heals. You can let this movement happen more quickly if you like and see what it feels like after 30 seconds or a minute. Pause, return to the breath. Try this standing on two feet, on one foot, in lunges or downward dog.
3. Fluid Body through Sound. Stay on your back. Savasana position. Feel the skin of your body touching the earth and the air. Soft internal sound of hmmmm on each exhalation for a minute. Hmmmmmm, hmmmmm, hmmmmm. Breath is quiet, sound feels like it reaches inwards and vibrates the fluid body. Take 5-10 minutes of rest following the sound and sink your consciousness into the fluid state. Can you feel the softening of and hardness in your mind/thoughts? Can you feel the waves of energy move through your body in the shape of sound? Sound is a wonderful way to access the fluid body.
When we begin to move from our fluid body in this way, there is a creative quietness in the face and a stillness, which is expressed, even while moving. The eyes soften and we can begin to step back from our personality and our story. Artistic expression shines through the freedom of fluidity. The simplicity and truth of appearance we see in young babies begins to twinkle through the layers of our beings and a great healing can begin to unfold.
Inspired by metaphors in movement, spatial awareness and a simple life, Sarah Manwaring-Jones has shared yoga for the last 10 years. She integrates a deep love of nature and the human form into the ancient practices of yoga through embodied principles of tensegrity and honoring her own experiences of life, love and loss. Sarah feels yoga is a gentle and kind hammock, a wide-open space to rest into for support in our busy lives.
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