Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Body Consciousness Ain’t what you “Think”
How was pelvis palpation practice? Getting more familiar with your personal doorway to elevated body awareness by now? Beginning to see Ghettos and Gangsta postures walking around? Or has this new way of engaging with your inner and outer world faded away after the first palpation? Just like y’all remember from your Ashtanga practice, that new feeling fades quickly and didn’t HOOK you until you reorganized your life to practice more days of the week ;-) And this primary series of “Awareness Thru Palpation” doesn’t even take a minute of your time between your chant and Ekam, so put that sticky note exactly where your eyes rest in Catvari, so you might remember to “Practice” this Stupid Simple palpation in Samasthith. You’ll need it for the next ATP instalment, and if you teach, you can use this to start handing out the Red Pill, immediately pointing your students consciousness to a deeper place.
Practice and all is Coming
But no practical exercises for this post, so y’all can practice pelvis basics more and really wash down the Red Pill till the next palpation post. Now, I will indulge in a much needed creative purging (A conscious one) and paint a picture from multiple levels and viewpoints of the webbish holism our Core Process lives and breathes in.
1 - Long sentences, some their own paragraphs….. simple sentences can’t even begin to hold. So to prosaically express at all, this 3D, Wholistic Root Physical Awareness in a way that even hints at what it “Feels” like, in the moment, the KISS method of your right brain just chops it up mercilessly. And especially when expanding core into our emotional level (the Joy and the Hala Hala) that facilitates or restricts healthy movement ..…. In a way that feels accurate? Small talk and the Blurr of Poetry, easy to memorize and regurgitate, can definitely polish your Yoga Show, but won’t get you or your students to Walk the Walk of growing awareness. So don’t waste your or their time with some Spiritual, Theo-Philosophical blah, blah, blah….. Just learn these palpations and take people there.
Because this is where Guruji’s 99 and 1 phrase came from, old thinking habits die hard. And Gurdjieff knew, your mind really knows little about anything until you have personal experiences about the subject. Hatha is all about body awareness. These and other wise men saw this mental stuckness that deadened humanity and that’s why they emphasized that practice is more important than theory. And exactly what originally hooked us into Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Yeah?
But this non verbal level of whole organism communication, I actually discovered years earlier getting Rolfed. And it was nothing I could get my engineering head around. Cool……. Though my body felt it was the answer my unclear question was looking for, an inner Feel, only then did I grow to understand the logic of the Rolfing process. Not the other, Usual, way around. So, no research or rationale, i just let this Integrated Body/Mind awareness guide me into any yoga class i came across.
Most of them, variations of “Excessive Verbiage” ranging from toooo much anatomic detail to purely poetic, emotional loveliness, elicited nothing like Getting Rolfed. Any possible integration of my movement and sensory systems that immediately transformed the feel and expression in asanas, just seemed to Float away in a Sea of Words, like I was being rescued from exploring my emotional junk hidden deep at the bottom. Until I wandered into that fateful led primary series class. Thank you David for “Shutting the fuck up” so i could really feel and breath something inside.
Ok, as you might have noticed what has already begun, 2 - I will also magnify some psycho emotional contrasts, to extremes, in order to clarify that webbish continuum between opposites that your left brain struggles with to understand all that your right brain awareness moves around in. And finally, 3 - i’ll begin developing this Non Duality of Core Project by describing it's opposite, the muscular system that coexists with word, your Sleeve.
STILL WITH ME? Congratulations, your lateralization ain’t so Stuck Left ;-)
Isn’t my Beach Body Beautiful?
Our usual busy waking state is mostly dedicated to the mind, so the small amount of awareness left for body is spent in the big external muscular system that those in the know call the Sleeve. Most of the sleeve lies on the body surface, easy to see, so we’ve become overly aware of either showing it off or “Not”, and so i affectionately call them “Beach Muscles''. Then their primary function, also external, is to carry out dictates of the thinking left brain. Here, the legs are tools that move our skeleton around so our craving and aversion tools, the arms, may physically manipulate the outside world. And, this intention of movement is usually so well coordinated with another 2 bones and their muscular system of “Talking”, that the organic, in the moment, right and lower brain complex atrophies through Complete disembodied neglect. Now talking and goal acquisition are both important functions for sure, but, without an alive Core, they waste lotsa energy. So just like anything good, wine or religion (pick your favorite), their great characteristics are only Sustainable within a range between too much and too little called moderation. Not really what all the Instagram Beach Body abundance of Food and Yoga Porn is all about (more on that in Part 2) And this moderation function that can oversee everything going on in our organism is the fundamental skill of our internal process of Core.
The physical aspect (there are many) of our Core is a muscular system too that basically occupies the space inside the sleeve, out of sight - out of mind, so barely noticed, so whose function has little if nothing to do with what the Sleeve has in “mind”. This vast muscular system has such immense detail and subtlety that it makes the overemphasized beach muscle actions of ego pride feel like a wrenching ball. And with Ego’s PR and Marketing representative, Talking, the behavior of this ungrounded body/mind partnership resembles the actions and babbling of “the terrible twos”. So, make no mistake about it, with your core offline, your sleeve (and your psyche that guides it) gradually takes charge from this naturally grounded master of who we really are, neglected for an uncontrollable need for Short Term Gratification that eventually creates more problems than it is worth.
In stark contrast to this rather Vata deranged “past and future” neurosis that ab-uses our our structure, the process of Core can only exist “in the present moment”. And doesn't jump up and down waving your hands in the air either. Core is our Anchor on many levels, a composition of layers and layers of small muscles involved in subtle processes directed by subtle awareness.
Proprioceptive and Kinesthetic awareness is where our Core’s bandha system lives and communicates in. Functionally, they feel like stability and movement which are analogous to the energetic feels of Apana and Prana. And these main qualities are the stuff the two structural Granthis, Brahma and Vishnu are all about. Now yes, they do work together like Yin and Yang, and we do want to loosen the Vishnu knot holding our stuck emotional junk and be Free! But the more Brahma grounding is cultivated, the more trauma integration is possible. (Actual Chitta Vritti Nirodhah anyone?) So, unless you wanna be a cathartic endorphin junkie paying everything you own to your False Tantric Guru who wants your wife and says your true name is “Shanti Ganeshe”, it’s best to start untying the knot of Brahma first. (primary series anyone?)
Proprioception and Kinesthesia, are the main qualities of your core’s waking state of consciousness. And this level of awareness is what directs the layers of muscles like bandhas, to basically shrink wrap all our joints into a physically and sensorially connected chain of bone and fascia that then feels the diaphragm send waves of breath movement through. This Felt Sense that observes your breath movement (And you can really see it too) informs ego movement of the big sleeve muscles into a unified whole from the inside out. But only if your Ego, your Verbal Left Brain allows this feeling sense. And all this, if you're really listening, is subtly initiated by focused Attention of carefully cultivated Intention (no visual measurements for those yet). This heathy chain reaction of subtle intention to gross movement is like a butterfly effect that can create great movement effortlessly.
So, if the breath is fully online, this integration of each of our externally indulged dominoes, the senses, emotions, decisions and actions can communicate through the fascial web of our body as spontaneous interaction of our unified whole. Vital anchoring into the present moment which also gathers and stores our most valuable fuel source of life energy. An internal juice the Vedas call Ojas. (Thank you Robert)
Vital because, when our core is distracted, Ojas gets burned away frivolously by a crazy “Tapas of the Ego”, beach muscles pushing and pulling your twisted posture in a wrestling match of Strength vs Stiffness where there’s not really a winner, just loser…your breath. Oh, and your nervous system too. Keepin it revved up and burning Ojas like there is no tomorrow because anything less would be just Boring….. Not exactly the best method of life extension so no worries about the tomorrows, yeah?
And then there is the ravaged body. All sense of your sentient core squeezed out of stiff joints by Ego’s punishment. Firing up the tapas like a high dose morphine hit every morning, the only thing that can relieve your stressed way of living keeps reinforcing the body/mind habits that twisted your fascial web into it’s fight or flight resonance in the first place.
Yes, this volitional heat of Tapas Can melt the fascial cement you’ve built up through your lifetime of habitual movement. And “Can'' is the operative word here, operating the “No lazy, No Crazy” balancing act of Your Edge. Average volition operates through your layers of Habits that created and then express your Ego, then never reset. From the body’s perspective of movement, Habits are compilations of movement fragments that do not communicate (no Core) creating stress points (at Joints) that require (for some Goal) extra effort to keep together (they stay tight). With that Crazy Tapas Heat, the joints don’t Open but Get Opened, and that flexibility Achieved mostly rebounds back into its stiffness pattern each afternoon (Dinnertime stiffness anyone?) But the next morning you addictively enjoy your press handstand tapas and pull your stagnant stiffness open again for that crazy endorphine hit. Ahhhh, Chitta Vritti Nirodhahaaaaaa….. Yeah, it is better than external drugs, but still has no Internal focus. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ So pouring more stress into each crooked joint every day until eventually something releases, usually with a loud grind, tear or pop. You thought you were high before? Now a strange body instability and Oooooh, the Buzzzzz of Shock Trauma is something only true aesthetic fakirs can appreciate. But soon, with another squeeze or two of your pituitary (a sub instinctual function), an endorphin blast will Medicate that buzz of your nervous system, and push back the immediate pain (for now). A calm window of open awareness…….. Hmmmm, what to do? No pain, no problem and continue practicing? Lol, a true budding fakir, lost in the “Hoax of Endorphine Enlightenment”. Or, knowing drugs wear off, take slow, deep Apanic rechaka finishing poses? Nice, taking charge yourself, not desensitizing, you'll prevent further damage and gather some valuable Intel tomorrow on your mat. The pain can now show you clearly poor movement so you can soften the old movement habits…. But only If you practice. Another chance for beginners mind to rebuild Surya Namaskar, not getting taken away, again, in the movement of your old Hala Hala of conditioned existence. Another chance to find True Yoga Chikitsa.
Oooooffff….. Went off a bit more than expected, so will just call this Part 1, leave you with this chart to help make some connections, and get into the Psoas misinterpretations that are getting well Marketed in the FaceBooky Yoga world in
Questions and comments in the FB post work best, see ya there.