Saturday, March 14, 2015

Two Lines of Energy from the Core - Building on Your Core Values

Tadasana, or Standing Pose, is the one of the most foundation pose in asana practice.  The importance of the pose became apparent when we spend two whole days teaching a roomful of adults how to stand.  We all know how to stand, right?  Tadasana is more than just standing, it is a powerful pose that engage all the muscles.  It is simultaneously grounding and lifting.  In proper alignment, there should be two lines of energy extending from the core, one down to the ground to your feet (the base) and one extending through your heart and head ascending to the stars.  Standing tall requires just enough energy to keep your body rooted, but relaxed enough so that we can be at ease and focus on the breath.  My favorite explanation is "root down to rise up."
When we learn how to stand like a mountain, we can start to see how every other pose is built on tadasana.  Every pose asks that we engage in two directions, with just the right balance between effort and ease.  Every pose has a base, which may not always be our feet.  And every pose has a lifting or opening.
As I was practicing tadasana this week, I connected the duality of the pose to what I identify as one of my core values -- that I strive to find balance in all things, yin and yang, and sometimes these may be in conflict.  I believe inner conflict can be essential for growth.  Or maybe it's not, but I think it's probably not a stretch to say that most of us have inner conflicts of beings.  The very concept of identify, I've often seen, is a conflict between wanting to express individuality and wanting to fit in, or be a part of something bigger than one's self.
Nietzsche famously said, we must have conflict within ourselves in order to give birth to dancing stars.  I interpret this beautiful aphorism to mean that we can hold conflicting ideas simultaneously and explore them, rather than fight with them or try to be right.  The key is to find how the duality of both sides resonates with your being.  What does this mean to me.  That is what I learn from tadasana and it's one of my most fundamental values -- there is no right or wrong, but there are different paths.  The path that explores both sides will be more fruitful than one that says 'only this path is the right path.'  Even if this inner struggle is subtle, it helps me to think of every challenge in this light.  Every difficultly is either an opportunity to learn and grow or a chance to step back and try a different route.  The same is true in culinary arts.  It's all about balance, folks.  How can we cook with more balance? Is it possible to maintain the base of a recipe while stepping outside what's written and try to make it rise above what's been done before?  What do we need to engage in our minds and bodies to create healthy food and where can we find comfort and ease in our diets.  Great questions to meditate on...more to come.

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