So many of us practice physical postures on a regular basis. In doing this, it's easy to lose sight of what these postures really are, and why we practice them in the first place.
A posture is a set of muscular engagements and relaxations. Figuring out what is happening in each position and using our muscles accordingly, is the goal of a physical practice. Once we find the correct musculature in a pose, we adjust our breathing, focus our gaze and enter stillness. Each posture is different, hence the different shapes.
Where we get into trouble is beginning to think, consciously or not, that simply getting our body into the shape of a posture is the goal. This becomes a problem when we look like we are doing a posture, but we don't have correct control over the musculature of the pose.
This often happens in a forehead to knee poses for example. We become focused on touching our forehead to our knee rather than being aware of the mechanism that rounds our spine and makes this happen in the first place. (The abs!)
Or we become focused on pulling with our arms in Hands to Feet, thinking we will get further in the pose. (Pull with the arms doesn't teach our body to stretch properly, and often leads to injury over time.)
The Ghosh style of physical practice is built upon principles of muscle control. As Bishnu Ghosh himself explained, "Controlling of any muscle is nothing but to contract and relax the muscles without any movement of the limbs or contraction of any other muscle.”
In posture practice, we should seek to develop our muscle control, remembering that the shape isn't worth making if our bodies aren't working correctly.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
- The 113 Postures of Ghosh Yoga
- Make the Hamstrings Strong, Not Long
- Understanding Chair Posture
- Lock the Knee History
- It Doesn't Matter If Your Head Is On Your Knee
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
- 5 Reasons To Backbend
- Origins of Standing Bow
- The Traditional Yoga In Bikram's Class
- What About the Women?!
- Through Bishnu's Eyes
- Why Teaching Is Not a Personal Practice