Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On the Bandhas: Microcosm and Macrocosm of Mulha and Uddiyana

A third and last post coming out of my thoughts on David's anatomy workshop...

An interesting relationship between the little pieces and the broad picture of a practice has been sort of flitting around in my mind since the workshop. I've been waiting for it to land and hopefully coalesce into something coherent.

Although we did talk about the anatomy of the bandhas...or as close as you can get to describing the physical access points to something energetic, what stuck with me was the discussion in a much broader sense of rooting and lifting energy throughout the practice.

It started with the discussion of the 3 natural arches in the foot. In just the action of placing the foot on the floor, there is a mulha aspect, found in pressing into the base of the big toe, base of the pinkie toe and the heel. There is also an uddiyana aspect found in lifting up through the arches. After a bit of playing with generally moving the weight around on the feet, picking up the toes, etc., I was a bit startled to feel the changes in energy moving up my body from just these actions in the feet!

We continued in the microcosm vein, looking at the mulha and uddiyana aspects of the hand and the parallels to the actions of the feet when we place them on the floor. There are again mulha and uddiyana aspects to just the action of placing weight into the hands when we place them on the floor.

David is adamant that if the hands are on the floor in a pose, then they are there for a reason. I've lost track of the number of times I've heard David say "Put weight into the hands!" as we fold forward in sun salutations or "Pretend the hand is another foot." as we fold forward in ardha badha padmottansana.

This whole discussion of mulha and uddiyana in miniature got me thinking about all the little pieces that make up the whole practice picture...and wondering about how many little pieces have fallen out of my frame of awareness as poses have gotten familiar and comfortable. The feet and hands are often our foundation in poses. I'm curious to see what happens to the qualities of the practice as a whole as I play with bringing greater attention to the rooting and lifting energies from the base upward.

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