Structural Alignment…an observation from acting class to yoga class…

Good morning out there!!

I was just reading an article “Five Myths About Your Body” on Elephant Journal (do you read Elephant Journal? There are often some great/entertaining/silly/fun/educational/make you think articles on there and it’s cheap for a year’s subscription! Check it out www.elephantjournal.com). In the article one of the “myths” is that many people believe that they have one leg shorter than the other (the myth is not that there are these people out there but that they believe it to be true)…mostly because of a diagnosis from a chiropractor or some other structural doctor along the way. What she says in this article is that this is not the case for 99% of the people…rather one leg may seem shorter than the other due to posture and how we use our bodies!! Yup, I have to agree. I have been seeing a chiropractor most of my life…actually, to be correct, I first saw a chiropractor when I was quite young and was going to the chiro fairly regularly through the years until almost 3 years ago…then I stopped…cold turkey…decided I wanted to figure out why I needed to go so often and why I was not able to, through my mindfulness of my yoga practice and with the help of meditation and massage, re-structure and re-align my own body. So, that’s what I’ve been working on over the past few years…well, when I think about it, it’s been my whole life ;)

Reading this article made me remember during one of my classes in university-my voice class in 3rd year I think (I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting) we did an exercise where one person would stand in the middle of the circle, just stand as he or she normally would…you know, if waiting for a bus or in a line up or what have you…and we would all stand the same way, emulating the position of the body. From there we talked about how the body felt in the position…we connected with the sensations of the body, where we felt uneven pressure, tightness, pulling, weight etc. It was fascinating to be the one being analyzed because for most of us (I think it was probably ALL of us) this weird (and what seemed totally un-natural) way of standing in a relaxed and neutral position was creating so much stress and undue mis-alignment in the body!!

The exercise was about connecting with the physical body, becoming aware of the sensations of the body, but also it was used to make us aware of what is a neutral position so that we were able to start from neutral in order to create the stature and body language of any given character. I always remember this exercise when I find myself standing leaning out onto one hip or kinked in some way. I often catch myself when I’m teaching doing some weird body position and mindfully correct my posture.

So…that is that. In yoga class we always return to a neutral position between postures. In the standing series we return to a neutral standing position, feet together and arms by the side. In the floor series we return to savasana, arms and legs by the side and head straight, shoulders relaxed. these neutral positions might feel awkward and uncomfortable in the beginning for you…don’t fret, it will get more comfortable as you go forward and learn to relax tight areas of your body. It’s amazing how this yoga practice is working on the body and alignment (and lets me honest, the monkey mind predominantly!!) IN the postures and IN BETWEEN the postures!! How amazing ;)

Alright, on that note, I need to go straighten out and neutralize…

Have a fab day, everyone! Drink some green juice and do a backbend…you’ll be happy you did.
Love,
Ida

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