Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Gravity

The body operates under the laws of physics--that of gravity and momentum, inertia, reaction.

Seems pretty obvious, but we forget sometimes that gravity is the single largest external contributing factor to pain in the body. Misaligned parts cause shortness in compensating muscles and an equal and opposite set of over-stretched muscles corresponding.

It's said that in this particular age of humans, the evolutionary contribution we are making is the development of the rational mind, the faculty of critical thinking and creative intellectualism. That said, many people have difficulty staying in the body as all their focus goes into their heads. If you look around, particularly at people who spend a lot of time thinking, you'll see it in their physical bodies--heads that are held fixed still and thrust in front of the upper body. The rest of the body, borne down by the subconscious compensations necessary to remain upright in gravity, adjusts accordingly--one pattern might be that the chest sinks, bringing the heart into a subordinate position to the head, the shoulders come forward to balance out the hump in the upper back, the stomach pooches forward, and the legs hyperextend.

Other patterns are possible, depending on the psychological makeup of the person and/or other factors both internal and external. The point is, gravity will assure a global effect of any imbalance in structure or function in the body. It makes us accountable.

The tendency of the head to dominate is one of the reasons why yoga emphasizes so much the lifting of the heart, the leading of the heart in motion, at the same time as the belly (identity) is stabilized. This puts the head automatically in its rightful position--as active and alive, receptive of vital energy from below it, but ultimately as an instrument--where thoughts serve the person, but are not ends in themselves.

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