merudaṇḍaDevanāgarī: मेरुदण Translation: the spine Related concepts:kāya
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“Breathing should be done to have maximum effect on the spine;
so start the inhale at the top of the lungs down,
with contracted abdomen to hold spine erect, offering from top to bottom.
Inhale from top to bottom makes sure that the spine is erect.
It was believed that breathing from the bottom to the top
would send the internal organs further down, which wasn’t considered healthy,
whereas breathing from the top to the bottom lifted the organs.
It also helps to work on the upper portion of the spine, which is a very sluggish area,
this type of breathing helps to create movement.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992
“The difference in chest to stomach and stomach to chest
breathing is minimal in the length of the breath.
How you bring about the length of the breath affects Āsana differently.
Apart from medical restrictions,
to give respect to the chest, the spine and gravity
we need to breathe chest to stomach on the inhale.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar
“Is it a misdirection within Āsana from talking
about effects on the body as if on the spine?
Thus too much focus on talking about effects on the body
and not enough on looking at the actual effects on the spine?”
Initiating movement of the trunk,
does not automatically guarantee
initiating movement in the spine.
We need to appreciate the difference
and learn how to prioritise the latter.
“One principle taught to me by Desikachar,
related to our relationship with our spine from a Yoga perspective,
whether on a physical, energetic or psychic level.
It is the notion that we are looking for a little movement in a lot of places,
rather than a lot of movement in a few places.”
“As a teacher it can be helpful to consider Āsana as
vehicles to transmit the fundamental principles of practice.
For example a cardinal principle of practice is that Āsana
have a primary and a secondary aspect within their Lakṣana.
Thus we must inquire into what is the primary aspect in this Āsana,
and what is the secondary aspect in this particular Āsana?
The idea is to maintain the integrity of the primary characteristics.
Thus we may need to compromise the secondary characteristics.
For example in Uttānāsana to sustain the primary work in the spine
we can consider a secondary compromise by releasing the knees.”
“The Lakṣana of Parśva Trikoṇāsana, or side triangle pose,
is as a movement OF the spine to the side over one leg,
rather than as a bending or arcing IN the spine towards the side.
Thus the aim is for the spine to stay straight relative to the leg,
with the intention of extending it from crown to coccyx.”
“Bṛṃhaṇa Kriyā and Laṅghana Kriyā as expansive and contractive activities are two potentials actualised through the Breath and Āsana.
Within the practice of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma they are actualised through an understanding of the primary principles that inform Haṭha Yoga and Āyurveda.
The alchemical process underpinning this understanding is the relationship between the two primary principles of Prāṇa and Agni in order to influence Haṭha Yoga concepts such as Prāṇa, Apāna, Nāḍī, Cakra, Agni and Kuṇḍalinī.
In terms of Bṛṃhaṇa Kriyā and Laṅghana Kriyā, the viniyoga of Bṛṃhaṇa affects a dispersion of Agni from the core to the periphery and the viniyoga of Laṅghana affects a withdrawal of Agni from the periphery to the core.
Understanding the application of this particular process facilitates access, through the Merudaṇḍa, Prāṇa and Agni, to energising, cleansing and aligning potentials in the practice of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma.”
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