This week we focus our practices on awareness of balancing energies. We are reminded of the translation of Hatha Yoga: Ha- Sun, Tha-Moon and the Ida and Pingala flows of energy in the body. Ida the cooling, moon, left side and Pingala the warming, sun, right side. Pranayama practice begins with observing the flow of air through the nostrils left vs. right before we begin Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and then return to breathing with both nostrils, noticing if anything has changed, if the two sides feel more in balance.
In asana practice we explore opposing forces to energise our poses. In Parsvakonasana, the grounded back foot and extended top hand move in opposition to energise and awaken the whole top side of the body; and the lower body grounds and descends to provide the strong and stable foundation that allows the upper body to lift and extend away from the pelvis, creating space and enervating the asana. We can bring awareness in these asymmetrical poses to any subtle differences one side has from the other and take steps in our personal practice to bring the two sides into better harmony.
When we bring our attention to these opposing flows of energy, we find them everywhere in our practice. We experience how to leverage them to energise and refine familiar poses, and to experience more fully that sense of “effortless effort”.
Ruth is a yoga therapist and yoga teacher based in Cheltenham, UK. She emphasises yoga as a tool for well-being, for individuals and in her classes, in person or via zoom.