It’s up, down, all around. But we have the ability to track onto an energy flow and move more energy in our chosen direction. You set the intention and follow it. In classes this week we follow convergent flows deep into us to experience samana vayu, located at our navel centre. Samana vayu’s energy is used to process and distil the nourishment we draw into ourselves- food, air, information, experiences. It is a concentrating force.
So how do we access it? We can redirect our apana energy in the pelvis upwards into our navel centre with the help of our Uddiyana Bandha- our “flying upwards” lock. This draws our abdominal organs inward and lifts them, locking and concentrating the energy. We can send some of our prana energy in our heart centre downward with the help of the exhale.
Like building pressure in a container, the energy gathered in the navel centre creates heat and power that we can explore in our yoga asanas. Twists are a great way to draw our awareness to and activate this energy, as are forward folds. Our counterposes teach us to notice the energy dissipation here and help us restore balance.
Use your practice time to explore focused effort, but also its release, the ability to let it go when it is not needed. Carry this skill with you off the mat: give each activity your full attention and devotion. But know when it is finished, and take a few mindful breaths as you let it go- from your body, mind, and emotions. Cleanse yourself of it, ready to apply fresh focus to whatever comes next.
Ruth teaches yoga in Cheltenham UK, weaving yoga philosophy into the asana practice to help students connect yoga on the mat to their lives off the mat.