A Yoga practice holds the chance to experiment with our bodies and see what happens when we stop over-thinking, and allow the breath to take over. Movement and flow are important in my practice and yoga classes, and studies show that movement is an extremely important factor in relieving and preventing stress and anxiety.
Moving in a fluid way helps us release emotional tension, which usually shows up as physical tension within our bodies. Fascia – the connective tissue that covers our entire bodies and has even more nerve endings than the iris of the eye (previously thought to have the most nerve endings in the body) – is a fluid, ‘juicy’ tissue that loves movement. When we keep ourselves rigid and stiff – either due to lack of movement, injury, stress, or anxiety, this connective tissue begins to lose its hydration and ‘hardens up’. This is usually the cause of that stiffness or ‘tightness’ we feel, and is also an example of holding emotions such as stress, anger or anxiety within our physical bodies. Movement hydrates this tissue, bringing a sense of ease and openess back to the body – and a relaxed body encourages a relaxed mind.
The most important thing about this style of practicing is that the breath leads each movement. The way we breathe influences the way we feel, and when we connect the body and breath, the mind comes into sync and the chatter or chitta vritti (mind fluctuations) becomes a little quieter and easier to deal with.
This sequence utilises the backbend Camatkarasana or ‘Wild thing’ to help open the front of the body – which usually becomes compressed if we’ve been hunching over and holding ourselves rigidly – and most importantly, it’s fun!
If you feel you need some movement in your day, take some time to just get on your mat and move in whatever way the breath takes you. Inspired by last week’s class sequence, here’s a salutation opening to wild thing.
Move, breathe, enjoy 🙂