"In this way, the resistance becomes your inner teacher guiding you to where you attention is lacking."

Within this system of yoga, alignment is a by-product of a deepening relationship to the flow of sensation created by surrender, and the response it creates in the muscles. It works by first creating softness where resistance to movement is present. This is usually evident where you feel some degree of discomfort in the body, such as working with tight muscles or joints. To create softness, requires placing your attention into your discomfort and discovering where you have habitually contracted in reaction to what is unpleasant. Once the awareness is there, it requires patience and consistency to return to this place with the sensation of every breath, until the sensation changes and some form of release appears.

In this way, the resistance becomes your inner teacher guiding you to where you attention is lacking. This process may happen instantly or it may take time. Yet, in that moment of release, where the grip of a particular muscle on a joint or bone lets go, a sensation is generated, followed by an invitation to respond. In each yoga asana, inherent in its form, are two primary non-muscular forces for initiating movement – one external, the other internal. Gravity is the external force. Breath is the internal force. And once movement is initiated by these forces, the muscles then respond, without losing the sensation generated by the release. This work is very subtle and requires alert awareness. In all asana, backbends, forward bends, side bends, twists, inversions, you’re trying to release unnecessary muscular effort. This is not easy because in most western cultures, we have been trained from very early on to rely on muscular effort to create movement and posture. But if you look at eastern martial arts, movement there is not rooted in muscular force. Movement there is rooted in balance and using the elemental forces of nature and gravity. When this is understood, the musculature responds to the movement, instead of the movement responding to the musculature, which reduces the leakage of muscular energy and subsequent life force


Tawny Sterios is a mother, a yoga teacher and teacher trainer, a doula, circle guide and nature enthusiast.

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