Last week I wrote about the Yield and Push developmental movement pattern. Thoughts about yielding continued to travel through my mind since I watched and heard with horror the news of the earthquake and aftermath, in Japan. We gain so much reassurance from our relationship with the ground. How terrifying for the Japanese people to have the earth beneath their feet so comprehensively shaken.
Yielding is a release of weight into whatever it is we are in contact with, and this usually involves a relationship with gravity and the ground. One of my students was near Kobe at the time of the 1995 Earthquake. She says that in the immediate aftermath, she had a tremendous need to go to the countryside and lie down on the ground.
Yielding is something we did a lot as babies and infants. We yielded into our Mother’s arms and then to the ground – the basis for moving into space and locomotion.
Susan Aposhyan in her book Natural Intelligence says “Our ability to yield is the basis for our ability to take effective action in the world.”
When a baby pushes himself up with both hands this is known as Homologous movement – a yield and push pattern. As well as learning to locomote, baby is learning to assert himself and take action on his environment.
If we missed out on some of this pattern – perhaps sitting a lot as a baby – then we can re-pattern ourselves as adults. When we practise vinyasa in yoga – Chaturanga to Upward Facing Dog to Downward Facing Dog – we are reinforcing the Homologous yield and push pattern. When we do these moves regularly I believe we are also influencing how we operate in the world. We are patterning ourselves to be more focused and effective, to be able to set boundaries – ‘take our lives in our own hands’.
In last weeks classes our hearts and minds turned to Japan and the suffering of the Japanese people. We wished to send them our love and courage, hoping also that before long they will be able to take their lives back into their own hands.