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Day 4: Week One, Yoga with Rodney Yee

“It is crucial to learn how to open your upper chest and your arms with increasing relaxation in your neck and sense organs (Yee, 54).”

“The repetition of Tree Pose and Warrior I in the following sequence lets your body make its own
subtle adjustments to bring understanding and ease in the poses (Yee, 54).”

Ever since I went back to working a job where I spent the majority of my time sitting in a chair in front of a computer screen, I have felt my chin migrate forward and I can just FEEL my whole head in front of my spine.  It’s awful and it feels wrong.  I try to remember to draw my chin in towards my heart and release my shoulder blades down my back during the day, but it is really challenging.  When I finally get a chance to stand up, I feel desperate for a stretch.  I just want to get into downward facing dog and feel the weight of my head releasing down from my spine instead of creating compression and tension as my atlas bone shouts for relief.  So, yes, I agree—–it is crucial to keep the upper chest open with a relaxed neck and sense organs.  Of course, easier said than done!  I find it easier to address this task on the mat than in my “real life.”

As a teacher, I feel my students who are frustrated about the way their bodies perform and find shape in the asanas.  The idea that we can allow the interior intelligence of the body to find full expression through the practice of asana is one that we all want to believe, yet we find it hard to imagine.  We want to believe that we could yank or pull ourselves into a certain shape.  Or, better yet, if our instructor could just help us “make it happen” with a magical adjustment.  Even after many years of practice, I was rather skeptical that the repetition of Tree Pose and Warrior I was going to do much else but strain my body.  Amazingly, it did not strain my body and, by the third set of tree poses, I felt significantly taller through my entire body.  My arm pits seemed to rise with greater ease up and away from my hips and I felt elevated.  Really.  Almost without trying!

Please feel free to join me in my 8-week program with Rodney Yee. You can share your own experience by leaving comments on this blog. It’s OK if you start on a different day or we get out of sync. This is going to be fun!

Posted by Sharon Fennimore Rudyk, the fearless leader of Team Matrika. Are you in Pittsburgh, PA? Join us for a great class at Yoga Matrika in Squirrel Hill.

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