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July 1996

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by Morag Campbell

One of the ways in which we can ensure the free flow of energy in our bodies is through the practise of Polarity Yoga. This practise forms a useful adjunct to receiving bodywork and supplements and heightens the work that the therapist does with you. The exercises are designed to stretch and open up the physical body - thus allowing for freer breathing and encouraging better energy flow.

The squat - a position readily adopted by young children and very familiar to Dr Stone from his time spent in India where many daily activities are carried out in this posture. The posture places the body in a near foetal position, this brings different parts of the body into close proximity, such as the calves and chest, which through reflex relationship and reaction activate specific energy flows within the body. It also opens up the the hip joints, stretches the spine and encourages the downward flow of air energy which aids in the expulsion of faecal material and gases from the large intestines (colon). This squatting position is also an excellent birthing position where this downward flowing energy aids in the expulsion of the child from the womb. Once in the squat position it is advisable to move the body in circles or rock it backwards and forwards. This constantly changes the muscle groups engaged in this posture to prevent cramping but also generates energy as you move your own energy field over that of the earth. This exercise is extremely grounding and works predominately on the water/earth elements with its emphasis on the pelvis.

Students squatting

The Squat exercise

The pyramid - so called because the body takes up a posture that resembles this shape by placing the feet wide apart to give a stable base and then sitting down so that the legs are parallel to the ground and placing the hands on the legs above the knees with the elbows locked straight which raises the shoulders and allows the spine to 'hang'. The extreme nature of this posture opens up the inner thighs and perineal floor, stretches and elongates the spine and releases tension from the shoulder girdle and neck. Once in this posture we can put the body through some variations of movement to achieve different end results. One variation is to drop one shoulder forward to your mid line and turn your head to look back over the other shoulder and upwards. This produces a twisting of the spine and often the movement is accompanied by 'clicks' of the spinal vertebra as they realign. Breath deeply and easily as you perform the movement so that the muscles stay relaxed.

The woodchopper - so called because the posture mimics the action of chopping wood is a dynamic exercise that should be done with great care. The feet are placed parallel a comfortable distance apart. The hands are clasped and taken up above the head and breathing in the body is arched backwards - the arms are then allowed to fall forward, the body hinging from the hips (most important if you are not to overstress the back) and then allowed to pass through the legs - the body rises up again to arch backwards on the next in breath. As the upper body falls forward the breath is expelled with a resonant 'ha' sound. This sound resonates with the fire energy in the body.

Students performing woodchopper

The first stage of the Woodchopper exercise


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