Finding Fluidity & Space in Yoga

By Jolyon Cowan, MPH
Mind/Body Program Yoga Instructor
The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health
 

 How much of our bodies are made up of water?  I’m not an expert, but sources say over 55% of our body mass is water.[1]  So why with so much of our bodies composed of fluid do people often focus on  parts of our body that are solid and tight? I suppose you could ask this question of our minds too.

And while I might seem like a proselytizer, I’m just a mild mannered bureaucrat by day and yoga teacher by night who fervently believes in the healing power of yoga.  I’ve found that practicing gentle, nurturing yoga postures can help us explore our bodies and help unlock sensations of fluidity and openness.  This “releasing” could potentially be among our most comfortable states of being.  

And where the body goes, the mind often follows.

In my teaching I try to guide participants so they have the opportunity of releasing and feeling the nurturing power of even the gentlest posture on a molecular level. 

Which brings me back to this “water” theme. I’ve been exploring the relationship between our fluid nature and the possibilities for opening in our bodies. If we’re mostly water then speaking atomically, we are more than half hydrogen dioxide. Look at water molecule models. When I do so, I’m struck by the sheer amount of space that appears between each molecule. [2]

All this might sound more than a little strange:  fluidity, space”¦ yoga?  How do you translate these esoteric concepts to a practice that you can do in a class, at home or even in the office? In my classes, I list the three tenants of my own yoga practice; those that help me let go and release the most: awareness of the breath, gravity, and the relationship of the spine between these two fundamental realities in life. 

If you’re sitting, do you feel the support of your sit bones and spine?  Do you feel space behind the base of the skull? Do you feel space behind your collarbones? Can you? Is it possible? Close your eyes for just a minute.  Do you feel space just above the crown of the head? I would like to venture the answer is a resounding yes!  Yes you can undo completely even for an instant, and if so isn’t it beautiful.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_water

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:3D_model_hydrogen_bonds_in_water.jpg

 

ABOUT JOLYON COWAN, MPH

Jolyon studied Public Health at Tulane University and has had extensive experience working in reproductive health programs.  Jolyon has studied yoga in the UK, India, and the US since 1989, and he has enjoyed teaching yoga to participants of Dr. Alice Domar’s Mind/Body Program for Infertility since 2001.  His gentle teaching style is suitable to all participants enrolled. In addition to his 11 + years experience teaching yoga, Jolyon has also worked and studied with the Yoga Bioymedical Trust, in London, an organization dedicated to both the medical research of and teaching of yoga therapy.