How Straight Legs Get You Mind & Body Benefits
When I look around the yoga world, I am concerned by too little attention on straightening the legs. As you’ll see below, straight legs allows you to get a key mind body connection, So if you’re looking for yin yoga near me, or similar, then please consider the important issues I outline below.
Why to straighten legs
Here’s some of what Mr BKS Iyengar said on the issue.
“Do not think of yourself as a small, compressed, suffering thing.
Think of yourself as graceful and expanding, no matter how unlikely it may seem at the time.
The moment the body shrinks, the brain becomes heavy and dull, and you see nothing.
The doors of perception are closed.
Slouching acts like a narcotic to the body.”
(BKS Iyengar “Light On Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace and Ultimate Freedom” page 40.)
Below, I will give you a dot point list of why, in asanas like standing poses, it’s best to constantly focus on straightening your legs.
Extend out dynamically from your core
Before I summarise with dot points, it’s useful to think about a couple of other relevant quotes from Mr Iyengar.
In Light on Life, he also said:
“The moment you collapse, you do not recharge, and the attention is dispersed.
The moment you bring attention, you are creating something, and creation has life and energy.” (Page 32).
To give you some more context, here’s one last quote from the same part of Mr Iyengar’s book.
“The goal of all asana practice is doing them from the core of your being, and extending out dynamically through to the periphery of your body.” (Page 33).
Clearly, you can only get this outcome if your legs are straight.
What you get with straight legs
In my view, drawing on Mr Iyengar’s points, here are the key reasons for keeping your legs straight.
- The focus on getting straight holds you in the present, as well as developing your “body intelligence”. In Iyengar terms, this means the greater integration of your mind and body.
- Being able to stand upright, develops your confidence.
- It integrates you at all levels.
- You get more strength and toning.
- Hamstrings are extended.
- The muscles that work into your pelvis are toned, including your pelvic floor.
- You are better connected to the earth, and it’s thereby stabilising and steadying.
- It is emotionally calming, because you feel steadier. In other words, the focus will still your mind, thereby helping to manage your emotions.
- You are lifting your entire organic body, including the connection to front and back body.
- It moves fresh blood into your torso, and thereby helps with circulation in the organs.
- You stay more upright, thereby avoiding the “shrinking” and “compression” that Mr Iyengar mentions.
- It strengthens your spine and maintains the healthy curves in it.
- Excretion and digestion is assisted. If your legs are bent, your lower abdomen is under strain, and it’s difficult to excrete.
- With straight legs, there is a flow of attention and awareness, in the manner Mr Iyengar mentions above.
Straight legs increase your awareness
In my view, in short, keeping your legs straight is all about building greater awareness.
You have a body, and you are working it in such a way that every part of that body is a vehicle to generate awareness.
Therefore, with bent legs, there is no awareness, and no intelligence in the pose.
The focus on these matters differentiates Iyengar Yoga from most other styles of yoga.
If you want a great book about yoga and many related issues, check out the Kindle edition of Light on Life. It’s very readable, and motivating.
I’ll finish with a short, pithy quote from Light On Life. He says, in summary:
“Extension is attention, and expansion is awareness.” (Page 33).
I’ve also said more in my post about standing poses.
Try Flametree’s option for yin yoga near me
If you want yin yoga near me, try Flametree classes.
Via a range of classes, and great deals, including yin restorative yoga near me, get version of the benefits of what I’ve outlined.
Flametree Yoga online class times
The classes are all standard, introductory hatha yoga poses.
If you’ve already done some yoga, you can also get ten FREE breath meditation (pranayama) classes.
Yoga in-studio on online options
A Flame Tree Yoga Studio Darwin Beginner level yoga class can be started at any time.
There’s also a two week free trial. You need a credit or debit card, but unless you continue after the trial, you pay zero.
Follow the relevant links to learn more about the most popular of Flametree’s beginner yoga deals.
Beginners can just pay week to week, or there is also a beginner course, in-studio or online.
Some students also start with a private class or two, and then move onto regular online or in-studio classes.
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