Saturday, August 30, 2008

Animals Animals Everywhere

Lately I am realizing how deep my immersion in martial arts and yoga has become. One symptom is the way I talk to my teachers. Here are some typical questions:
  • is that a pigeon pose?
  • should I go to dragon stance?
  • kind of like a one legged dog?
  • should we turn the head of the snake upward?
  • cobra, sphinx or upward dog?
  • a drunken monkey?

I swear these are all legitimate questions which were asked in perfect seriousness and got detailed responses.

In martial arts and yoga many of the poses and postures are modeled after animals, and the animals We spent about ten minutes discussig how to use our hand like a snake after class. We looked at how to bend our hand around poles, and move our hands upward or sideways in a shimmering motion.

As we discussed this I began to wonder:

  • Is it possible to take the anology too far? Obviously we are not pigeons, camels dragons or tigers, so why should we study their motions?
  • Animals are adapted to move certain ways, but the same laws of physics apply to them, so if we move our hands like a snake we can take advantage of the unique coiling motion of a snake. If we think of a tiger we can make our hands into claws that tear. If we think of a dog stretching out, we can get that angle in our upper back that feels soooooo good.

So the next time you are doing Cat/Cow, king pigeon, or a drunken monkey, think about how the animals move. At the very least it will bring some art and fun to your practice.

No comments: