Malasana & AUTUMNAL Light:
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than any other season” ~ Jim Bishop
I just got in from my morning QiGong and meditation practice at our river front. I’m absolutely gobsmacked by how wealthy I feel being in nature on a day like today. It is chilly, with evidence of frost on the forest floor. However, the sun is spilling down in cascades that sweeps the earth in brilliant patterns, and renders leaves transparent as the sun screams through their thin flesh, laying bare their bones.
This morning, I chose Malasana as my meditation pose, the Garland posture. The deep squat is a very frequent resting body posture for those countries that do not depend upon the use of chairs for comfort. Chairs are brutal on the human spine, and one of the major causes of back issues. In countries that ‘live and work on the floor’, spinal issues are much less of a concern.
The deep squat is a position of work, rest, eating, child birthing, visiting and joy around the world, but not so loved in Western culture, due to the collective tightness of our hamstrings, and the weakness of our knees from lack of opening to their full fulcrum abilities.
Children squat with ease, and frequently use this as a restful play position. This should tell us something about the dangers of chair dependence, the impact of years of sitting, rather than moving, and offer us a way to become more nubile, more flexible, more grounded and weightless… by practicing Malasana… the deep squat.
I am a fan of the internet meme: Sitting is the new smoking. Sitting in chairs that is! Sit in squat for lower body health. And… some extra bonuses are a good stretch for the pelvic floor, an important balance to conscious strengthening work through kegels. And the pressure of the belly against the thighs can activate and stimulate the vagal nerves, inspiring the rest-inducing and system restoring parasympathetic system. Can you feel the ahhhhhh?
I find when I am in Malasana pose, especially today, drenched in sunlight that pours down in golden sheaths in the amber autumn ambiance, I feel ironically free of gravity, weightless and unbearably light. I feel both connected to the earth, but also buoyant and free, ethereal, skybound.
The squat is also common in the animal kingdom. These deLIGHTful frogs appear suspended as they fold their legs into garlands around themselves. Grasping with their tiny toes, they allow their weight to hang from their spines, in a natural and passive stretch that opens up fascia, melts muscle tension and builds strength.
Try it for yourself at some point today. Pause for a moment, and avail yourself to the lightness of Malasana. And preferably out doors in this resplendent sunshine. Here on the West Coast,fall sunshine is highly economical and rare. Like Gold itself, this light is precious and precarious. One feels rich and abundant in its radiant presence. Experience Gratitude in Garland pose by adding in Anjali Mudra (prayer hands). Wonder-full.
IN-JOY! And squat. Your primal self will love you for it.