Helicoidal Flow: Yoga As A Body Holiday
By Helen Noakes
Spiralling or helicoidal flow is an omnipresent phenomenon in nature. As humans, we have the choice to consciously join this pattern of movement that can lead us into freedom.
The magnitude of the range of spirals in the whole of creation is immense: from the micro level of DNA and double-helix structures in every cell to the vastness of galaxies and our universes. The way we are born and enter the world via the birth canal entails travelling through a spiral…
As we stand we can touch these ever-present, spiralling undulations which have the direct effect of releasing deep tension from our body through our feet. When we allow the foot to ground through the base of the big toe, the base of the little toe and the centre back of the heel, there is a spontaneous lifting in the centre or diaphragm of the foot. This can be interpreted as the Foot Bandha. When such awareness is switched on, the centre of the dome lifting in the foot creates a vortex of energy. The vortex is a spiral shape and it triggers a wave of aliveness to all the other diaphragms and domes in the body. The spine is then enabled to respond by releasing itself in delicious curves – the spine loves to twist and curve and creates a rush of fluid into itself. The result is a deep sense of relaxation in the body as we move through space.
In her book Awakening the Spine, yoga teacher Vanda Scaravelli encourages us to listen to the song of the body: yoga can be explored and experienced as a body holiday! When we take time to respond to the pull of the earth’s gravity, our body in turn finds its way home. This is how I experience yoga in my practice. Yoga was an initiation for me into many dimensions. It offered me the gift of connecting to the awareness of myself, gave me insights in order to have a deeper relationship with my physical body, and spiralling connected me to the vortex of existence.
Tuning into Spirals, Tuning into Happiness
One of my favourite expressions is that our biology and biography are the same! This is to a degree, of course, because we have choices. What we feel, what we have inherited and what we have taken on from conception is reflected in our physicality and behavioural patterns. As a challenging emotion approaches us, it can take us in a spiral downwards or upwards. We have a choice to contract or expand. This is also mirrored when pain floods into our body and, once again, we have a choice of experiencing suffering and feeling low, or taking our selves through and beyond the pain enabling us to channel our awareness into an upward spiral and into ultimate freedom. From a postural perspective we can choose to spiral our spine from head to tailbone, for example, in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), allowing a sense of deep release of any tension that maybe residing in our systems.
The awareness that comes from this essential practice is endless. Any free element always moves in spirals, whether it is water, air, fire or earth. Likewise, our consciousness connects to the deepest core of the self in one dimension, and in another dimension opens us to the vastness of the infinite possibility of super consciousness. I share the Scaravelli-inspired yoga perspective that breath is the key aspect to this kind of integral movement. When the actions of breath and movement are not separated, we operate in our natural state of being in wholeness and fullness. Our bodies contain around 73% of fluid so our organs are “floating” in water, an element that also moves and responds to gravity in the natural state of spirals and waves. The spine is directly involved in the breathing action: the breath affects the spine and the spine affects the breath. Allowing a spiral in the spine creates a vortex of other reflections in our limbs and fluid body. Therefore gravity can have its effect efficiently by grounding our skeleton into the earth.
As we grow in awareness and conscious movement, our personal journey expands in a spiral so we don’t remain stuck or stagnant. Here we also have a choice to say yes or no. Evolution reflects complete spiralling in its essence as it shows us transformation, change and rejuvenation with every cycle. My wish is for us all to spiral into freedom and happiness!
“When we take time to respond to the pull of the earth’s gravity, our body in turn finds its way home.”
Author: Helen Noakes
Visit Helen’s Website: [email protected]
Article orignally written for: http://www.yogagendas.com