My 8 year old son Theo has been learning about gravity in school. It's frankly not something that I've thought much about since I was that age. Other than when I saw the movie Gravity a few years ago which was a horror film in my books! So hearing Francisco talk about gravity and the impact it has on our bodies, and thus our lives, intrigued me.
When we stand or sit perfectly still it doesn't feel like much is going on with our bodies. The truth is, that couldn't be further from the truth. There are many muscles actively working to fight gravity in every position other than lying down. There is actually a lot of tension that goes into standing or sitting upright that we are not consciously aware of.
And like with everything I am coming to understand, what is true of the body is true of the mind. The tensions of the mind are not something that we are typically aware of either. They are very much there, and very much at work, but for most of us they are not conscious most of the time. This makes sense to me when I think about how often I ask myself why I am doing what I am doing, saying what I am saying, or reacting the way I am reacting to something. Its because the tension in the mind is hard at work.
This is the practice of yoga - it relieves the tensions of the body and the mind that are influencing our day to day lives. And this is why so much of Kaiut Yoga is practiced lying down on the floor - it relieves the body of fighting gravity; it allows gravity to work for us not against us. And when this tension is relieved it relieves not only our muscles and joints, it relieves our nervous system, our emotional responses and our minds.
During the Carnaval Retreat two weeks ago, as Francisco was teaching he was required to mostly stand, all day, for several days in a row. He was not able to practice himself as frequently as he normally would. Now I understand the pain and exhaustion I saw in his eyes when we met the day after the retreat ended. He had been continuously fighting gravity.
This also explains why one of my favourite poses of Kaiut is simply lying on my back - feet up on the wall or not. I can literally feel my body get closer to the ground the longer I lie there. And feel my mind becoming more grounded as well.
NOTE: Click on the image above to listen to Francisco speak more about gravity and why Kaiut Yoga is floor yoga.