October 6, 2012

Yoga Journal Estes: Tias Little’s “Right Effort.” ~ Robyn Lawrence

Nothing at this conference is going to be what I thought.

Yesterday Ana Forrest had us move the crap out of our bellies before we opened our hearts, and in Tias Little’s session today, “Practice for the Core,” we worked our quadriceps and inner groin because they’re the gateway to strengthening the inner psoas.

“It’s fashionable these days to talk about the core,” Tias said before we practiced, and he made reference to yoga enterprises that are making bank by emphasizing core strength.

Little said that while core strength is crucial because the core sheath contains a bundle of nerves connected to the chakras, it pays to be intelligent in cultivating that.

Everyone holds tension in the gut, Tias said, and negative vibration in particular settles in the core sheath. Holding all that stress in the gut affects menstruation, digestion and hormonal rhythms. But “muscularizing your way through that is not your best way to strengthen,” he said. “You have to be very delicate, like you’re approaching an animal in the wild.”

It turns out that all the core work I’ve pushed myself to do in the past decade might actually be harming more than helping me. This will change my practice.

Tias suggested that we learn to soften our “pusher side” and instead start working more intelligently with the core sheath by strengthening the upper legs and inner arches of our feet. He called it “right effort.”

It’s fine with me that “right effort” doesn’t include bicycle sit-ups.

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