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kali durga yoga

FASCIA - THE FABRIC OF OUR FORM: ON YIN VS. YANG TISSUE

FASCIA - THE FABRIC OF OUR FORM: ON YIN VS. YANG TISSUE

Fascia is known as transanatomical substrate:

·      Transanatomical- meaning anatomy and more;

·      Substrate- meaning the element behind everything, that which connects everything, the extracellular matrix which envelops every organ.

Fascia is made of collagen and fed by Vitamin C. It forms blood vessels, muscle fibers, it even informs the architecture of our lungs and our brain.

As our largest sensory organ, I think of this connective tissue as our ‘6th Sense’ contributing to interception and proprioception, it tells us where we are in space. No muscle of bone ever works without the utilization of this organ of organization.

The main job of this fascial matrix is to draw water into its matrix (hydration), as neural impulses move through water, the autonomic nervous system relies on a fluid state of the connective tissue for its communication . In a healthy Asana practice, we are directing some of our inherent water element into the fascia to send healthy neural impulses through our system.

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YANG TISSUES:

·      Shallower tissue- closer to surface, the faschia under skin, muscles.

·      Responds to: rhythmic movement and short-term engagement (5 breaths maximum), repetition and strong explosive movement.

·      Muscle tissue closer to surface has more fluid content that tissues closer to the bones. At rest muscles are 75% fluid content and they get juicier with movement. That’s why warming up in a Yang Yoga practice is so important before  reaching apex pose. 

YIN TISSUES:

·      Ligaments, tendons- deeper connective tissues that binds bones and even binds within the bones and bone marrow

·      Responds to: static loading and holding, slow sustained holds

·      Whereas yang tissues need repetition, repetition is Deleterious on our joints (wear and tear)

·      Healthy stress on the yin fascia can initiate the flow of fluids to yin tissues which don’t intrinsically juice up like Yang muscles do.

A Pose in itself isn’t yin or yang but how you practice it becomes the intentionality and texture of the shape- thereby targeting the yin or yang tissues.

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ABOUT KALI: 

International yoga teacher Kali Basman  (kalidurgayoga.com) enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 

WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI?  Learn more about her upcoming 5 Elements Yin  & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.

A Voyage Through Virasana

A Voyage Through Virasana

THE OBJECTIVE OF YIN.

A still, intentional embodiment practice helps to soothe the fluctuations of a cluttered mentality and release the binding grip of muscular stress. Yin is the format we may use to withdraw from normative patterning of stimulation and let all the energetic build-up of the daily debris find a way to percolate through the system and be effectively released.

Certain implications of stress emerge around the tops of the thighs and the bottom of the hip flexor – a critical fight or flight response when the system is in stress – and so a shape which lengthens the quadriceps and compresses the bottom insertion of the psoas is paramount to softening and widening the legs so we might settle into groundedness.

-Kali Durga Yoga


The Subtle Systems of Saddle

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I offer Virasana (Heros/Saddle) as a way to internally rotate the femur bones and lengthen the quadriceps to slough off mounting tension from thighs and lower hips. You can choose to keep the spine erect or enter into a more intense embellishment of the shape with the spine on the ground.  

This is an intense, acute shape: as such, within the immediacy of sensation there is the availability to observe somatic wisdom. Enter quietude to hear the wisdom – sometimes it speaks to you in a mere whisper.

Note: there are many resources online which point towards the proper cueing, entering and exiting the shape, contraindications and modifications. I encourage you to explore those on your own accord – the thrust of this post is not to cookie-cutter the shape for you, but rather to offer some of the underlying energetic repercussions a refined relationship to this posture will provide.

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Settle The skeletal set up of the foundation for this shape is an internal rotation of the thigh bones and a compression of the front of the ankles as you settle the hips above the heels.  The Kidney & Stomach Channels of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Meridians are engaged.

Spread Generally speaking, an internal rotation of the thighs allows for a spreading of the sacrum. Thus, a stable base of spine allows for a therapeutic foundation to compress lumbar if you choose to move into a backbend.

Arch  If you enter the backbend by bringing the back to the ground behind you, you’ll experience a deep opening in sacral-lumbar region of the spinal column.  Remember you are only as healthy as your spine is supple!

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MAY THE SPINNING OF THE THIGHS

INVITE SPACIOUSNESS IN SPINE

& GROUNDEDNESS OF PRESENCE


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About Kali:

International yoga teacher Kali Basman enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 

WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI?  Learn more about her upcoming 5 Elements Yin  & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.

5 Elements Yin Yoga: Water Element

5 Elements Yin Yoga: Water Element

Yin Yoga is a practice which encourages a softening or surrendering of activity and an observation of present moment awareness. Integrating the Chinese Five Elements into the practice enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga as a healing modality, as we are each an embodiment of Earth, Fire, Water, Metal & Wood. During circumstances of imbalance, we can utilize the wisdom tradition of Yoga Asana to organize the skeleton and relax the musculature in specific ways which awaken and enliven gentle self-inquiry and a lubrication of the connective tissues and pathways for immunity, longevity, and vitality.

In a world that’s ever shifting, may you use this practice to find stillness.

In thought patterns which engender suffering, may this practice allow you to see the unity of all things, from the shifting of the seasons to the suppleness of the spine

Xoxo,
Kali Durga


WATER ELEMENT & THE KIDNEY MERIDIAN: APPROACHING EQUANIMITY & RESTORATION

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The wisdom of water is its incredible strength, it carves rock and shapes the entire earth, but without force. Water element allows for adaptation to all of life’s changes, challenges and stresses. Like the flow of water, a balanced practice empowers us to govern emotions, rather than letting emotions govern us.

This is sometimes called ‘radical impartiality’: water energy enables us to act effectively in regard to a problem despite emotional responses, from a place of stable clarity, and to continue to advance or retreat appropriately. To act consciously, rather than react unconsciously. Allowing feelings to be there, without suppressing or indulging them. 

ASK YOURSELF. 

Do I know when to stand my ground and when to surrender? Am I making choices which deplete my vital energy, or allowing spaces to replenish and revitalize my system?

SEASONS.

Each element is most dominant in a particular season. The winter, which is also the season most dominant in YIN energy, is also the home of the water element. Just as a bear hibernates in winter, the water element of this season asks us to engage in renourishing activities. 
 

ORGAN FUNCTIONALITY. 

Located below the lowest ribs on the back body, the kidneys are responsible for waste removal and filtration of blood. Kidney energy effects all of life’s processes from birth onwards. It is essential for growth and maintenance of general vitality, creativity, youthfulness, and sexuality. Kidney energy controls the Chi, or essence, and thus gives stamina and vigor to the entire bodymind. 


CONSTITUTIONAL PERSONALITY TYPES:

IMBALANCED EARTH: 

  • Excessive reactivity and perpetual state of emotional responsiveness (opposite of equanimity) highlight an imbalanced water type. Fear, stress and anxiety drain the system of motivation, so they are unable to cope with issues that arise.

WATER TYPES:

  •  They tend to create stressful schedules and unrealistic priorities to take on too much beyond their capacity. A continuous build-up of stress and a consistent strain on adrenal glands and nervous system can drain them. 

  • Physical symptoms of imbalance: Kidney deficiency is more apparent in winter. If fatigued or unbalanced, water types are less able to stay warm and grounded and nourished when the water element is intense. Weak kidney chi can manifest as yellow palor to the skin, blue bags under the eyes, a craving for salty food, and aversion to the cold.

  • Emotional symptoms of imbalance:  Fear, panic attacks, phobias, feeling overwhelmed.

BALANCED WATER TYPES: 

  • They trust in the flow of life. They are typically morning people, as they awake full of vigor. They are motivated and thus flow around obstacles with a skillful balance of effortlessness and determination.  

The water meridian or the kidney channel begins at the sole of the foot and curls around the inner ankle before ascending up the inseam of the back of the leg. As it reaches through the inner groin it branches up the front of the spine and chest to end just below the collarbones.
   
A Yin Yoga practice to support and balance water element typically tends to emphasize vitality support. As the kidneys filter toxins from the blood, our aim in a water practice is to support the flow of blood and Qi uninterrupted, alongside front and back bends and lengthening of the inner leg line.

TRY SOME OF THESE WATER ELEMENT POSTURES!

  • Half dragonfly (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)

  • Caterpillar (Paschimottanasana)

  • Sphinx (Salamba Bhujangasana)  

  • Seal  (Bhujangasana)

  • Bridge or supported bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)         


About Kali:

International yoga teacher Kali Basman  (kalidurgayoga.com) enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 


WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI? Learn more about her upcoming 5 Element Yin & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.



5 Elements Yin Yoga: Wood Element

5 Elements Yin Yoga: Wood Element

Yin Yoga is a practice which encourages a softening or surrendering of activity and an observation of present moment awareness. Integrating the Chinese Five Elements into the practice enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga as a healing modality, as we are each an embodiment of Earth, Fire, Water, Metal & Wood. During circumstances of imbalance, we can utilize the wisdom tradition of Yoga Asana to organize the skeleton and relax the musculature in specific ways which awaken and enliven gentle self-inquiry and a lubrication of the connective tissues and pathways for immunity, longevity, and vitality.

In a world that’s ever shifting, may you use this practice to find stillness.

In thought patterns which engender suffering, may this practice allow you to see the unity of all things, from the shifting of the seasons to the suppleness of the spine.

Xoxo,
Kali Durga


Wood Element & the Liver Meridian: Finding Nourishment and Grounded-ness

“Wood element is a delicate balance of asserting and expressing our truths and preferences while accepting other points of views and processes without judgement.”

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The wood element governs our relationship to order, planning, and control. Feelings of frustration may be the penalty for not growing into and asserting out whole self. Wood energy also involves our physical and mental flexibility. If a constitution finds imbalance in the wood element, the result is stubbornness, and narrow-mindedness like a rigid branch that cannot bend but will break instead. Wood element is a delicate balance of asserting and expressing our truths and preferences while accepting other points of views and processes without judgement.


ORGAN FUNCTIONALITY

A wood element practice is one to support the liver in its optimal functioning. The liver is the largest organ in the body, weighing between 3-4 pounds. 2.5 Pints of blood flow through the liver each minute, freshly oxygenated blood from the heart and nutrient rich blood from the stomach, spleen, and pancreas. The liver secretes various substances required by the body including glucose, proteins, vitamins and fats. There are more than 500 known functions carried out by the liver, including conversion of carbohydrates, processing of protein, storage of iron, assembly of amino acids, destructions of toxins such as nicotine and alcohol.

The liver is one of the most congested of all organs in modern day - excess fats, chemicals intoxicants, and denatured foods must all be processed by and through the liver, which need to be in prime working order to filter and detoxify our bodies.

A branch of the liver meridian extends into the eyes and governs our physical and psychological vision, being in tune with a vision for our life's purpose. Wood energy is responsible for seeing this vision clearly and ordering and planning the steps to make our visions a reality.

Emotion: anger/frustration [this is often the emotion that gets cleared in a wood practice] 

One of the first signs of disharmony in liver occurs on emotional level- anger, frustration, impatience, resentment, and explosive behavior. If these emotions not processed, it can lead to disharmony or disease in the system.

Learning to deal with frustration and anger is an essential part of learning to assert and express oneself. Without self-awareness, assertion can become aggressive, or assertion can dwindle to be non-existent as we shrink from aspects of self we are not entirely comfortable with. Often a wood imbalance manifests as being “nice”, masking our true feelings, stifling our truth. 

Season: Each element is felt most strongly during a particular season. The wood element is most potently alive in Spring; think of the detoxification processes of the liver akin to a ‘spring cleaning’ where the kinetics of the meridian assume the movement and shifting of stagnation, the clearing out of accumulated debris and tension.

Constitutional Personality Types:
Imbalanced Wood types tend to suppress emotions, staying quietly rigid and unflexible in their views and behavior.  Likely to have episodes of explosive reactivity, stubbornness, irritability after suppressing for so long. 

Wood imbalanced type can be timid and lack courage to express oneself fully, or on the opposite side of the spectrum can be overassertive in their opinion and the attempt to obtain what they want. Anger and resentment can result from both patterns.

Physical symptoms of imbalance:  yellow eyes + skin, stiffness, arthritis, tired eyes/weak/blurred vision/light sensitivity, migraines, weak nails. 

Emotional symptoms of imbalance:  

  • angry, impatient, emotional repression

  • aggression, shouting

  • lack of direction/purpose

  • rigid attitude, always right

  • nervous tension

Balanced Wood: Confident and intuitive, patient and able to express emotions as they arise. Able to express their personality instead of assert themselves, smooth and relaxed.

The key lesson for wood is to express oneself and allow growth with patience and compassion and fully accepting themselves exactly as they are.

Wood Element Yoga
A wood element practice is one to support the liver in its optimal functioning. As the energetics are a moving, shifting stagnant energy, we can use twists as a cleansing technique which helps us approach the center line more aptly, and hip openers to clear the debris.

Wood element postures can include:

Supine twist  (Jatharaparivartanasana)
Cow Pose (Gomukhasana)         
Squat (Malasana)

Copy of Kali Basman Bio.JPG

International yoga teacher Kali Basman (kalidurgayoga.com) enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual.  Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness.

On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect.

Want to practice with Kali? Learn more about her upcoming Yin & Restorative Trainings.