November 21, 2010

Relax The Neck and Tongue

In B.K.S. Iyengar's book Light on Life, he discusses how we must relax into the poses - that we must relax and open as we hold the stretch, which in turn will also relax the brain.
 "You must relax the neck and head as well.  If you keep the back skin of the neck passive and the tongue soft, there is no tension in the brain.  This is silence in action, relaxation in action." 
Iyengar states that there is a connection between the tongue and the throat and the brain.  We must relax the tongue and the throat in order to relax the brain.

I went into class this morning with this in my mind.  I was going to try to keep my tongue and throat relaxed through my entire practice.  I have noticed, in the past, that my tongue holds a lot of tension when I practice.  I like to press it against the top of my mouth - especially in Standing Bow and Savasana.

It was humbling to have Iyengar's words in my mind as I went through my practice.  I often caught myself with my tongue tense, but took a moment to relax it.  I found the experience of exerting myself to my 100% in the Standing Series but relaxing my tongue and my throat to be almost laughable.  The teacher cannot see my tongue, she would not have known if it was tense, so I could have kept up with this action with no one being the wiser - except for me.  I feel like I've taken a step in a different direction with my practice today.  I'm not sure where yet - but I know I picked up Iyengar's book Light on Life two years ago and could not finish it.  Right now, I am loving every word that he has written - devouring it.  Our teachers tell us Yoga is a journey.  I think that, today, I actually realized what that means.


Yolk E said...

Nice! You seem to have a lot of awareness of your practice. I was thinking of the tongue/neck/face thing a lot tonight. I find I hold a lot of tension in my throat and jaw--I tighten it like I hunch my shoulders. All stuff we gotta learn to let go of, right?

ellelove7 said...

I was just going to say, like E, I have a tendency to tighten my jaw.. It is interesting to think (especially in our first back bend) about keeping the jaw loose but the teeth together to stretch the throat. Sometimes, Yoga seems so brilliant.