Pose of the Month: Sláinte to Expansion & Connection by Mary Pat FitzPatrick
This month we celebrate Father’s Day and International Day of Yoga. We celebrate connection and expansion in the world and in our daily lives. Mind Body Solutions has trained more than 1000 yoga teachers to adapt the healing principles of yoga to everybody. These teachers are from 43 states, 16 countries, and 6 continents. We are truly opening yoga to everybody, everywhere!
Anyone who has taken an MBS yoga class—or just hung out with MBS—has experienced expansion and connection, which tend to be interchangeable and can be experienced in countless ways. They may be experienced by pushing feet down through the chair footplate and expanding up beyond the top of the head. They may be the result of a lifted chest spreading awareness through the whole body, expansion occurring on the exhale.
Expansion takes place in Tadasana in the spaces between the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints, and in between the bones of the hands and joints of the fingers. We use reference to reveal, not to physically correct poses. Laura Hallissey, resident of Cork, Ireland and a two-time participant of MBS’ Opening Yoga/Adapting Yoga for Disability explains, “in terms of reference, the slightest touch or connection transforms the pose.” A connection may be felt just by entering the yoga room. The possibilities are endless.
Connection happened when Laura first heard Matthew Sanford’s podcast in the fall of 2017. “I felt connection when I heard Matthew’s voice on the podcast that day and decided to come and see for myself what it was all about.”
Connection happened as Joe Dailey and his two sons were greeted by a classy and competent Dublin airport employee who gave them the “royal treatment”, in beautiful brogue, ensuring Joe had everything he needed and was properly settled into his wheelchair upon arriving in Ireland.
And there’s the moment in the photo above taken at the April Opening Yoga/Adapting Yoga for Disability Level I/II workshop when Laura and Joe connected, each a student and a teacher. Laura wanted to lighten the seriousness of the moment and told Joe that she was going to lock her brakes because “I don’t want to fall for you. It’s too soon.” That was her way of pushing through the nervousness of teaching for the first time. She says, “I knew I had to feel we were in it together.” It was a moment to be felt, as words cannot do it justice. Laura and Joe knew to trust the potential of alignment, that prana flows through more than muscular action. The dynamic between the two of them did the teaching. It’s not common for there to be much eye contact, as appears here. However, this was a training workshop. Laura had come from Ireland for a second time to soak up Matthew and Amy’s teachings. Joe was off to Ireland with his two sons the following afternoon, a trip given to him as a gift from his workplace in recognition of his dedication and service. As the Irish say, “A friend’s eye is a good mirror.” We at MBS are thrilled to be expanding, connecting, and sharing yoga and all of our birthrights to live more joyfully in our bodies.