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Muscular System and Love


Hug the muscle to the bone (Image © Yoga Robin®)Healing the Total Body: Where Western Anatomy Meets Eastern Spiritual Science

Healing Series, part 3 

Table of Contents:

Listen to your heart

Emotions unlock secrets

Muscle fatigue

(back to Healing Series)


Listen to your heart

Where am I? I sometimes wonder. My heart is the biggest part of my yoga practice. It’s the biggest part of my life, in fact. My physical anatomical heart is affected too. My heightened emotional state increases my heart rate. My yoga helps me reframe my love for myself and others, reversing bad mental, emotional and spiritual habits.

Voices in the subtle body

By moving the secrets I hide in body parts, voices arise spoken through my subtle body. What I hear is not always easy to deal with. I do yoga anyway because I know it’s my path. Whatever I do to open my heart, allowing my heart’s wisdom to speak, is helpful for me.

When it gets too hard and I close up, what stops me from wanting to connect with my heart? I know that to feel the wounds is to release them. Carl G. Jung describes that the,

“Dark night of the Soul sounds like a threatening and much to be avoided experience. There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own soul. One becomes enlightened by making the darkness conscious.”

Creative heart is not a guilty pleasure

Dreams and visualizations come from the open heart space, not a closed place of resistance and internal rebellion. My creative heart is not a guilty pleasure; it is the answer.

The chakra system describes my subtle body: Shoulders are the 4th chakra (Heart Chakra of love), the hips are the 2nd chakra (Sacral Chakra of creativity). My practice is my teacher.


Emotions unlock secrets

Where emotional patterns turn to physical pain and then leave (samskaras burning), I am harnessing this heart pain too—the door to healing. To sit dormant with the anger is only "acting out." Sometimes I keep my composure during my practice and other times I'm emotionally and physically weak.

"Anger is the deepest form of care for another... Stripped of physical imprisonment, anger points toward the purest form of compassion, always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect, and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for." ~David Whyte,

Fearlessly release secrets

This all happens spontaneously because I fearlessly move the body parts that protect my secret, and my breathing circulates it all. Toxins are included with spiritual truths, and they all voice themselves inside me until I break apart. The voice given in this spiritual place I go to is the truth.

When I really feel my emotional heart, my Nervous System relaxes, my subtle body energetically softens and the door to bring love to me opens. Whereas in my “escape”, (fantasy, snide humor, psychological analysis, etc.), I am in denial. Why escape?

Embrace uncertainty

Sometimes paying too much attention to balancing the emotional heart by soothing discomfort should instead be felt as raw emotion for a release. Paying better attention to what the discomfort is saying allows me to learn the important messages about letting go.


Muscle fatigue

With all of this yoga and attention to the emotional heart, next comes muscular pain. It’s an indication of muscle-building, comes up in the form of fatigue, and occurs where we need it most sometimes. I invite the Muscular System into my focus, mainly the voluntary muscles—the ones which contract when stimulated by neurons when I consciously use them to move my leg, arm, etc. and relax by being passive; they are known as the skeletal muscles. I’m also working my involuntary muscles—the ones which work in the walls of the intestines, blood vessels, heart (but I’ll get into this later).

Muscles inflamed with repetition

When I learn a new yoga pose and repeat it daily, this new repetition of certain skeletal muscles are in pain, tightened, and in great need of care. I get monthly swedish deep tissue massages by a CMT to stabilize the muscle tissue structure—muscle cells separated and wrapped in layers of connective tissue, enclosed in fascia, connected to the bones with tendons.

Muscles contract when I use them, but my feat is to relax them completely after using them so that their contracted state doesn’t build up creating a knot, and touching nerves that trigger unnecessary (and imbalanced) compensations with other muscles. Much of this is reversed and calmed into a stable state after massage.

Fatigued muscles lack oxygen

Why does muscle-building cause fatigue? Healthy muscles (called "red muscles”) have a reserve oxygen supply, permitting them to contract and relax repeatedly while maintaining cellular respiration which resists muscle fatigue. The myosin protein in muscles causes contraction and relaxation acting as enzymes, which break down ATP molecules (adenosine triphosphate). ATP provides energy so we want to keep an ample supply in our muscles. When ATP is used up too quickly without the oxygen to support it, muscles (called "white muscles") become quickly fatigued with the build-up of lactic acid—an indication that muscle cell oxygen has been depleted.

Lactic acid build-up not only causes discomfort but also is delivered to the liver (and too much on this organ causes the Digestive System to overwork). Therefore, I want more red muscles and enough ATP to not only contract muscles but also relax them.

Drinking water flushes lactic acid and toxins

Sometimes I'm told that the TCM pressure points (Traditional Chinese Medicine) on outer top of my feet are sensitive and painful. This points to liver aggravation (eating oily food and extra lactic acid build-up). Drinking a lot of water dilutes this. Drinking water is not good to do before morning Ashtanga yoga, as it makes me spiritually heavier. But drinking water during the day, especially with muscle pain, flushes out the toxins which creates relief; it's become my post-yoga activity.

When I'm most sore, I soak in an Epsom salt bath. Why does this soothe muscle soreness? Of course, it's because the magnesium in epsom salts—absorbed through the skin—helps relax skeletal muscles by flushing lactic acid build-up in the muscles. Magnesium is an abundant mineral in our bodies and its role in our overall health is important. It can be found in over 300 different enzymes in our body and is vital for activating muscles and nerves, creating energy in the body and efficiently digesting proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Other ways to replenish magnesium are eating organic foods, lowering sugar intake and lowering stress.