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Skeletal System, fears and spiritual grounding

Entries in alignment (3)



Courage is daring. I have many fears that I cover with anger in my pursuit to being competent in the world. I work this out in my Ashtanga yoga each morning and throughout the day.

My first fear was walking into the Mysore yoga room on Day One. For many years, I didn’t think that I was good enough (i.e., my yoga poses weren’t going to be good enough, I wouldn’t have the right alignment, my mind was too scattered, I would be judged, etc.).

Bones and ego

Before arriving, it was all about the yoga positions. This begins with the Skeletal System and also the psychological and spiritual Ego. With this focus, or should I say worry, however, there is no place for breathing and going deeper into who I am—the true reason for practicing yoga.


Yoga's skeletal structure

I had been doing yoga for 18 years so my Skeletal System supported me. I know many of the bones and proper alignment, where I’m off and how to compensate.

skeletal alignment in yoga

I learned by experience about gravity and skeletal alignment in the yoga poses and that we "use muscular force to bring the bones into a position where they carry the load. Once these positions are attained, muscular force is no longer necessary (or greatly decreased)” (Source: The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga, Ray Long).

The bones on the right side of my body—arm, leg, sternum bone, foot—are all longer; this creates misalignment in yoga but also in living. What has bothered me the most for years has been my neck, as it slowly crunches to the left, also affecting my left shoulder. I’ve gone to a chiropractor for years to get realigned.


Listen to voice of fear

It was because I let go of the fear (held in that imbalanced area of the lumbar) and trusted the process that allowed the release that the deepest healing occurred. At this point, what I initially experienced as pain in my lumbar spine for many months now felt warm and begged for more extension, movement and access.

Subtle body speaks

It was speaking to me. Its voice was freed when the blockage was removed as my spine elongated and the correction occurred. I listened to its voice and moved on trusting the process.

This wasn't possible until after I let go of my psychological ego that felt I needed to perform in order to move on to the next pose. When I surrendered, I opened physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. 

"Fear is not what you think it is. Fear is not who you are underneath your facade. Fear is not the real you that you must somehow fix or improve or overcome. Fear is a very useful signal along the path to freedom. The stronger the fear, the closer you are to what you are seeking. If you want to stay "safe" (i.e., stuck where you are), fear tells you to stop what you are doing. If you want to be free, fear lets you know you are on the right track, a signal to push ahead in the same direction, to pick up the pace."
~ Cheri Huber, Buddhist teacher

Surrender the ego

Moving on to the next yoga pose in the Ashtanga Intermediate Series—Pincha Mayurasana—identified another alignment (skeletal) bad habit of mine that I need to transform: I stick my rib cage out when balancing. I learned this soon after my spine adjustment. This unconscious adjustment is related to a fear of falling and therefore not being perfect.

Putting it together, I realize that the spine adjustment straightened me up more to a point where my rib cage counter balance was no longer needed.