By Michelle Stoppi, CranioSacral Therapy Program Director at CE Institute LLC, Miami FL
In an ancient Hindu Tantric Yoga Sutra, Shiva says to Devi: “Place your whole attention on the nerve, delicate as the lotus thread, in the centre of your spinal column, and in such be transformed.” Buddhist Monks of the highest order have their robes sewn from sacred lotus thread.
The lotus thread that Shiva speaks of, while esoteric, has a physical component within the central nervous system. Within the spine, cerebrospinal fluid can be equated with Amrit, or the ”nectar of immortality” as described by ancient Yogic gurus. Waves of cerebrospinal fluid (or amrit) rhythmically wash up and down from head to Sacrum. It can be physically palpated and perceived everywhere in the body as the Craniosacral Rhythm.
In Yoga, the spine moves with these intelligent cranial wave patterns in every asana. The ability to meet the lotus thread in Asana enables purification of being by means of settling in, listening, relaxation and letting go. Yet for many of us, this quieting of the mind and letting go is not so easy to accomplish.
In Craniosacral work, we specifically focus on using bony landmarks as handles for freeing up restrictions in the soft tisue that encases the Central Nervous System to enhance the flow of Cerebrospinal fluid. In a session, one is gently guided with hands on bodywork to access a place of profound stillness— a place of letting go that reverberates throughout the body. It is in this place that one meets the Lotus Thread.
When we focus inward on meeting the lotus thread in Asana, all pulling, pushing, thinking, efforting and becoming dissolve away. We are left with something real to touch upon that draws us even deeper into our practice…beyond the breathe or the heartbeat to the “breath behind the breath”—to the vital resource of life itself. It is restrictions in the connective tissue matrix that restrict our craniosacral rhythm and pull us away from our ability to center with quiet mind. When these begin to release with awareness through a conscious yoga practice, we are better able to touch divine stillness. This process involves settling in and relying on the natural strength and wisdom of the bones and spinal column (with proper muscular cues when needed) for an inner sense of symmetry & support, instead of focusing on the strength of the muscles to dictate and push us to a goal. It involves knowing when to stop because you are compromising the integrity of the spine.
In this way, we are keeping our sense of integral wholeness, instead of literally pulling our body apart! The bones become levers & even “intelligent communicators” that serve to open up and release the connective tissues surrounding them. The craniosacral system is enhanced and we are helping to prevent Yoga injuries.
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