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The beautiful spine

Or ……… when “the tiger” becomes your friend…….. Published on Dansk Yoga NYT – 2007

There is a beauty deep inside our bodies, covered by layers and layers of dust, that wants to find it’s way to be free to shine in the sun. Is that the hidden beauty that always leads us on the right path? If so, we have to listen to her voice from the first step. It happens that we could not hear her voice because our mind is distracted and we never allow ourselves the oppotunity to pause with space and silence giving us the time to look deep inside. For this reason the teaching of Vanda Scaravelli, my teacher, is extremely precious, because it goes directly to the core with simplicity. She wrote: ” The first structure that is formed in the child’s body (while still in the mother’s womb) is the spine, and consequently all the other limbs, the arms, legs and hips, derive from it. …… Baby’s spines are extremely soft and light and remain so for a very long time. Instead the adult spine is rigid and heavy and yoga, as intended here, consists in breaking bad habits and in re-educating the spine so as to bring back its original suppleness. This is what is meant by the title of the book. ” (Awakening the Spine -1991). During the yoga lesson when a beginner student feels the spine unraveling and elongating I see it on his face because it changes expression and a radiant smile travels through the whole body. This is a gift of beauty coming from inside out. It is a result that takes time to come, but from that point onwards the movements have a different visible quality. To move from the spine means to find a unifing wave that reconnects the whole body. How to become once more in contact with the spine’s intelligence? To get in contact with the spine is a long journey towards the inner spaces and towards the back of the body and breathing will become our Arianna’s thread in this travel. Usually we are more aware of the frontal part of the body and we forget our backs, the place where we store all which we do not want to see. There must be a “reversing” of our normal attitude, in order to enter the space where the spine lies and to re-discover her connection through the pelvis, legs and feet with gravity and the earth. Like a growing plant “the roots” will give us the strength to grow up and open out into the space. To “undo” tension and old movent patterns attitudes we need that innocent state of mind that only conscious natural breathing can give, letting spinal originated movements to arise, intuitive movements which are the answer from the body itself to a clear and simple request. The diaphragm, is deeply connected with the spine and the integration of the natural rhythms of breath, spine and gravity response from the ground with movement is an endless purifing process and a meditation in itself. As Vanda has always pointed out, it is only when the three elements of breath, gravity and the dance of the spine come toghether in your practice that the Beauty, that is always present, comes to you. The acceptance of our true beauty is a big step it give dignity and space to our bodies like the ancient kings had. To accept our fierce natural energy it is like to become friend of a tiger. The dancer Pina Baush said”Beauty comes from what we do and how we do it, when you discover your great beauty than you have the duty to do something with that…. ”

Rossella Baroncini

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