I’m inspired by a Badass Yogi, Chris Chavez, who taught a yoga class at Wanderlust in 2015. His theme was “Hug the midline.” It got me thinking about the necessity of returning Home, of coming back to our Center, of being and living from our own physical and spiritual space in a rooted, grounded way.
Chris Chavez encouraged his students, “You can be centered even in a room full of people.”
Here in America we live in a culture that pulls us out of ourselves. We are bombarded by distraction (phone, computer, internet, television, food) and we are speeding up, going a million miles an hour.
What happens when we draw our attention and energy in, to the midline, to our heart, to our center?
When I was a eight years old and did kid’s yoga classes, I had a teacher who would refer to our midline as “A golden thread of light running from the sun down into the crown of our head to the tip of our tail bones and then down into the center/core of the earth.” She asked us to let our bodies “dangle” from this golden thread and to “sense our breath.” Wow! Pretty damn cool if you ask me!
Where is center? Where is your center? Do we understand where center is?
When I say, “Hug the midline” in my yoga classes, my intention is to encourage my students to draw in, engage their muscles to stabilize their joints and to activate awareness in the golgi tendon organ reflex (proprioceptor) of each muscle. What I see in my students’ bodies when I give this physical cue is an aliveness and vitality, everything in their body “wakes up” and they become more alert and attentive to where their fingers and toes and tops of their heads are in space. It’s so inspiring. (Talk about the power of words!)
In my observation of bodies over many, many years of teaching (and taking) dance and yoga classes, what I see over and over again is that there has to be an awareness of the whole body in order to access center. When one part of my body is “sleeping” or inactive/flaccid, it’s much more difficult for awareness/energy/prana to move and flow properly. It’s like meditating shlumped over—this not only doesn’t feel good to the spine, it literally impinges the flow of energy. Same goes for the body doing anything, really.
How to “Hug the midline” on your yoga mat: Hug doesn’t mean squeeze. Hug is a gentle pressure inward. Hug means to embrace with loving affection. Think about it this way, in each pose there’s an opportunity to engage muscle energy (work your muscles/effort)—with an inhale think “inner body bright” and on your exhale, maintain this quality of engaged fullness by huging the midline. Then you remain stable, rooted, and grounded as you transition to the next pose.
The same applies for life off your yoga mat.
How to “Hug the midline” in your life: Remember, hug doesn’t mean strangle. Hugs are for wrapping up our loved ones (and ourselves) and often whispering “I love you” in their ear. Hug your midline means returning to your center, going back to basics, practicing as if your life depends on it and finding a firm foundation to build your house, body, life upon. This means daily habits that support life not diminish it. “Check yourself before you wreck yourself, fool.” Okay, okay, but really, when you get out of bed in the morning what’s your ritual? How do you return to yourself, your midline, your fundamentals of having a body?
Hug in, breath, place attention on your physical body, and relax your whole body. This is the first step in coming home.
If you want to know more about how you can “Hug the midline” off your yoga mat and in real time, fill out the survey and sign up for your FREE 30-minute Body Goals Session with Shinay. This is a unique opportunity to get in touch with how far away from your center you might be living.