Do you ever feel confused, unclear, or uncertain?
Of course you do, we’re all human!
In Sanskrit, there is a concept/word called granthi that translates roughly to “energetic knot.” The idea is that our energy is blocked at distinct points within our internal landscape, blocking energy from integrating and thus blocking our opportunity to experience universal ecstasy.
Pranayama practices help loosen those knots and help us feel more connected.
Blockages of the mind and body
I like applying this concept of knots beyond the energetic realm as well.
It’s common to experience mental blocks where we feel stuck or uninspired. In our physical yoga practice we see blocks stemming from muscle length, bone structure, and a general unawareness of where our body is in space.
But a knot isn’t always a bad thing. There are many times when these blocks are necessary for us to hold things together — mentally, emotionally, energetically, and physically.
The problem is when we get really overzealous (or maybe it’s just me) and tie the knot really, really tight so that it can never be untied ever again.
That’s when life gets frustrating. The practice of loosening up the knots is so much harder then tightening them up in the first place!
Shoulder binds don’t have to be tight to be right
I can’t tell you how many times I see students in class activiating their muscles so strongly that they have pained looks on their faces as they try SO HARD to stay in a shape. They are trying so hard, and engaging so much that they can’t breathe, they can’t move, and they can’t enjoy being where they are.
That to me is the physical manifestation of an emotional/mental/energetic knot.
As a way to practice loosening up your knots in life, I’ve decided to do a little break down of binds in today’s yoga video.
Binds are the way we physically tie ourselves into a knot. They require a nice balance of strength and flexibility and must be worked into over time.
Practicing binds gives us the opportunity to bind loosely so that we can easily unwind and move on to the next thing life (or your yoga teacher) throws at you.
Finally, practicing binds is nice because it’s a great way to open up the shoulders, which is a common request in class as an area of focus. The problem is, no one ever really takes a whole lot of time to talk about what it takes to get into and out of a bind!
Let’s take a few minutes to explore this category of posture and unwind some knots.