Saturday, July 25, 2009

The energy of spirals

Mysterious and captivating, spirals are everywhere. Spiral algae (spirulina) has existed on the earth for over 3,500 million years. Odd spiraling gorges are etched deep into the polar ice caps of Mars. They are one of the earliest examples of human expression and can be seen in the art of all ancient civilizations.

Galaxies form the largest spirals with stars expanding outward from a concentrated center into bright, spiral arms. These spiral arms have a high density of stars with continuous new star formations. Flowers often unfold from a bud in a spiral pattern. The seeds of a sunflower, the growing tips of ferns, sea shells, pine cones, pineapples. cactus, vine tendrils, the center of a cabbage and snails all have special and unique spirals. Global weather patterns and hurricanes are huge energy spirals.

Spiral energy is an intrinsic part of human nature. The musculature of the human body has a spiral arrangement and the diagonal pull of these spirals gives our muscles flexibility. Fluid in our fascia, part of our connective tissue, moves in spirals. Even the human fingerprint has a spiral shape.

Circles are closed but spirals remain open and can be two or three dimensional. Originating from a center and moving in expanding circular curves, spirals appear to be going back to the starting point but never really arrive back at the same place. Something is always different.

Our path through life is like a spiral. Sometimes we may feel like we keep coming back to the same place without change, but there is always something different if we look hard enough. Just as some spirals are small and tight, while others are wide and expansive, the change may be barely perceptible or surprisingly different. We continue to have experiences that shift our perspective so there can always be something new in the familiar.

Our yoga practice has this spiraling nature. We come back to the same poses over and over again but each time our energy may have shifted, our bodies may feel different, and our minds may perceive some new nuance of the pose or feeling that arises from the pose. Our breath spirals outward as we inhale and spirals inward as we exhale. We use inner and outer spirals in our legs and arms to create stability and balance. Twists have a spiraling component. They help to massage and rejuvenate our internal organs.

There are the ever-expanding spirals of growth and there are the spirals that pulse back and forth between expanding and contracting. All of these spirals are forms of energy. They connect us to nature and to the divine cosmic energy. They are alive with movement and pulsation. Spirals will always be mysterious. But beauty lies in mystery. Connecting with the spiraling energy that lives in and around us helps life to flow with fluidity and grace.

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