Why spinal movements?

With 24 movable joints, spine is the most important part of the body to mobilize, yet it is often the stiffest part of the body for most people. A stiff spine not only causes discomfort and pain in the spine itself but also effects its adjacent joints: the shoulders and the hips.  These spinal sequences not only develop suppleness in the spine, massage the intervertebral discs, promote healthy function of central nervous system, but also improve the function of heart and lungs (thoracic region) and strengthen the digestive and reproductive systems (lumber and sacrum regions). Associated movements initiated from spine also bring awareness, stability and flexibility to its neighboring shoulder and hip regions.

What is Anvaya?

A Nath Yogi, 19th century India, showing the ascending of chakra, an internal pilgrimage. Smithsonian collection, Washington DC, photography by Tangkao Tan

Anvaya is a sanskrit word which implies both connection and separation. In Yoga sutra 1-2 “Yoga-chittavrittinirodha”, where the term “Yoga” is defined as “stilling the fluctuations of the mind”. Accordingly, Anvaya encompasses both attaining and losing Yoga and reveals a reality that Yoga is a moment-to-moment choice, one either ascends or descends. In the Vedanta school, Anvaya signifies the all-pervasive nature of  Brahman, the Absolute, and our true Self, the Atman, existing beyond the realm of the physical body.  In our practice Anvaya signifies the perpetual movement and energy of heavenly bodies, as above and within ourselves, so below.