Friday, February 27, 2009

Sounds Like Merry Poppins

Sister Eva and I have been doing yoga together, it's been brilliant! Thank you seesta for leading me through such amazing sequences. It's really thrilling to experience yoga through Ujjayi breath, deep poses, and through the clarity of timelessness that the movements allow.

Two weeks ago, I was experiencing some especially loud popping of the bones. It made me laugh during the yoga (I laugh often - Can't help it, yoga makes me happy) and Eva and I began joking that Mary Poppins had joined us. Now I call the popping sounds 'Merry Poppins'. I know, I'm a weirdo.

But alas! An explanation on a yoga blog I found indicates that this popping of the bones/joints is actually based in expansion of the body into proper form. So as you can imagine, when good 'ol Merry Poppins joins us during session, I'm pleased to hear her joyful and healing voice...

As Katherine Neer points out, "Joints are the meeting points of two separate bones, held together and in place by connective tissues and ligaments. All of the joints in our bodies are surrounded by synovial fluid, a thick, clear liquid. When joints pop, you're causing the bones of the joint to pull apart. As they do, the connective tissue capsule that surrounds the joint is stretched. By stretching this capsule, you increase its volume."

But there are other pops you must be aware of, that could potentially lack such 'merriness'. They might be signs of extreme stress in a particular area. If this occurs the pose should not be forced, or dislocation of a joint may result. (So, please Eva, if my pose is shallow please don't push me too hard! :0)

More often than not, however, the popping joints are the key to expansion. Russell Case, a Mysore Ashtanga teacher explains in an article for Living Mysore Magazine,

"With an increase in volume comes a decrease in pressure. So as the pressure of the synovial fluid drops, gases dissolved in the fluid become less soluble, forming bubbles through a process called cavitation. When the joint is stretched far enough, the pressure in the capsule drops so low that these bubbles burst, producing the pop that we associate with knuckle cracking...

Cavitation is used here as a word because scientists dislike the word bubbles. They prefer cavity. An empty space is created like a cave. The cave is created by vacuum. Inside the cave are gases. Gas is a collection of elements that when arriving to the melting point become lighter than air. If frozen, any gas can become a solid form. So it is heat we are talking about here. The little cave bursts with energy."

Click here if you're interested in reading the full article.

It may be awhile before I have a strict yoga schedule, but my aims is for it! There is no other feeling in the world.

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