About a month ago, I strained the top of my hand near my wrist as I was moving from uttanasana–standing forward fold to adho mukha svanasana–downward facing dog. I was certain that I had placed my hand properly. I always place fingerpads down first and then ground my metacarpals, with the emphasis on the index finger metacarpal. My fingers were evenly spaced. It felt like perhaps I had jammed the bones or slightly dislocated them–the wrist/hand version of a sacrum “going out.”
My initial reaction was to work harder, but it was not feeling any better. I resorted to resting for a few days and then concentrating on forearm balance instead of handstand.
When I was at the weekend workshop in New Jersey last month, one of my friends suggested that I was working too hard. That was definitely on the right track. Once my hand was in place, though, what felt best was to work very strongly. During the first intermediate/advanced workshop, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a few minutes with John Friend, who gave me an adjustment that rearranged the bones. This cleared most of the pain, but my hand was still extra sensitive.
I found myself placing leaving my hands soft and placing them with great delicacy. Before going into weight-bearing I added the actions of clawing the fingerpads and drawing the thumb and index finger together, while making sure my metacarpals were firmly rooted. No pain.
I went through this sequence of events with my Wednesday night group practice students yesterday. I showed them the difference between engaging strongly as the starting point of the hand alignment and sweetly touching, immediately followed by full engagement.
“What principle of alignment had I been leaving out?” I asked. Without hesitation, they chorused in unison, “opening to grace.” Exactly right. Sometimes practicing the Anusara principle of “opening to grace” is subtle, but it always comes first and, in my experience over the past decade of study and practice, is always essential to have the most life-expanding and holistic of practices.
Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.