Love Those Bones! The Bones Carry the Weight of the Body

I set foot on the yoga trail for one primary reason…. Pain!

I had had a posture that was “collapsed-in-on-myself” from childhood to early adulthood, and it was not going to sustain me as I embarked on a career in massage therapy. Crouched over my massage table, carefully kneading the muscles of others, I needed to stretch out my own sore limbs and back. I wished someone would just teach me how to stand and bend over without so much discomfort!

home-illustrationI sampled the classes of several yoga teachers—all wonderful—and eventually landed in the Yoga on High nest. In my first year there, I truly learned the meaning of the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I met my teacher Jean Couch, founder and owner of the Balance™ center in Palo Alto, California.

For the uninitiated, Balance is a practice that fosters natural alignment and is based on studying the movement patterns and posture of people in cultures where there is little to no back pain. This, in itself, was completely compelling to me. I had seen images of people who looked upright and well, yet relaxed and at ease. I could never seem to look or feel that way no matter what I did, until I met Jean and practiced Balance. That was in 2002, and I have practiced every day from that moment forward.

Practice is not something that comes easily to me. How then have I been able to sustain such a commitment? The answer is simple, and as profound as the effect that the practice itself has brought about in me. Practicing Balance has taught me, in fact enabled me to INHABIT MY BONES.

Standing up straight was always such a chore, always felt like work and didn’t ever feel good. I swung on a pendulum between forced, tense posture and total collapse. What Balance began to teach me was how to perceive weight and where to let that weight settle in my bones so that my muscles didn’t have to work so hard to hold me up. Once I began to experience the settled feeling of resting in my bones, I began to have a different relationship with gravity—a positive shift, and one I wanted to cultivate further! I felt supported and grounded, perhaps for the first time ever. From then on the positive effects began to ripple outward into all areas of my life. Places I had felt stuck—needing to lose some weight, moving on from a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere, moving to a new home—all became unstuck, almost easily.

I felt present WITH MYSELF in a way I’d never before experienced. I felt empowered by this new strategy to feel good and look good!

My practice continues and deepens continuously, which leads me to make wiser choices about everything. This helps me feel safe. I may still get into physical discomfort from time to time, but that is the shape of any life! And I know how to care for myself and recover more swiftly now in my 40’s than I ever did in my 20’s!

The greatest gift that Balance has given me is that it revealed the unspoken longing I carried for years to know myself deeply. The relaxed nature of the practice has helped me reclaim ease, comfort, inner sovereignty and an appealing aesthetic to boot!

With gains like these, it’s not hard to stay motivated to practice.

Mary Sinclair is a yoga teacher, a massage therapist, and most importantly, a Balance™ teacher. She has worked extensively with pregnant women, seniors and Boomers for 13 years, teaches prenatal yoga classes at Yoga on High and offers private Balance sessions. She also holds a certification in Mat Pilates and is a Reiki Level 2 Practitioner. Mary and Marcia recently taught a workshop on Yoga for Back Pain with Marcia Miller. Check the YOHI schedule for other offerings by Mary Sinclair. For more information on her work, click here