A Yoga Hug to Midline
By Donna Schnoor, E-RYT500/YACEP owner of Yoga4Ullc
Lead image by Arin Pitcher
As yoga practitioners, most of us have heard the term sthira sukham asanam. It is one of the most often quoted aphorisms in Patangali’s Yoga Sutras, (2.46). In general translation it stands for steadiness and ease in your seat. So what does all this have to do with the term “hugging to midline”?
The “midline” is the imaginary vertical axis that bisects the whole body, from the crown of the head all the way down to the foundation. If you’re familiar with construction, think of it like a plumb line. In Yoga think of it as the Sushumna, the vertical axis or channel in the subtle body where your pranic energy flows. The midline is the foundation in which each posture is built.
Physically drawing or (hugging) into the midline will help make your practice stronger and more stable. Instead of using the outermost muscles to support the pose, we learn to engage the deep inner muscles, so the pose starts from the inside out, rather than the outside in.
On an emotional and spiritual level, finding your midline helps us to find that inner strength and stability to cultivate balance in our lives. This balance between action and stillness, or steady and comfortable. This balance supports you from the inside, just as the physical action of muscles hugging to midline supports our bodies in practice.
Eckart Tolle speaks of “feeling the inner body as a way of connecting to the present moment”.
When we come to our first seat of practice, we find our own physical space, we turn inwards to access something deeper within ourselves in which to build our practice.
As we start to move, we begin to learn to ‘hug-in’, to firm the muscles around the bone, to create a strong and stable foundation in our practice.
Learning to ‘hold our center’ gives us the support we need when being pulled off balance with life’s experiences, whether they be physical, emotional, or mental.
When we reach Savasana, our opportunity for relaxation and integration, we find our center once again, both physically and mentally, and from this center we can experience a sense of letting go.
Explore your midline and the foundation for functional asana with Donna at SYF2023, April 27–30! Passes are available here.