Yoga From the Ground Up - Self Awakening Yoga

Mike Munro's picture

During my yoga teacher training I found myself lying on the floor rolling around in different positions for up to two hours at a time. We were doing Self-Awakening Yoga, a system of yoga developed by Don Stapleton PhD. We would lie in a relaxed position and begin with small movements of a limb and slowly progress the movement to more complex body movements co-ordinated with the breath, all while remaining on the floor. At the time I wondered if this was something that I would find useful as a yoga teacher.

What I later learned, is that although this kind of movement appears gentle, it is also very stimulating and sometimes challenging. It follows developmental patterns and reflexes that are in harmony with the kind of movements and skills we utilize to move the spine right from the moment of being born, up until we develop the capacity to kneel, crawl and stand. The style of the movement is often engrossing to the point where you find yourself moving your arm or leg with complete attention and absorption. For example with the hammock swing, you lie on your side and let your shoulder and arm roll back and your hip and leg move forward so that the abdomen is stretched and toned at the same time.

So now I find myself fifteen years later, inviting people to slowly, with awareness, roll around on the floor. You do gradually progress to the point where you find yourself standing again, yet with greater awareness and sense of embodiment. It is a good practice for people who build tension in their gym routines, or vinyasa yoga practice and need more of a supported unwinding experience that still strengthens the spine, spinal muscles and abdominals.

Self Awakening Yoga is currently offered as Gentle Yoga, Thursdays at 1:45 pm here at TAYS.