Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yoga, Homeopathy, and the practice of Making Space

I went to college on the west coast, and was pleasantly surprised to find a small, but solid group of other Mainers who had chosen UC Santa Cruz. One was my first yoga teacher. Julie was from Freeport, just a short 15 minutes from where I grew up. Her class was my first experience with yoga, and I loved it. It was inspirational without being sappy, strengthening and challenging while expanding and relaxing. It was the best of east meets west- my Maine and my new California.

When Julie was talking us through a pose, she would often say "make space." New to yoga, my brain immediately kicked in and tried to figure it out- promptly cluttering any space I already had. And then she would give some specific direction

Make space between your right knee...and your left shoulder.
Make space between the top of your head, and your toes.
How much space can you make from back to front?

By closing my eyes and envisioning those two, distant points and stretching between them, I found that I could make space. A lot of space. The pose felt lighter, easier, expansive.

Years later, I have found the practice and concept of 'making space' is intrinsically part of homeopathy. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, spoke of the dynamis within us as the place where true health lives. 

Dynamic: 1.a. Of or relating to energy or to objects in motion.   b. Of or relating to the study of dynamics.2. Characterized by continuous change, activity, or progress: a dynamic market.3. Marked by intensity and vigor; forceful. ( 

To be dynamic is to move and change. Health is not a static state, but one that is in motion, is dynamic. To be able to maintain homeostasis- the state of equilibrium and balance- we need to be able to shift and move in both large, and subtle ways. And in order to move, there must be space. 

When we are fixed, rigid, unyielding, and clamped down, space is limited. Options are cut off. There is little room for dynamis.  The effects of a hampered, cramped dynamis can be seen both mentally and emotionally, as well as physically: 

Have you ever had blocked sinuses? 
Persistent eczema? 
Clogged arteries? 
Do you think or feel "this will never change..." or "that's just the way I am"? 

When we are in that fixed space, as in a yoga pose, we are so busy holding it up, keeping it steady that it takes another voice to say 'make space.' Sometimes, we need specific direction: 

Make space between your ideals and your reality
Make space between your expectations and yourself
Make space between yourself and your child (mother/father/partner/sister/brother) 

If we are receptive, we can hear the voice from almost anywhere: our yoga teacher, our therapist, our friend, a book, a song, a quote. 

My favorite is, of course, the homeopathic remedy :) 

When you take a well prescribed homeopathic remedy, because it is an energy modality, it goes straight to that dynamic place. There is no thinking or wondering, or analyzing involved. The remedy helps to create that space, and then the movement can happen. 

If you have ever taken a remedy when you had a cold and felt your nose- which had been stuffed up- begin to loosen, then you have felt that movement, a typical experience for someone with blocked sinuses, after taking the remedy kali bichromium.  Or maybe a cough that shifted from tight and dry, to loose and productive after a dose of bryonia.  The remedy ignatia shines when one is embroiled in grief, that cannot flow. 

The next time you start to feel sick, or stuck, or obsessed, or resistant- take a step back. Move, create space, breathe into that space. Allow your dynamis to flow. 

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