As yogis (anyone who does yoga is a yogi) we often find ourselves reaching for our toes or reaching our heels towards the floor. Whenever you find yourself reaching for something in an asana, or posture, try moving in a circle rather than a straight line. Now that may be counter-intuitive at first. In western culture we are taught to "think straight," and guard against "circular reasoning." I call this the engineering approach. Applying the engineering approach works well when your goal is to build something inorganic and inanimate, a modern skyscraper for instance. However, it does not work very well when you are dealing with something organic and animate like your body.

When you want to reach body part A towards point B on your body or on the floor or the ceiling, start making little circles with A. Now this does not have look like you are performing an elaborate tribal ritual with body part A (though come to think of it, why not!). Simply make circles describing a spiral that moves you towards point B.

The Ancients believed that yoga practice moves energy along the 7 energy centers in the body that we call chakras. Chakra, in Sanskrit, also means circle.

 Abhay Ghiara is a teacher, writer, and Gandhian economist. He studied economics and yoga at Bombay University, graduating exactly 100 years after Mahatma Gandhi. He has practiced yoga all his life.

Abhay lectures on yoga and life in San Francisco, London, Bristol, Chicago, and Mumbai, India. photo: Maritstar

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