Halasana – The plough with a few variations
Yoga asana in picture and form – demonstrated by applying the ether principles
The ether movements work through the body in two different directions.The forces of light and warmth shine from the cosmic surroundings and permeate right to the centre of the body and its organs, or structure its periphery with form-giving forces from outside inwards.
On the other hand the ether forces of vitality residing entirely within the body’s chemistry work in precisely the opposite direction to the centripetal, cosmic forces of light and warmth. They shine outwards centrifugally and reach the muscles and the periphery of the body from inside.
To practise the plough, one of the classical inverted yoga poses, the practitioner stretches the spine bringing the trunk into an active movement that continues right into the legs. In normal life we stand upright by stretching the spine in an upward flowing movement. Now, in this inverted position, the plough, the movement dynamic is organised in the opposite way, from the thoracic spine downwards to the lumbar spine and finally continuing into the leg dynamic. The practitioner does not activate the spine in its usual way of stretching but gives it a downward moving dynamic and in this way he becomes longer.
The ether force that is activated through extension of the limbs is chiefly the light ether originating from the cosmos. Through the actively rendered spine-dynamic this light ether combines with the chemical ether working centrifugally inside the body. The experience of the plough fluctuates between constriction and expansion, drawing together and stretching out, activating the the thoracic spine and continuing the dynamic into the legs.
Already in the first movement, which is chosen here with the arms above the head, the practitioner undertakes a skillful reversed raising of the thoracic spine. Taking the arms above the head leads to this skillful raising of the thoracic spine in the opposite direction.
A harmonious play of movement then develops with the arms which are used as a counterbalance and represent, when they are finally taken behind the back, a kind of counter-movement to the legs. In these elements of movement the chemical ether unfolds, finding its joyfully experienced expression quite particularly through movement and counter-movement.
The plough should never place a load on cervical, uppermost section of the spine. The neck reacts extremely sensitively and with any neck complaints it is advisable to take great care. The spine actually operates in an upward direction and slowly, without force or strain, seeks the dynamic towards the legs.
The end position quite often causes a feeling of confinement as the whole front of the body, the chest and thyroid region are constricted. The extension takes place in the back down into the legs.
A lovely enhancement, which, in accordance with the stream of light ether, opens up the sensitivity to feel more expansiveness, is given by lifting the legs and extending them widely out into a straddle. Finally, in an appropriate movement, the arms can give a gentle stretch forwards and of the sides.
A special variation, formed from the plough, is formed by straightening the whole body up sharply into an almost vertical line, while the arms on the floor carry out a kind of counter-movement; however they do not support the body in straightening up. It is the spine that wants to become part of the vertical line. Afterwards these movements should be guided back to the relaxation position lying on your back.
The light ether activity happens best when the clearly pictured intention of an expanding and extending movement is implemented. The experience of expansiveness, which can be experienced after completing the plough cycle, comes about through the activation of this cosmic creative potential.
(Text and demonstration: H. Grill)