Elongating and Widening is the last Vital principle of Vijñãna Yoga, coming after after relaxing the body, quieting the mind, intent, rooting, connecting and breathing.
The body moves in an open, non restricted way, as a natural outcome of practicing the first six Vital Principles. As energy enhanced the breathing, flows downwards, through rooting, and upwards along the connecting pathways, it elongates the body. As always, the conscious awareness of the movement of elongating and widening enhances its power.
Stretching vs. Elongating
In this context it is important that there is a profound difference between stretching and elongating.
Stretching is a mechanical lengthening of a certain muscle, produced by shortening another muscle 😉 , and takes place on a purely physical level. Therefore, there is a limit to stretching, beyond which the muscle will rip. This ripping happens when the power of the shortening muscle exceeds the capacity of the other muscle for being stretched.
Elongating is something entirely different. Deep within the fibers of the muscles there is a hidden door. This hidden door is opened by breathing, and once opened, allows the muscles to undo itself, that is, to elongate without the aid of another muscle shortening itself. 👌 The result is extraordinary.
Why is elongation and widening so important?
In stretching there is the danger of ripping, in elongating there seems to be no limit at all.
Rather, both muscles seem to simultaneously abandon all striving and ride on the flow of energy. Thus , not only is there no danger involved, but there is also no fatigue or residue, as in the case of stretching where the shortening of the muscle is left with the residue of soreness (lactic acid). The process of elongating and widening comes about by rooting, connecting and breathing, in which breathing in both the connecting clue as well as the fuel which pulls the body through the movement and asanas.
Last but not least
The Seven Vital Principles, even though they have been described separately, form one inseparable unit and are welded together in each action, in each movement. Although they have been presented here as a sequence in time, they happen simultaneously in the same way that our bodies perform multiple functions like breathing, digesting and moving all at the same time.
They are the tools, which help us to activate the Energy Body; they form the key to transforming the mere physical posture into a posture of lightness, of beauty.
“This is the Yoga of the future , in which the physical body is not discarded, but is pulled up to the level of the Body of Light, as a vehicle of Joy. ” (D.Holleman, Dancing the body of life, 1999)
I hope my take on Vijñana Yoga helps you better understand the importance of intent in your own Yoga practice. I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.👇
Take care and stay safe.
Sen-Gupta, O. (2013) – A little book of yoga
D. Hollemann and O. Sen-Gupta (1999) – Dancing the body of light