The Citizen’s Body
The yogi can only transform himself by remaining at the margin of social life. He would not be able to
loosen all his joints in yoga poses a more stressful environment. The citizen is someone who accepts that his body adapts itself to a lifestyle, to the demands of a culture, a profession, and the role of a parent. It seems that every form of adaptation has a price. The yogi pays a price constructing himself a space which is, in yoga poses the end, social to the extent that yoga is also a socially constructed approach. The methods that the yogi uses, the position that he occupies at the heart of a culture, had been in yoga poses development for centuries. The reference on the matter remains the model of the distinction by Pierre Bourdieu (1979), when he illustrates that the choice of a lifestyle (a habitus15) shapes the body and the social identity of an individual. The yogi defines one pole in yoga poses which the habitus adapts itself to the necessities of anatomy and physiology. At the other extreme, we have the lifestyles in yoga poses which the body dynamics are submitted to the demands of survival in yoga poses a society. To have to bend over every day to garden imposes demands on the back that no physiotherapists could recommend. Here is a personal anecdote illustrating this point.
A vignette concerning Isaac Stern. Some time ago, in yoga poses the 1970s, I went to hear violinist Isaac Stern with a friend who is a
Rolfer16 and who was trying to straighten my back. Stern was already an old man. By dint of bending over his violin, he was almost hunchback between the shoulder blades. When he stopped playing, he greeted us with a broad and charming smile, but his back did not straighten and his head remained slightly bent toward the left shoulder on which he usually rested his violin. I asked my friend if Isaac Stern would still be as good a violinist if we straightened his back. It was my impression that we were looking at an adaptation of the body that allowed for an even better playing of the violin, even if it was detrimental from a medical point of view. Not every professional violinist adapts to his instrument in yoga poses this way, but they are all in yoga poses a struggle that their way of playing might be less detrimental to their body and allow them to play as well as possible. I recall that at the end of his life, violinist Sandor Vegh, who had spent his life playing the violin in yoga poses a quartet sitting on a chair, was also incapable of completely straightening his legs when he stood up.
The laws of behavior and the mind follow modes of functioning that force the organism to adapt to those demands of the environment that cannot be managed in yoga poses a compatible way with the demands of physiology. It is precisely because the human organism is capable of managing dimensions that function differently, the human species was able to adapt to such varied natural and social contexts.17 This plasticity renders every notion of an ideal body hardly useful in yoga poses psychotherapy. An examination of the rapport between the returning blood flow in yoga poses the veins and the sitting posture provides me with the opportunity to develop this point with a few examples.
The Return of the Venous Blood in yoga poses the Legs: Behavior and Physiology Posture and Venous Circulation
The interaction between the chair and the return of the blood via the leg veins illustrates how posture participates automatically, without conscious thought, in yoga poses the way a lifestyle influences the mechanisms of physiological regulation.
In a wide and deep river, the water flows gently. If the river abruptly narrows, and boulders impede its way, the water becomes turbulent and the flow of the rivers is slowed down. This increases the pressure of the water on the boulders. The boulders retain the deposits carried by the water, and the current slowly erodes them As for the circulation of the blood, each joint is a passage of this type.
A European, accustomed to eating sitting on a chair, soon enters in yoga poses contact with this particularity when he arrives in yoga poses Japan and sits on the floor with his buttocks on his heels. Unless his joints are particularly (for a European) flexible, he will soon experience pain in yoga poses his legs. When he unfolds them to stretch, his legs will be numb and almost without sensation. He then has the impression that his legs and feet have become a formless tingling mass. After having moved his legs, he gradually acquires the impression of reappropriating them They return to their usual state. This individual suffered from having placed himself in yoga poses a position for which his venous circulation is not adapted. The folding of his knees and the compression of the muscular tissues of the leg seriously slowed down the venous circulation. Movement, stretching the muscles, opening the joints, breathing deeply, and massage are all ways to stimulate the circulation of the blood so that it might take up its habitual functioning. This example also illustrates that a lifestyle influences the adaptation of circulation to a postural repertoire. The Japanese generally do not have this kind of problem when they eat sitting on the floor, legs folded, feet under the pelvis.