Yoga With Rob Chambers


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The Three Fundamentals

with thanks to Scott Anderson



Grounding is the first fundamental of Alignment Yoga. We can equate grounding with steadiness, reliability and other positive character traits. It’s our natural state, though in 21st century life, grounding becomes more challenging. We multi-task, consume stimulants and keep ourselves on overdrive much of the time. The result is a disconnection from the ground beneath us, and a host of challenges result. In the physical realm, an ungrounded body tends to have stiff & sore neck and shoulders. (By comparison, a grounded body that’s supported from its foundation tends to be energetic and robust.) In the mind, an ungrounded state tends to experience anxiety, depression and insomnia. (By comparison, a grounded mind is alert, observant and steady.) Grounding is literally the ground that supports our practice. 

Relax the Palate 

Releasing the tension within the skull is the second fundamental of Alignment Yoga. When we first hear this, it often sounds kind of strange. What does relaxing the roof of the mouth have to do with anything? Interestingly, it has a lot to do with the tension of the jaw, neck and shoulders that plagues so many people. An ounce of tension in the skull will feel like 10 pounds of tension in the shoulders, and to release the palate even a little bit can go a long ways to releasing the tensions everywhere else in the body. Because of the palate’s proximity to the brain, even small changes at the source predict big changes in the entire system. When you learn to relax and broaden the roof of the mouth, you’ll also learn to relax the nasal pharynx muscles, which can benefit those with chronic sinus trouble. 

Full Commitment Exhale 

Full commitment exhale is the third fundamental of Alignment Yoga. It’s the intelligence of the breathing that makes Yoga very special and powerful, and exhaling is the gateway to breathing. To bring fresh, oxygenated air into the lungs requires the evacuation of all the stale, spent air. The fullness of the exhale predicts the vitality of the inhale. We call this exhale the Full Commitment Exhale.