Bowspring Alignment

“What makes something yoga? In my opinion it is the heart, the spirit, the point of view. It is spiritual before physical. It is a way of life, not an exercise. There was a point over the weekend when I thought to myself, “Is this yoga?,” since over the course of 4 days we really didn’t do any poses that you would recognize in your typical yoga class. They all had fun English names, and the all supported the radical new shape of the body they call the “Bow Spring.” However, Desi and John and what they call Shri Daiva is based on a spiritual life. The expansion of the heart. I felt that. I think everyone in the room felt that. I have no doubt, it is yoga. And that is where I am left wondering is this truly the first great innovation to yoga since the last time we have evidence of new poses? Sure we have new “systems” of hatha yoga, but they mostly all operate within the same asanas and have in truth very little difference between them. Sure there are some systems that you can question whether or not they are yoga or if they are just exercise in Sanskrit without any inclusion to a spiritual view, even purposefully choosing to leave that out. This is so different that I am left asking can it be applied in the same yoga room as we are used to? Can we use caturanga and trikonasana and paschimottanasana, or are we in the midst of something really new? My guess is the latter. I believe in Desi. I want to explore what it is more before I am certain, but their research and data make sense. The science behind it is fascinating, but not nearly as much as the presence and practice of it. The truth is this may just be the greatest thing to hatha yoga since Krishnamacarya or Iyengar developed whole new approaches, and it would only be my attachments to being right that would prevent me from seeing it. I know in my case that won’t be. I am willing to risk it all to know real freedom.” – Mitchel Bleier

As a community of students of life, Sridaiva envisions a future where and when:

  • Humans live in harmony with all creatures and the Earth with loving-kindness by the path of expanding self-awareness.
  • Each person, in their local cultures around the world, takes accountability for their own health and happiness.
  • Compassion, loving-kindness, joy, vibrant health, and life-enhancing cooperation among all people reign as the default level of human consciousness, instead of unconsciously choosing fear, hatred, malice, despair, sickness, and suffering.
  • All people mindfully embody a Bowspring optimal dynamic posture throughout their daily lives for enhanced health and happiness!

 

Mission:

  • The artistic expression of Sridaiva into the world, particularly through the Internet, is offered with positive energy, expanding beauty, and loving-kindness.
  • Sridaiva educates and inspires people of all cultures worldwide, particularly children and elders, to embody a healthy lifestyle of a positive mindset, good studentship, organic food, and a Bowspring dynamic posture throughout each day.

 

1. WHAT IS SRIDAIVA?
Sridaiva is a body-mind postural method which cultivates radiant health and well-being through a positive attitude expressed in an optimal bow-spring alignment. It is a life practice in which students take accountability for their own health and happiness through informed choices of their own posture.
Sridaiva is an alternative movement and postural modality, which can be applied to yoga, athletics, or to any dynamic posture — sitting, standing, and walking. Students of all ages, particularly over 40, can benefit for the use of the bowspring alignment to optimize their body-mind health.
The bow-spring template describes optimal neutral alignment for the human spine, which has a circumferential fullness in the thoracic (primary curve), and uniform arches in the lower back and in the neck (secondary curves). In this undulating curved shape of the spine and torso, the entire back body is isometrically engaged into a loaded spring of connective tissue (myofascia). From the pads of the big toe all the way up to the sacrum, and from the fingertips all the way down to the sacrum, the bow-spring is loaded and engaged in a balanced way. Every posture and movement then becomes a dynamic expansion of the bow-spring in which the spine is actively decompressed and fully lengthened. The myofascia is concentrically toned around the core of the torso like a unified muscle suit.
Using the bow-spring alignment of Sridaiva at any age can create a balanced tonus throughout the body, which creates tensile strength, precise balance, and rooted lightness while using the least amount of physical energy. Sridaiva alignment optimizes performance, offers powerful therapeutic realignment for the lower back and hips , decreases joint and bone degeneration, bolsters the immune system, recalibrates the neuro-glandular system, and empowers the spirit of the student to cultivate a positive mindset.
2. WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES?
Although the system is designed to be easily comprehensible for any level of student, Sridaiva is not easy to practice at first. Sridaiva is based on a simple template for good postural alignment, but the practice is challenging because:
It targets 4 key unconscious postural patterns of protection, pain-reduction, and sensory withdrawal, which leads to health imbalances. The 4 key somatic areas of the body mind in which Sridaiva focuses on balancing and opening energetically are: the undercarriage (pelvic floor), under-belly (solar plexus), under-arms (heart), under-chin (throat). The Sridaiva alignments recalibrate and re-pattern each of these common postural tendencies, so during the first days of the practice the optimal template may be somatically experienced as strange and emotionally uncomfortable.
The Sridaiva method requires conscious toning of all the extensor muscles of the posterior body, including upward mounding of the glutes, which few students can do with any consistency at first. Overall, new students to Sridaiva find the most basic alignment of the optimal template challenging due to weak body-mind connection in key areas of the back of the body (posterior chain of myofascia).
The key alignment instructions are very different and many times opposite than what is often taught in other schools of modern postural yoga, classical dance, or in other postural alignment systems, so Sridaiva challenges the students mind to be open to try something avant-garde and alternative in their bodies.
3. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN SRIDAIVA?

The basic principles of Sridaiva are taught in lessons and progressive classes (15 min lessons – 120 minute classes) over time (days, weeks, and months) in order for new students to best assimilate the new alignment teaching into all activities of their lives. A minimum of 10 hours of introductory classes are recommended to gain the basic  orientation to the method, and to become more comfortable with the alternative method of alignment due to the initial challenges in practice for the beginning Sridaiva students. Yet, once you are able to perform the bow-spring, then the process of the body-mind balancing accelerates.
Sridaiva becomes a life practice of body-mind alignment that can be integrated into a students daily activities throughout their entire lifetime for the most optimal health, the highest performance, and for a bright vision of life.

 

Sridaiva FAQS
1. How can you effectively stretch your hamstrings with bent knees?
This type of stretching is called ‘active or engaged’ stretching, and is the most sustainable way to stretch any muscle. By keeping the knees bent, the hamstring group embraces the back of the thigh bone. The practitioner then pulls the sitting bones (the upper attachment of the hamstring group) wide and upward, stretching the hamstrings not only vertically, but laterally. By maintaining the proper anterior tilt in the pelvis, the hamstrings are receiving an active as opposed to passive stretch, continually. They also maintain their natural tone. The quadriceps on the front of the leg are benefitting from this more even participation as well. Part of our imbalance in the legs is due to overworked front thigh muscle, and overly weakened back thigh muscles. Keeping the knees bent, allows for more even access, wrapping the entire leg, front and back, equally.
2. Why are we bending our knees all the time in class?
To access the back of the leg muscles, which helps us tilt the pelvis in an anterior and therefore, anatomical neutral position. We also access more fluidity, less rigidity in our poses. Most people push the thigh bones too far forward when they straighten the legs, disengaging concentrically. The compromises the natural curve in the lower and blocks essential energy flow through the pelvis, as well as weakens the entire leg. By bending the knees we maintain a more balances, toned, engagement of the leg.
3. Why are we not tucking the tailbone in Sridaiva, although that is the most common paradigm in modern postural yoga?
We are facilitating the natural curvature if the spine, which we term ‘bow-spring’ to allow for more ease and fluidity of the entire body. When we tuck the tailbone, we flatten the curve, tense the front body, and block energy through the pelvis. We are learning to use the massive gluteus muscles of the back of the hips in their proper engagement, which is to pull upward and toward the middle, supporting the sacroiliac joints. This is where Sridaiva differs most from modern postural yoga as well as other alignment paradigms. Our practitioners learn to access their glutes which further alleviates pain in the back.
4. What is the correct alignment for the pelvic bowl while standing?
The correct alignment for the pelvic bowl is an anterior tilt, raising the sitting bones slightly higher the the front of the public bones. This is proper while standing or sitting. Because of our more sedentary lifestyle as well as a misunderstanding in modern postural alignment, many people have lost the ability to tip the pelvis. However, with time and committed practice of Sridaiva alignment, we can regain this essential flexibility and support the natural curvature of our spines.
5. Why does Sridaiva not do traditional exercises? Shouldn’t we strengthen our “core” in order to support out lower back?
Traditional abdominal exercises shorten the front body, and reduces the ability to maintain a lordotic curve in the lower spine. They also create tension in the front body muscles, like the iliopsoas, obliques, and rectus abdominis. The creates an imbalance in the body and further creates tension in the back, as it is pulled out of anatomical alignment, with the lower vertebrae pushing posterior. In Sridaiva, we strengthen our core evenly, by extending our abdomens long, in an active stretch, while maintaining the tone on the back body muscles. When we place our bones in their optimal alignment, termed ‘bow-spring’ there is less need to isolate one muscle group, as all are participating equally, front and back, inside-out.