Part of the reason I was so drawn to Adamantine® Yoga when I was introduced to it, is because it is a clear path that set out to balance movement in the body. For years when I taught classes and practiced yoga on my own, I tried to sequence postures so there would be some aspect of balance to the body. I can attribute this to not only my educational background in Exercise Science (work one muscle group, work the opposing as well), but also just my personal genetic nature. For some reason that concept of balance has always appealed to me. But, inevitably, I know I didn’t always create this equilibrium when teaching or practicing…perhaps I would focus more on upper body vs lower or opening the back side of the body rather than the front. Hatha yoga says that if we can bring the physical body more toward balance, we could potentially bring the mental and spiritual bodies toward balance or a greater realization of oneness. The key word being “toward.” I don’t know if it is actually possible to bring the body completely into balance, but if you could do something that would bring it closer to balance, wouldn’t it be worth trying? This is what I saw Adamantine® as doing.
Adamantine® Yoga gave me a specific road map of postures to practice to bring about change in my body, and hopefully in who I am as a person to some degree of permanence so that the storms inside of me could be calmed. What are some of the subtleties behind this sequence that could elicit the sort of change and comfort I was looking for in a yoga practice?
Just like I had always trained my body when strength training with traditional exercise, Adamantine® seeks to strengthen opposing muscle groups of all the major joint areas, but the caveat is that it teaches us to do this in order to create length in the muscles and more importantly the fascia that encompasses the muscles. If someone struggles with backbending, as in a basic cobra posture, the restriction that could be limiting them may not be just a lack of strength in the back side of their body, but could be more-so, tension (shortening of the muscles & fascia) in the front side of the body. The two work in tandem to ultimately allow the body to move more freely. Adamantine® takes each major joint through the ranges of motion it is capable of (flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, & rotation) to encourage this movement toward balance.
Another concept that resonates with me is the nature in which the postures come together. The postures & choreography build on each other systematically and increase in complexity to the peak of the sequence, and continue to do so biomechanically through the end of the sequence so that the body is at its warmest and most capable at the final posture. To the untrained eye this may not be apparent. But the order of the postures in the sequence provides the practitioner with a means to effectively warm the body before each subsequent posture. There are other subtleties built into the sequence that may seem to be insignificant, but are actually intentional and purposeful, like jumping rather than stepping into plank…it’s symmetrical. Although these details may not be obvious & might even seem overwhelming to the novice practitioner, they serve a purpose. Apart, each posture or detail is like random music notes thrown onto a page, but together, amazingly, they create a song that can transform your life.
That life transformation only comes when you can allow the space for change. When you are open to whatever may present itself in your yoga practice—no expectations of success or failure. And to encourage this attitude on the mat, Adamantine® provides a specific breath choreography paired with the movement in the sequence. This could possibly be one of the most powerful aspects of the practice because when practiced as intended, it creates an energized calm.
Adamantine® empowers practitioners to memorize an individual sequence because this calls you to stare your challenges in the face and do actual self-work. Yes, memorization is hard at any age, but guess what, that continual challenge to your brain to learn something new is what will keep your brain sharp for years to come so you don’t have to stop experiencing life & human interaction even when you’re 98 (Seriously…you all know there have been studies on it. Google it. You just have to choose to continue to refine yourself.). The memorization of a sequence of postures also allows for greater focus on breathwork or pranayama. It’s the ability to train this life force (prana) within us that can calm a monkey mind—a mind that never seems to want to be quiet or still. I know, I’ve been there. I still have that mind, but Adamantine® gives me a clear path to know what to do to cope with it. When choreography, postures and breath become second nature, it allows us to reflect deeper inward and bring about a meditative state. Master the breath, and we master the mind.
And even though the sequence looks like only 20 postures that may or may not be achievable by someone in their lifetime, it offers modifications that can suit nearly anyone’s unique abilities. It meets you where you are physically. And it’s what happens mentally and spiritually when you let the sequence into your life that can really bring out your best.