Three years ago on January 13, 2013, I suggested to Desi Springer that she come up with a new name to describe her new yoga alignment system. In 2012, when I first understood that her postural ideas were radically different than what I had been practicing and teaching for decades, I vehemently argued with Desi that she was mistaken. She was teaching glutes up and a curvy shape in the lower back and belly, which I considered a misalignment of compression for the back. Everyone we knew was teaching the standard model of spinal alignment to lengthen the spine by drawing the glutes downward and the back of the neck upward.
In my yoga training, length of the spine was created by pulling the two ends of the spine apart and not by creating more curvature in the spine. Yet, after 8 months of me dismissing Desi’s alignment ideas as incorrect and potentially harmful, I realized that I had been misperceiving the biomechanical nature of the body for my entire 30+ year yoga teaching career.
Desi showed me that the body is a curvy, visco-elastic form instead of a solid, compressive structure that needs to be stacked in a straight line with gravity. I began to realize that my old alignment ideas of straightening the body in an upright, stacked position hardens the body and makes it heavier and more difficult to move. On the contrary, when I would practice the Bowspring with a double-S curve on the back of my body, any position became one of readiness, springiness and lightness.
Instead of thinking that the bones of the skeleton hold up the weight of the body, I learned that the bones float and are held in the tension of the muscles and fascia (myofascia). So, it is not necessary to try to stack the bones! The body is more like a curvy, wavy, springy tube of fluidity and lightness in its dynamic form.
Desi suggested the name for her new system, “Divine Destiny.” The name, ‘Sridaiva' is composed of the Sanskrit words, ‘Sri’ – divinity, and ‘daiva’ – destiny / fate. Whatever our fate or karma, we choose our destiny by going on a path toward harmony and happiness or on a path toward disharmony and suffering. A divine destiny is toward higher vibration, deep order, and emergent consciousness.
Over the last 3 years, we continued to evolve the Bowspring system as we practiced it and taught it almost 100 seminars in 8 countries. Desi led the way on defining the alignment of 10 key areas of the body in the Bowspring. The alignments in these 10 areas are so different than the standard model in modern postural yoga that in order to reduce confusion among the greater yoga community, Desi dropped the name ‘yoga’ from Sridaiva and Bowspring. Now as we begin Sridaiva’s 4th year, we also removed the Vital Yoga sign out in front of the building on Tennyson St in Denver, Colorado last week. Now we are just – Vital – Center for Mind-Body Health.
While we drop the name Yoga from our brand name, we move toward a deeper commitment for self-inquiry to gain knowledge of our unconscious patterns in our mind and body. We are students of life learning each day to become more awake to choose the most balanced and harmonic way of living. This is yoga to us. We align with the yogic path of the cultivation of wisdom over a lifetime.
And one key lesson we have learned in the last 3 years is that Bowspring is currently outside the paradigm of the modern postural yoga culture and alignment. To continue to call the Bowspring a style of modern postural yoga would be disingenuous since the alignment paradigms are antithetical. We feel that we practice yoga when we are floating, pulsing, and crawling upside down a wall in our Bowspring, but we call it dynamic posture – the Bowspring, instead of ‘yoga’ to make the distinction clear from modern postural yoga form and alignment. We believe this will allow more yogis to drop their attachment to doing the postures only in a "classical" way (the 20th century), and they will try an orientation month of Bowspring practice at Vital to experience the positive shifts in their mind-body health for themselves.
Downward-Facing Dog becomes a Crouching Cat… a scooped tailbone turns into lifted glutes… the C-Curve becomes a double-S curve… a static/heavy asana becomes a pose of readiness, a dynamic posture of rooting and rising, pulsing lightness and primordial openness, Straight lines become curvy waves and spirals…. An upright pillar becomes a springy fluid wave.