Navel Radiation, or moving from the core, represents a new way of placing my attention as I practise yoga postures. For a long time I have enjoyed practising with movement and breath in mind, not focusing so much on where my strength originates from.
Yoga teacher Donna Farhi mentioned navel radiation in a workshop I attended a couple of months ago – it was a little “aha moment” for me! It helped me understand something I hadn’t been able to explain in words to myself. And it was something I had been wondering about for some time. For example, when standing in Warrior II, where does this feeling of no effort come from when I hold my arms out wide, and how can I explain it to students coming to my classes so that they can access that feeling of no effort too?
Navel radiation helped explain it to me.
I understand the expression as moving from the core (the core being located just below the navel). As it says in Donna Farhi’s most recent book Pathways to a Centered Body, this centre in the body is in Asian traditions considered “a veritable reservoir of life force energy”. While practising yoga poses, or perhaps your chosen sport, imagining you are radiating from this centre to all six limbs, i.e. to head, tail, both arms and both legs! By allowing your energy to come from the core, maybe noticing how your whole body can feel truly connected. I think this is where the sense of effortlessness comes in. Based on my own experience, by increasing awareness of my body, both in terms of inner body and how I can move, while adding strength and flexibility around pelvis and lower spine, I believe I now more and more naturally move from the core. Always room for improvement though! 😄
According to Donna Farhi, “any finely tuned athlete” is tuned in to the mastery of the body’s energetic centre. He/she is making their performance in sport look so easy.
Looking at the picture above of Federer reaching for a ball, do you see how amazingly connected his whole body is? Full control of all six limbs, making the lunging and reaching for the ball look effortless. Even his face is relaxed!!