My yoga teacher, Nina Pileggi, finds it mildly amusing when, as a Navy veteran, I use the term “deck” instead of “floor” as for instance “Thanks for reminding me that I need to work on keeping my shoulders firmly on the deck.” The term deck is ubiquitous in the Navy as in “all hands on deck,” “deck officer,” or “officer of the deck (OOD).” Even ashore, Navy buildings have a first deck, a second deck, etc. This was all thoroughly drummed into me when at a young and tender age compared to where I am now, I attended Navy Officer Candidate School some years ago (and thus carefully avoided being drafted). The irony is that during my five years on active duty (including a year at the Naval Postgraduate School) I was a meteorologist and never served on a ship.
In ships underway, decks move in all directions, so that items that could shift are usually firmly attached to the deck. This might be a helpful metaphor in encouraging one to firmly “attach” one’s shoulders to the deck in poses such as Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose), Chatush Padasana (Four Footed Pose), or even Supta Padangusthasana II (Reclining Big Toe Pose II). Particularly for the first two poses, attaching shoulders as well as feet firmly to the deck is something I keep reminding myself of as I practice these poses at home. Nina is very good at reminding us in class to keep the base of the pose attached.
About the guest author: Mayer Schwartz
Mayer has been attending yoga classes at Sunset Yoga Center with Nina Pileggi for over two years. Mayer recently made the leap to level 2 classes where he is learning new challenging poses. Mayer is a retired software engineer and now an avid photographer.
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