Where is the center of gravity, as per Ayurveda?

A student, who as a physiotherapist had learned that each human has one centre of gravity, asked me where that center of gravity was. At the time he was having trouble finding his balance while trying to do inverted yoga postures, such as the headstand or the shoulder stand. Sometimes he also had lower back pain! My answer was that “it depends on the posture and what you are doing,” and by saying that he got noticeably irritated. 😊

Anyone who knows us or has joined our retreats, would have figured out that we always put a theory to the test, and in doing so we are relativists. That means that we compare options to other options, to change, to movement, to other coordinates.

Technically speaking, there is no inertial frame of reference.

Ayurveda and Yoga see the body as a constant changing organism, or in other words “energy”. Everything is changing, nothing is static, not even when we are dead. Then we decompose, go back the the ecosystem we came from and so on. Everything changes in the universe constantly! To presume that we have one center of gravity is making both the body and the mind stiff (and resistant to change).

Why is this so hard to get for some (read “westerners”)? This was a 190 cm tall British bloke (today we work together 🙂 and I’d say it’s because the most dominant western philosophies are based on a deterministic world view – thanks Descartes, Newton and Darwin 🙂 The concept of never changing bodies or even DNA is not the worldview in Yoga, Ayurveda or in any Eastern or holistic philosophy as thy acknowledge the constant change. As you change your posture you change your center, as you change your food, sleep, shoes or other habits, you change your center of gravity too. The question is not where it is, but where it feels good.

We are born perfect (or we wouldn’t have been born) for the life we are supposed to live (even considering all the “bads” life always offers in different proportions). Nature is never random and if we learn to optimize our lives it’s going to be by learning to cooperate with gravity and other natural forces. They are there to be felt, to make us align and search homeostasis in everything we do, say and think.

Tips on how to cooperate with gravity:

  1. Feel! Walking, doing yoga or anything, our body will cooperate with gravity all the time. Feel it, be aware of how it changes. Bare feet is the best. High heels is the worst.
  2. If you don’t know what a great posture is, google it and search for the line of gravity from the top of the head, down the spine to the heel, in a relaxed but potent body. It allows two curves (lordosis). All other postures are fashion.
  3. If we slouch small signals are sent. Others call this pain we call it feedback. When you feel it, be aware of your posture and correct it immediately and stretch often. If you do a 4 minute workout every 90 minutes you’ll keep the muscle mass which you otherwise lose by sitting still over for 90 minutes.
  4. Sleep on a thin mattress, like a futon, to allow the body to move during sleep. It keeps your body fit as it wants to be. Sleeping on soft mattresses that discourage movement during the night, is detrimental.

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