I Giggle

You will never guess where I ended up to write this. The site of a prior crime… Elephant and Castle. Not entirely sure how I ended up here, but somehow while wandering the Loop trying to find a spot to enjoy a glass of wine and write, I came across it. A little grin as I remember the panic of the last time I was here. You may remember as well. No potatoes on are my menu today just a Cab. Maybe this is the perfect place to sit and write about…


In phonetics it’s the adjustments and movements of speech organs involved in pronouncing a particular sound, taken as a whole. In yoga, we talk about muscle articulation as small adjustments and movements you make to each muscle, ligament and bone in your body to set your whole posture in alignment. I’ve learned the benefits of being able to make those adjustments in my language and my muscles to really bring each pose into alignment. I even think that although I have heard the word “articulate” many times regarding speech I didn’t really grasp the extent to which positive articulation could impact my life until I came across it in yoga.
My enlightened digital guide talked me through a downward dog. Feet shoulder-width apart, ankles lowered as close to the ground as I can lifting my hips to the sky, holding my shoulders on my back and lengthening my spine. Often feeling like those things were contradictory and not realizing I could change the length of my spine, I try my best to form each part anyway. It wasn’t until she added the direction “turn elbow creases to the center” that it all began clear. I think this will all become clear to you if you try it too…

So read this paragraph, then try it .. come back when you are done…

Downward dog. Start on your hands and knees. Knees shoulder width apart. Hands under your shoulders, middle fingers pointed forward. Swing your hips back and above your feet. Straighten your legs. Flatten your back. Straighten your arms. Keep your shoulder blades down and on your back. Not up by your ears. Now… Here is the kicker.. without changing your hand position (from middle fingers facing forward) roll your elbow creases so they directly face each other. OK go… come back when you’re done….

Did you notice the difference? The muscles that engaged? If not try it again. I promise you will notice. That is when yoga all together became clearer to me. Each posture, pose and movement is broken down to so many tiny pieces and each change you make engages different muscles changing the intensity and benefits I gain from it.

I Think I Thought

If I could make these minor adjustments and gain major results overall, think of what learning to “articulate” my words can do to enhance my communications with others and my psyche! I tried it. Paying closer attention to the words that I use and how they affect me or others I talk to has been incredibly eye-opening. The details make a particular impact and when I make the adjustment I can more finely communicate my thoughts. All of a sudden my responses are more genuine. There have been fewer misunderstandings and I feel like people take away the true meaning of my words. So now.. I can stick my arm straight out in front of me without the aid of the floor to hold my wrist in place and turn my elbow creases toward one another. Or correct my posture by kissing my shoulder blades to my spine instead of shoving my upper arm bones to the wall behind me! Movements so small with such impact.
Now I am exploring a new use for articulation. Why can’t we apply this same concept of making smaller, more exact adjustments to our emotions, the way we are feeling? I’ve traditionally been a plow-ahead type person. Always moving to the next step. Having to be productive, make quick progress. This has dominated my career and both my professional and personal relationships. I’ve just charged on.

So now by trying to more closely “articulate” my emotions, I’m trying to split those up. Maybe charging ahead in one realm on one day and be patient in another on that same day or another. It’s hard to change gears that way, but it may be a real game changer.

Articulation requires specificity and perhaps an enlarged vocabulary. First I need to identify the way I want to feel and the words I would use to describe it. Using the most descriptive words I can think of. Being patient doesn’t mean putting something on the back burner. Those things feel different. Being proactive feels different than being demanding. Being supportive does not mean holding someone up. Being involved does not mean doing the job myself. The first step is to identify the difference, I think. Some subtle.. some not so much. The second is to try them on. Feeling where each appears in my body. Where the tension or focus is.. and what feels better or more appropriate. Being supportive feels light and warm.. holding someone up shows up as tension in my chest. So I can assess for the situation… which feels right. Where do I want to be? Being proactive leads from my chest too… but demanding comes from between my eyes. Each may have a time to be engaged and if I can learn to feel them and identify them in their minute differences, I can recognize when they are engaged and shouldn’t be. Be sure they are on track with how I actually want to react.

This type of articulation has just begun with me and I am excited to try to be so exacting. The balance comes in not becoming overwhelmed in doing it right every time. Learn the technique maybe and make changes over time. Checking in with my thoughts and which path I am headed down to claim the most focus. If I become preoccupied I will be overwhelmed.. so balance and understanding that this can be merely a tool might be key.

We shall see...