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  • E L A I N E I . P I E R C E

    Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Green Green Green Green Green Deep Green Green Green Deep Green Deep Green Deep Deep Deep Green Deep Green Deep Green Deep Deep Deep Green Deep


  • Copyright by Elaine PierceAll rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright A of , no part of this book may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a data-base or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

    Elaine Pierce P.O. Box Duncans Mills, CA

    Cover & book design, photoediting, annotations, and illustrations by Fifth Street Design, Bozeman, Montana.

    Book produion by Design Aion Colleive, Oakland, California.

    Model photography by Kevin Bond, San Francisco, California.

    Editing by Dalya Massachi, Oakland, California.

    Yoga model: Elaine Pierce, pregnant model: Charity Kahn

    e publisher is not reonsible for websites or their content that are not owned by the publisher.

    First edition


    ISBN- ----


    Printed in the United States of America with union labor, on recycled paper, with soy-based inks.

  • Table of Contents

    About the Author 7Acknowledgments 8Dedication 9Introduction 13

    The Point of Our Poses 13Natures Unifying Principles as a Guide to Yoga 14My Own Exploration of Universal Principles 16Four Premises on Which This Study Is Based & theInconvenient Truth to Which They Point 19

    : TheCircle:Unity 23

    Circular Stretch 24Postural Unity: Becoming Whole byEmbodyingOur Evolutionary History 27Holding Ourselves Upright asVerticalFour-Leggeds 29

    Duality: DoorwaytoPossibility 31

    To Be Split Is a Fact of Life 32Two Presents Possibilities forHealingorforDestruction 32Rules of Engagement: BalancingResistance&Surrender 33Division Is Illusion: Two Is One 36

    The Triangle: UnityInDiversity 39

    The Dynamics of the Architectural A-Frame asItInforms Yoga 40The Three Main Postural Triangles 41The Postural Keystones 43Every Pose Is Energetically Triangular 45e Pli Principle: EngagingPosturalOppositionsin Support of the Point 47

    The Square: DiagonalTraction 51

    Our Posture as a Vertically, Horizontally, &Diagonally Balanced Square 52Two Evenly Stretched Diagonals: TheMostAccessibleReference for Ordering Our Poses 53An Internal Compass Is Key toFullExtensioninAnyTwist 55Ancient Teachings about the Four Elements AppliedtotheMicrocosm of Our Posture 59Engaging Muscle/Bone Opposition: Bones Turn In; Muscles Turn Out 61


    The Pentagon Star: The Spiral 65

    The Human Form: ASelf-ReplicatingFive-PointedStar 66The Spiral: The Initiator of the Twist 67Spiraling Forms Expressed ThroughtheAlignedBody&Pose 68Pregnancy: AnInwardly-ReplicatingFive-PointedStar 74

    The Six-Pointed Star: SkeletalStability 77

    Involution Precedes Evolution: TheMessageoftheHexagonStars Two Triangles 78Alternating Contraction & Extension: StrengtheningtheAbility to LifttheBones Towardthe Back 80Maintaining Equal Horizontal Axes: BalanceasEssentialto Hexagonal Stability 82Restraining Postural Leaks: ConservationasaHallmarkof Hexagonal Stability 85

    The Heptagon Star: Energy 87

    The Shifting Shape of Seven 88Seven as Both Link & Chasm 89Seven as an Energy Cone 90The Center of the Head: WhyItsImportant&Howto Find It 91Postural Wrapping: EveryMoveIsanOpportunitytoRaise Our Energy 93Energy Flow, Posture, Movement, &thePreservationof Our Sanity 94

    The Octagon: Resistance& Radiance 97

    The Power of Eight: Circular Stretch & the Figure 8 98Engaging the Lengthwise Half-Loops of the Figure8: Sculpting the Glutes, Legs & Arms 102Depolarization: The Way You Do Anything IstheWayYouDo Everything 105Engaging the Hands & Feet EnlivenstheWholePose 108

    eNonagon: eNthStep 111

    Mystery #1: NineRarelyOccursinNature,&WhenItDoes, ItIsnt Seen with the Naked Eye 112Mystery #2: The Nonagon, as Three Times Three, Is Completely Dependent on the Triangle to Materialize 115Mystery #3: Nine,theSymbol ofImmutableTruth, RelatestoAll Numbers 117The Mother & Father of All Poses: BalancingtheFeminine& Masculine Aspects of the Body 120

    The Decagon: Humility 125

    The Two Hands in Namaste: A Symbol of Humility &aReference for Alignment Integrity 126Practicing Yoga as a Vertical Four-Legged 127Encircling the Square: CheckingtheTendencyofMattertoDisengage&Multiply 131The Point at the Top of the Pyramid: HoldingtheSquareBase to Its Center 132

  • T C

    : Deep Green Kosmetics 137

    : The Case for Exercising the Face 139

    The Green Option for Facial Sustainability 139Facial Features, Fingers, Toes: Small Parts Play Big Roles 140Sculpting the Face to the Bones The Noses Key Role 141Facial Aging: A Breakdown of Circular Integrity 142

    :Basic Exercises that Locate the Faces Muscular Web 145

    Strengthening the Sense of the Head as the Peak of Our Vertical Center 145Strengthening the Sense of the Nose as the Center of the Face 147Strengthening the Ability to Stretch the Facial Features 150Eyes 150Mouth 151Ears 152

    Accessing the Magical Power of Simple Shapes 155

    Two Key Isometric Exercises 155Exercise 1: Isometrically Preparing the Face So We Can Locate the Seven Patterns 156Exercise 2: Seven Smiles that Squeeze the Skull 157

    Completing the Circle 161

    Engaging the Faces Embroidered Patterns 161Eight Quick & Simple, Feel-Good Exercises 163

    Supplemental Reading & Bibliography 165

    Glossary 167

    Index 172

  • About the Author

    I took my first yoga class as the sole student of a chair-seated guru in a tiny room in Greenwich Village. at was in , when serious classes in this country were virtually nonexistent, when Jess Sterns Yoga, Youth, and Reincarnation and Richard Hittelmans Yoga: Day Exercise Program had yet to inspire spiritual seekers to gather for Sun Salutes. Who knew then that yoga studios would soon become a neighborhood staple, with a potpourri of venues and styles, that teaching yoga would become a prominent career path? No more tiny rooms; no more teachers in chairs.

    In I graduated from the San Francisco Iyengar Yoga Institute Teacher Training Program, the first of its kind in the U.S., and began teaching pregnant and post-natal women, seniors, children, and open classes in a variety of venues. Long a student of modern dance at Colorado College and Cal Arts, I also ran competitively, and in was among the early women to break three hours in the marathon. Dance and running have profoundly informed my yoga praice, helping me understand that even when movement patterns appear very different, the underlying principles remain the same.

    My story is not unusual: a sickly childhood inired a lifelong interest in health, eecially in my case the importance of a centered posture. From the age of seven I ent three years at a Catholic convent boarding school in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), where the word body was a four-letter word, where physical exercise was pretty much limited to the gymnastics required to manage enforced dressing under the sheets, and to marching

    silently in pairs down the dingy halls. Stepping out of line (literally) meant a whipping with a self-fetched ruler. Among my greatest comforts, besides rare secret midnight whiering sessions on a dorm-mates bed, were three tiny fish I secretly kept in a can in the back of my clothes shelf and a baby bat who lived in one of my shoes.

    is book is inired less by a desire to promote physical fitness per se than by a larger desire to help turn the national malady of nature deficit disorder toward an urgently-needed life-supporting identification with the natural world, reinforced by experiencing how natures universal principles express through yoga postures. I share my discoveries through the text and through photos of my praice, which is organized entirely by the described principles. A minimalist by nature, I currently live in a -square-foot tiny house near the north-ern California coast.



    Without the teaching lineage of BKS Iyengar, whose flawless poses and book Light On Yoga are recognized as the epitome of alignment perfection, this book could not exist. In no way are the ideas presented here intended to add to that legacy or to imply any endorsement or acceptance by Mr. Iyengar or his teaching lineage. By my good fortune to have personally studied with the great dancers Hanya Holm, Mia Slavenska, and Bella Lewitzky, I have had a muscle-memory context that enabled whatever I have gleaned of the wisdom of BKS Iyengar, as taught at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. To my teachers there I am greatly indebted.I am also indebted to the yoga enthusiasts whose receptivity and enthusiasm enabled me to develop the context for communicating my ideas: students at What A Racquet in Daly City, the Presidio YMCA in San Francisco, and San Francisco Kaiser Hoital Prenatal Yoga Education. Outstanding among these are Vaike Broderick, Delia Malloy, Martha Kropf, Carol Leonard, Deborah Pruitt, Meredith Tennent, Fiona McDonald, Lourdes Livingston, Stephanie Noon and daughter Eliana who modeled for e Face, the Kaiser Yoga Moms, who created an ongoing family-centered community, and my wonderful boss at Kaiser, Vera Grab.

    Its difficult to separate praical mentoring from the broader web of support Ive been given, enabling me to follow my path. Notable among those I would like to than


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