In my endeavour to improve my English vocabulary I recently came across a new word: ‘Oxymoron’.

If you don’t know the meaning it may sound offensive, but rest assured, it isn’t. An oxymoron is a rhetorical figure of speech in which contradictory terms are combined. Here are some amusing examples: 

‘A New Classic’; ‘Only Choice’; ‘Act Naturally’; ‘Social Distancing’; ‘Temporary Tax Increase’; ‘Civil War’; ‘Microsoft Works’; ‘Airline Food’; ‘Thank God, I’m an Atheist’ and my favourite one: ‘Unbiased Opinion’.

You may wonder where this is going and what is the connection with Yoga…

Dr. Jeffrey Maitland was a renowned American Rolfer who taught and inspired many. Sadly, he passed away recently.

In his work he defined a fundamental principle in Rolfing: ‘Palintonicity’ or ‘Unity in Opposition’. 

Unity in Opposition’ refers to somatic geometric order or balanced tensions that exist in the body, back to front, inside, outside, side to side, and up and down.

When Palintonicity is present one can experience a sense of spaciousness and balance in the body, the ability to stand tall and walk effortlessly.

In Yoga we use the Sanskrit phrase ‘ Sthira Sukham Asanam’ for a posture that is steady and comfortable. 

A great way to develop your yoga  practice can be to aim for Palintonicity. That is for each yoga asana (posture) that you practice you consciously establish, cultivate and unit lines of opposing directions within your body. 

Here’s an example for Trikonasana, in which I practiced five opposing lines of directions (green arrows) in unity. On the image I added the ground reaction force felt through the feet using red arrows. 

Here’s an important reminder: when practicing yoga never go anywhere that hurts. Instead take it easy, and from now on enjoy practicing Palintonicity!

In the meantime I would like to wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.