Esalen's Foundational Yoga Teacher — Teaching yoga since 1968
Earth Sky Sandwich© Pam Walatka
An earth-sky sandwich is when you lie down on the ground. Flat. On the ground, not on a blanket or a beach chair. Touching the earth. Skin-to-grass. The bare parts of your body--arms, hands, fingers, heels--in touch with the earth. The sky is the top piece of bread in the sandwich. The earth is the bottom piece of bread. You are the filling. I think that an earth-sky sandwich resets the orientation sensors in the spinal column. You can consciously use your sensors to orient yourself in your world.
Orientation SensorsThere are many orientation sensors that send information to the spinal cord.
vestibular portion of the inner ear
Undiscovered SensorsHere are some other, undocumented, possible sources of sensation. This is purely speculation, to be taken as a joke if you wish.
iron filings in the blood
So What?With a little practice, you could learn how to orient yourself in the universe. Your spinal gray cells could get used to processing the info coming in from your orientation sensors. With the avalanche of info available to us, it might be nice to have access to the info that tells us what the hell is going on. I wonder if a habit of paying attention to gravity in everyday life would help an astronaut get oriented when gravity is gone? I know it helps around here.
Earth-Sky Sandwich AgainMindfulness is the practice of paying attention to what's happening. Letting yourself be still between heaven and earth can reset your orientation sensors.
ReferenceP. L. Williams and R. Warwick, editors, Gray's Anatomy, 37th American Edition, Churchill Livingston, New York, 1989.
See also: Backache Common Sense, Free Online Yoga Class.