What is 5 Pull?
In ballroom dancing, there is this concept called “5 pull.” It’s the point of pressure each dancer experiences when both are equally giving to the move at hand. Very good dancers can carry this 5 pull throughout the entire dance, pattern after pattern. They move across the floor making the couple look as if they are floating as one around the room. It’s beautiful to watch, and when done correctly does not exhaust the dancers as the equal distribution back and forth becomes effortless.
If there is no 5 pull, then the dancers are pushing or pulling against one another, which is exhausting and often results in either a fall or an injury. Achieving this connection takes a long time. Yet, when it’s there, you can lock in and let go, riding in this zone where you just know everything is right.
The 5 Pull of Postures
Our yoga practice is much the same way. We spend long hours trying to comprehend the framework of each pose given to us in the dialogue. It is its own language and takes awhile to hear, even longer to understand, and even longer to apply and settle into the body as permanent. That’s why you hear all the teachers tell you that this is a journey and it takes time. In that time however, the body is getting better and better at it. As you establish the framework, then you can expand and open up as much as you are able, which in the physical postures is stretching. Like dancing, the more you honor that framework and practice day after day, the more you can expand in your designated bubble. Then the posture feels better, stronger, more supple, and more relaxed, leaving you in a rich zone where you know everything is right.
Maybe it’s where yang meets yin or yin meets yang. It’s that dialed in certain point of contact where there is no effort but rather a flow that opens a portal to something much greater. Notice the class itself. It too is set up with a framework: 26 postures, 2 breathing exercises; 90 minutes; high heat and humidity; all done in sequential order with many pauses in between.
If you’ve ever had chiropractic work done, then you know once the doctor has given you an adjustment, you lay there as the body has gone completely yin. It may take a few seconds or even a few minutes before the body gets its strength (or yang) back and honors the change in the adjustment. This same thing takes place in class as we intently and intensely put the body in an “adjustment” and then stay still or lay down and go “yin”. It’s as if the 90 minutes puts the body in a 5 pull!
The 5 Pull of the Mind
Let’s not forget about the mind though. Another genius aspect of this yoga is knowing that when the body calms, the mind follows. Just notice how by the time you’ve hit savasana your body is so relaxed, which in turn calms the fluctuations of our more natural “monkey mind.” In addition, we use the body as a medium throughout the class to help train the mind, bringing it to a more centered state harnessing its own 5 pull. Imagine now that the entire class has taken two beautiful dancers (the body and the mind) and put them in a state of 5 pull, ready to move together fluidly on the dance floor of life!
And, like dancing, when you are in a state of 5 pull, there is an effortless feeling of power and grace as you move in harmony with your surroundings. It’s as if the world around begins to move in sync with you. You may notice that as you leave the studio after a yoga practice, the day goes smoother, things are more in sync, and everything feels right.
5 Pull: Union and Grace
I’ve been pondering more and more lately why Bikram yoga is so uniquely potent. It’s not enough to just feel good in your body. It’s not enough to just feel good in your mind. Enough is when we have both, feeling good in our body and within our mind. I’m using dancing as a metaphor to make some colorful points so that you can appreciate the framework you’ve achieved with your body and the framework you’ve achieved with your mind. Now, like dancers, you can expand YOURSELF in that partnership with your established 5 pull. What starts to show is a more artful expression of who you are, pattern after pattern.
Our most recent 60-Day Challenge Party exemplifies the 5 pull journey. The stories shared weren’t about how the Challenger found a way to hydrate or create a routine to let them get to class each day. Instead, the stories were about overcoming snarls that hold back 5 pull: insecurity, doubt, the pressure to perform, and weakness succumbing to lifelong injuries. All of these situations or patterns we play out in our lives can be met up with 5 pull. That energy allows the pattern to unsnarl, diffuse it’s strong hold, and relax into a more natural state, giving you the chance to see it all clearly and dance right through with power and grace!
Congratulations Challengers and to all the BYSJ community members that know this yoga is the portal to your truer existence, wanting you to dance freely to the distinctive melodies of your life!