What is Muscle Energy?
As one of Anusara Yoga’s Universal Principles of Alignment, Muscle Energy is a current of energy that firms inward from periphery to core.
Muscle Energy brings qualities of strength, support, and assurance to yoga poses. It’s an intensifying energy that offers stability.
As well, Muscle Energy is the purposeful integration of our limbs into the focal point. Our two legs and tail organize into the pelvic focal point, our two arms into the heart focal point, and our head into the skull focal point.
Universal Principles of Alignment
Anusara Yoga’s Universal Principles of Alignment (UPAs) are part of the international yoga School’s licensed teaching methodology.
- Open to Grace / Set the Foundation
- Muscle Energy
- Inner / Expanding Spiral
- Outer / Contracting Spiral
- Organic Energy
To best understand and embody Anusara Yoga’s UPAs and Muscle Energy, study with a licensed Anusara teacher.
3 Aspects of Anusara Yoga’s Muscle Energy
The three aspects of Anusara Yoga’s Muscle Energy work to assure our whole body is engaged in supporting our movement and the various shapes we take in our yoga practice. This does not mean that each muscle is expending maximum energy at all times. Rather, our muscles are in a conversation that recruits the support needed to tether all six limbs into whichever focal point is weight bearing during the pose.
Skin to muscle to bone—seeks to consciously recruit the deepest layer of muscles in our limbs so that each joint’s integrity is maintained as a necessary precursor to recruiting the more superficial layers of muscles that cross multiple joints.
Towards the midline— organizes our lateral limbs of our arms and legs around the axis of our midline, which enables our midline limbs of our head and tail to inform the necessary evenness of tone around our torso, from the depth of our pelvic floor to the crown of our head, easing unnecessary tensions within our head and face, and across our shoulder and pelvic girdles.
Periphery towards the core— utilizes the most attenuated means to organize within our body—by initiating recruitment distally.
Many Muscles Interconnected through Muscle Energy
By engaging Muscle Energy we are walking the fine line of drawing inwards for connection and stability, without foreshortening (closing down through gripping) in which muscles can lose track of their interconnectedness.
Through a conscious practice of Muscle Energy, we get clearer and clearer, and more and more subtly aware, that Muscle Energy is not synonymous with engaging a muscle within itself, but rather, calls upon the activation of full body kinetic chains and tensegrity principles.
Containment and Boundary of Muscle Energy
In many instances, Muscle Energy is most easily felt and understood by creating closed chain systems. Most simply, by giving an end point to any limb that is otherwise reaching into space.
The idea of creating containment is also one of the main functions of hands-on touch, to create an end point or boundary. Hands-on touch increases awareness of boundaries through the feedback of pressure.
Experiencing our body as a closed chain system, we learn the power of being a contained, self-organizing system.
Furthermore, we discover that engagement of any length of muscle has the potential to affect and excite the wholeness of oneself, lighting up the highest potential of our body to Self-realize.
Creating Invaluable Feedback through Props
Through the lens of Anusara Yoga’s philosophy and methodology, Experienced Certified Anusara Teacher, Julia Pearring, investigates how yoga props help provide boundaries, end points and feedback. In this Samudra Shakti Online presentation, explore how yoga props help us to maintain space, steady us and move us. It’s part lecture and part asana/exploration. Have your yoga mat, a blanket, and 2 blocks.
Pulsation Between Our Surface and Core
We also begin to see that an enlivened engagement of Muscle Energy sets up the potential to radiate evenly and powerfully outwards from our internal source, naturally leading to the complimentary and successive movement of Organic Energy.
This pulsation is the connection of surface and depth within our form. Our focus begins by moving within to what is never exhausted and completely realized, housed within our own being (through Muscle Energy.) This naturally ignites the depth of energy and truth to expand outward to the boundary/surface through which our form articulates and manifests in the outer world (through Organic Energy.)
If our reach outward is not tethered from our inner source of Essence, our pulsation is never renewed and refreshed and we can feel easily drained. Which naturally leads us to search for fulfillment and support outside of ourselves rather than from within.
Ultimately, our efforts to engage Muscle Energy are deeply worthwhile!
About the Content Creators
Infused with gratitude for what has awakened within her, Julia gladly offers herself to living and teaching yoga. Based in New York City, she offers teacher trainings and retreats.
Lisa Long, M.A.
Lisa wants to live in a world where Love gives you a permission slip to drop the mask and be who you are. She enjoys practicing near water to remind her to remain in Love’s flow.