4. Outer – Contracting Spiral (I/S)
What it is
Outer Spiral is an ever-narrowing energy spiral that narrows the back of the body, powering the hips and shoulders, and toning the front, brings us into our personal power.
Integration, containment, connectedness, contraction, power, toning
Emotional (… so as to feel…):
fiery heat, personal empowerment, drive, confidence, recommitment
Why we do the alignment
• Helps to align the body, particularly the arms and legs, which help to increase the energetic flow throughout the pose.
• Balances the opening created by Inner Spiral drawing the muscles closer together and stronger onto the bone.
• Outer Spiral has a drawing-in aspect
• Toning the front brings us into our personal power
• Connects the sacrum in an ever-narrowing spiral moving down through the legs to the little-toe side of the feet
• Resets the femur heads into the hip socket
Alignment Steps & Commands
Pelvis and legs:
• Draw the buttock flesh down from the sacrum to the sits bones and towards the earth setting the femur heads back into the center of the hip sockets
• Wrap the pelvis bones back around toward the tailbone
• Lengthen and tip the tailbone toward your feet
• Move the sits bones toward each other
• Contract the pelvic floor and make it smaller
• Lift the lower abdomen from the pubic bone to the navel as part of Pelvic Loop
• Press the front-leg sits bone down toward the floor
• Open the front-leg knee out towards the little toe and draw the head of the femur into the widening hip—created by Inner Spiral—and down toward the earth
• Narrow the outer heels
Arms Overhead :
• Roll the outer deltoids out, rotate forearms in
Arms down (neutral, front and side planes):
• Roll the inner deltoids back, rotate forearms out
• Initiate Outer Spiral with the exhalation
Direction of Flow
• Starts at the t-12 waistline area and moves through the belly spiraling out and downward
• Turns from the outer edges of the waistline down through the tailbone and out through the legs and outer edges of the feet
• Shoulder blades draw inward toward each other
• Outer shoulders broaden and move to the back plane
• Draws the sides of the pelvis, legs and feet together into the midline
• Moves inner edges of legs and pelvis (tailbone, base of the sacrum and sitting bones) forward
• Sets the femur heads back into the center of the hip sockets
• Turns the legs outward
• Outer heels narrow
• The sides of the hips firm in toward the core, and the pelvic bones wrap around toward the tailbone contracting the sacrum area
• Turns the front of the pelvic bones outward
• Creates a lengthening up effect on the sacrum as the tailbone extends down
• Tailbone lengthens and tips posteriorly decreasing lumbar curve
• Draws the tailbone and sits bones down and forward
• Sitting bones move toward each other and forward
• Pelvic floor contracts and becomes smaller
• The front groins harden and poke forward
• Narrows the back of the body, powering the hips and shoulders
• The buttock flesh draws down from the waistline to the sitting bone
Back and arms:
• Draws the shoulder blades toward each other
• Augments empowerment and lengthening
• Pushes us into the front body and individual self-awareness
• Creates a fiery heat that fuels a vertical expansion
• Balances the energy of opening (I/S) with a reconnection inward and further steadiness for expansion outward
Alignment Relative to Other UPAs and Loops
• Balanced relationship between the Spirals creates Mulabandha (in combination with IS) at the center of the pelvic floor
• Inner and Outer spirals work together to align the feet, legs, and pelvis creating a balanced action front to back: opening and widening action followed by a narrowing action
• Inner and Outer Spirals work together to level the hips
• As you Outer Spiral the legs the Pelvic Loop is activated, which in turn will help to increase the Kidney Loop.
• Initiates the extension of Organic Energy from the Focal Point to the periphery
• Engage more Inner Spiral in the back leg (asymmetrical poses) and more Outer Spiral in the front leg
• Counters the softening of the groins from Inner Spiral, hardening them and taking them forward
• Helps initiate Pelvic Loop
− Action of dropping the buttocks, back waist line, and tailbone while lifting the low belly up.
− Special attention must be given to the engagement and action of the upper inner thighs so as to keep the tailbone-dropping action of Outer Spiral from overpowering and exceeding Inner Spiral opening, which, if not balanced, would push the thighs excessively forward and would cause an over-clenching of the buttocks
− Moves the top of the thighs forward
Specific verbal prompts to create this action
• Press your buttocks and sits bones downward to the floor.
• Press the front leg sit bone down toward the floor, scoop the thigh bone into the hip socket.
• Scoop your tailbone down and lift the low belly up.
• As you widen the front knee out toward the little toe, draw the femur deeper into the hip and rotate it downward toward the earth.
• Press down into the big toe of the front foot and drag the whole foot back.
• Contract the shoulder blades closer together for more even support on all sides.
• Scoop the tailbone under so much that you feel your lower belly beneath your navel drawing in and up.
Poses most effected
• Upward-facing dog
• Setubandha Sarvangasana
• Urdhva Dhanurasana
• Virabhadrasana I,II,IIIInversions
• Baddha konasana
• Pigeon prep
• Baby cradle
• Bharadvajasana II
• Supta Padangustasana
• In down dog drape a strap over the sacrum, active partner does Inner Spiral; partner pulls strait down on both sides of strap.