Inner Spiral

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3. Inner – Expanding Spiral (I/S)

What it is:

Anusara School of Hatha Yoga; Anusara yoga

Anusara is … Informed alignment

Inner Spiral is an ever-expanding energy spiral that widens the back of the body, broadening the roots of the limbs and connects us to the Universal.

Feeling Elements:
Physical (Create….):  fluidity, expansion, opening, flexibility, flow, movement,

Emotional (… so as to feel…):  an inner opening, accommodating, receptive,  a refinement, flowing, free, open to self expression, open to receive

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.
  • It is an action that releases and widens the back of the body making space for further expansion.
  • When we widen the vessel there is more potential for vertical power.
  • Exerts an expansive force at the back of the body that softens the heart and connects us to the Universal.
  • It counters the overpowering action of the gluteus maximus
  • Creates the inner lumbar curve
  • Draws the sternum upward toward the pallet
  • Deepens the midsection towards the spine

Alignment Actions:

  • Draws an energetic spiral from the inner edges of the feet at the big toe up wrapping back around the calf and around the thigh towards the navel, then to the back body through the low bell to the Pelvic Focal Point.
  • Draw energy up from your feet and press the inner edges of the thighs back
  • Widen the sits bones back and apart
  • Press the pubic bone back and soften the groins, pelvic floor and low back
  • Create a low back lumbar curve by pressing the inner thighs and pubic bone back.
  • Initiate Inner Spiral with the inhalation

Direction of Flow:

Turns the front of the legs and pelvis inward towards midline
•   Moves inner edges of feet, legs and pelvis backwards; the inner heels, inner knees and inner thighs move back
•   Broadens and laterally expands the legs and pelvis apart

Upper Body:   
Arms Overhead (upper arms are key here)
•   Starts at the head of the arm bones and spirals out to the hands
•   The upper arms and shoulders rotate externally from the inner biceps to outer biceps, then from the outer biceps to outer triceps.
•   Outer Spiral continues down the arms to the rotate the forearms out

Arms down—neutral, front and side planes (forearms and hands are key here)
•   Starts in the hands and spirals into the upper back and shoulder blades area
•   Hands rotate inward
•   Forearms and the upper arms rotate inward

Physical Effects:

Legs and pelvis:
•   Femur heads move away from the center of the hip sockets creating space for movement
•   Takes pubic bones and sits bones backwards widening the sits bones apart and softens and expands the pelvic floor
•   Groins soften and become hollow
•   Turns the front of the feet, legs and pelvis inward toward the midline
•   Inner edges of the feet stretch backward and outer edges of the feet stretch forward
•   Inner heels, inner knees, inner thighs move backward
•   Broadens legs and pelvis bones laterally so the front and back of the pelvis widens
•   Sits bones back action increases the low back arch (lordosis)
•   Top of the sacrum tips anteriorly and draws upward
•   The tailbone lengthens as it moves back away from the pubis
•   Counters the overpowering muscles of the gluteus maximus

Upper body:
Widens the upper back of the body broadening the roots of the limbs at the shoulders
•   The in- and-up action of the sacrum fires the multifeti

Energetic Effects:

•   Expands the back and softens the heart connecting us to the Universal
•   Opening and softening around the pelvis keeps us fluid and flowing
•   Augments freedom and movement
•   Widening of the pelvis empowers the vertical flow of energy upward through your torso.

Alignment Relative to Other UPAs and Loops

  • It follows muscular integration and opens and loosens up that which was activated by ME; everything releases and widens
  • Along with Outer Spiral it levels all four points of the hips.
  • Always precedes Outer/Condensing Spiral
  • Inner Spiral widens sacrum to make space for Outer Spiral and the rooting of the tailbone.
  • Engage more Inner Spiral in the back leg (asymmetrical poses) and more Outer Spiral in the front leg
  • ME and the Shoulder Loop should be strongly applied to the shoulder blades so they stay flat on the back during Expanding Spiral
  • Helps to initiate Thigh Loop
  • Thighs press to the back plane and down toward the earth and foundation
  • Takes the top of the thighs back helping to form the Inner Spiral actions of taking the femurs back, softening the groins, and making space for the Pelvic Loop

Specific verbal prompts to create this action:

Legs and pelvis:
•   Take the sitting bones back and apart.
•   Deepen the groins back; sacrum in and up.
Take the pubic bone back between your thighs, sacrum in and up.
Press the inner thighs back and apart.
Press down into the front big toe and soften the groins back.
•   Manually grab your upper thighs and roll them inward and back.

Arms up:
•   Roll outer deltoids and forearms out.

Arms down:
•   Roll inner elbows towards each other and rotate the forearms inward.

Poses most effected

Forward bends
•   Uttanasana
•   Down Dog
•   Prasarita Padottanasana
•   Upavistha Konasana
•   Paschimottanasana
•   Supta Padangusthasana

Seated Poses
•   Marichyasana I,II
•   Sukhasana
•   Baddhakonasana
•   Padmasana
•   Janu sirsasana

Hip openers
•   Straight-leg lunge
•   Pigeon prep
•   Virasana
•   Baddhakonasana
•   Hanumanasana
•   Upavistha Konasana

Standing poses
•   Tadasana
•   Parsvakonasana
•   Trikonasana
•   Virabhadrasana II
•   Prasarita Padottanasana

•   Down Dog


1) In down dog drape a strap over the sacrum and wrap it around the thighs and through the inner thighs.
•   Partner pulls back on strap.
•   Active partner presses their pubic bone pack as they widen the sit bones apart

2) In high lunge place a strap around the upper thigh of the back leg
•   Activate inner spiral with an upward press of the inner thigh
•   Partner pulls back thigh to the back plane helping to expand the opening in the pelvis.
•   Active scoops front-leg sits bone down and lifts the arch of the front foot
(Balance action of I/S then adding O/S)

3) In Tadasana place a block between the thighs
•   Squeeze the block in and widen the thighs apart (shins in, thighs out)
•   Bend the knees slightly and press the thighs and block energetically back.
•   Scoop the tailbone and buttocks down towards the heels
(Balanced action adding O/S)