Outer Spiral

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4. Outer – Contracting Spiral (O/S)

What it is

Anusara School of Hatha Yoga; Anusara yoga

Anusara is … Spiraling to new heights

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.

Feeling Elements

Physical (Create….):
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

Physical Effects

•  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

Energetic Effects

•  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

•  Bhujangasana
•  Upward-facing dog
•  Salabhasana
•  Ustrasana
•  Setubandha Sarvangasana
•  Urdhva Dhanurasana

Standing poses
•  Tadasana
•  Parsvakonasana
•  Parsvottanasana
•  Trikonasana
•  Virabhadrasana I,II,IIIInversions
•  Sirsasana

Hip openers
•  Baddha konasana
•  Pigeon prep
•  Baby cradle
•  Bharadvajasana II
•  Padmasana
•  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.