By Desiree Rumbaugh
Greetings Anusara friends!
They say that hindsight is 2020. We cannot go back and make things different, we can only continue forward, doing the best we can with what we know and what we have. In my yoga practice, I have always been open to moving on from previous ideas including changing the way I teach. I have always felt comfortable being honest with my students about this because I feel no shame in admitting that I now have a better understanding of something than what I used to have.
For 2020, I have something new that is making me and my students stronger and I want to share it with you.
If we apply the actions of the loops in a slightly different order, we can make our core stronger. Once this habit is made and the body is more connected, we can return to the traditional application of the loops and keep that strength.
Begin standing in tadasana with your feet parallel and hip width apart. Now create a vertical stack with your ribcage and pelvis by making sure that they are both level rather than lifted or too tilted. It is very common, mostly among women, to push the ribcage forward too much when trying to take the thighs back or put the shoulder blades on the back.
Keeping your back and shoulders broad, apply the loops, beginning with your feet and legs and use your muscles to create the inner spiral. Your gluteals will actually lift when you take the inner spiral all the way up to T-12. This is the moment when many of us lose our vertical stacking. As our thighs go back and apart, our chest pushes forward. This is the place we need to keep more attention, that is why I suggest taking the ribcage back first and keeping it there while you work to move energy up from your feet and legs, connecting your lower and upper body.
Now lengthen the side body by working incrementally, vertebra by vertebra, from the top of the sacrum. Keep your upper back broad and avoid squeezing your shoulder blades too much toward your spine. By holding your ribs back at first, it should be easier to understand how to stay broad and lengthen your neck and back of your skull upward. There is no need to scoop, tuck or lengthen the tailbone if you set your ribs first. If you use all of your leg muscles to do the inner spiral, all the way up through your gluteals, your core strength will extend throughout your trunk and head and you will feel your stability.
It may take awhile to create this new habit, but once you have it, your lower back will be very grateful, your wrists and shoulders will be stronger and safer than ever.
Best wishes on your personal journey!