Principles of Emphasis
- Muscular Energy In order to perform the next principles you need to tone the upper inner thighs (adductors) and the outer hips.
- Inner Spiral turns the inner thighs in, back and apart (this is achieved by the strength of the inner thigh muscles) and sets the head of the femur bone into the hip socket. The sitting bones widen, and the butt muscles soften their grip in order for these smaller muscles (adductors...) create the actions of inner spiral. In asymentrical poses the back leg needs more inner spiral.
- Outer Spiral initiates from the tailbone scooping under + the outer hips wrapping back and toward the midline of the body. This involves the strong lateral hip rotators (piriformis, gluteus maximus...). When you engage Outer Spiral, make sure that the action of the butt muscles doesn’t override the alignment action of inner spiral. In fact, your inner thighs will need to work more so they dont collapse from the power of outer spiral. In asymentrical poses the front leg needs more outer spiral
- Organic Energy creates space in the joints by powerfully extending from the focal point toward the periphery (to the ground first and then through the other limbs of the body). When the pelvis is the focal point the pelvic bones and tailbone move down toward the earth, and the lower back and low belly lift up toward the sky. Gluteus medius is one of the key muscles involved in organic energy creating tons of space + stability in the hip.
- Parivrtta Trikonasana and Parivrtta Parsvakonasana: The twisted poses require a lot of strength in the butt muscles to keep the hips squared to the front. The lift of the inner back thigh, and the action of gluteus maximus on that back leg as you move into the twist) will help keep the back hip from dropping. On the front leg side, use your butt muscles to pull the outer hip back and under, and to extend more through the legs.
- Butt massage - Eka pada rajakapotasana 1: good inner spiral needs to be set up in order to stretch the front outer hip muscles to the fullest. Start with a smaller angle in the front leg with the foot pointed this set up will be easier to access the inner spiral of the back leg. After finding that move deeper into the pose bringing the knee in line with the foot. In this variation the front foot will be flexed.
- Setubandha with [block]: with backbends, the legs naturally tend to rotate outward, jamming the thighs forward and, ultimately, compressing the lower back. So instead, get your inner thighs toned and flowing back (using a [block] between your upper inner thighs will help create that awareness), and then activate those butt muscles, extending them out toward your knees without over-riding the power of the inner thighs. This will create tremendous freedom in the lower back.
- Ardha matsyendrasana (and other seated twists): In the front hip (the side to which you are twisting) will tend to lift off the floor if the gluteus medius and the other butt muscles aren’t working. Really tack that hip down to lengthen up and out of the pelvis and take a twist.