Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ankle loop and Skull loop

Recently I have been playing with the loops. The “loops” are a series of specific, interconnected trajectories of energy in our bodies. Just like the universal principles of alignment, we want to be practicing all seven loops in every pose we do. By being aware of these interconnected loops in the body we can start to notice how we hold our body while practicing yoga asana or the way we habitually hold our body in life. With this awareness we can use the loops so we my create more health, stability, longevity and freedom in the body. Although it is important to focus on all seven loops, recently I have been focusing on the ankle loop (base of the shin bone back) and skull loop (pallet of the mouth back and up).

Ankle loop is very important because if you don’t have the base of your shin bones anchored back toward your heel, you will be ungrounded and you will mess up the foundation thereby throwing all other loops out of balance. Here is a brief summary of how not having a good ankle loop you will throw off the six other loops above it.

If the base of your shin bone is not back (ankle loop) you will set off a dominoes effect of imbalance all the way up toward you head…The top of your shin bones will probably be pushed back (opposite of shin loop=hyperextension at knee)..The top of the femur bone will be pushed forward (opposite of thigh loop = hurting hip muscles, psoas, iliofemoral ligament and causes low back pain and Sacroiliac joint pain)….The pelvis will rotate forward sticking the belly out (opposite of pelvis loop= removes the low dorsal curve in the back pushing sacrum down and out causing compression in low back)….The bottom ribs will push forward (opposite of kidney loop= compressing the kidneys)…the shoulders round forward as if you were protecting the heart in battle (opposite of shoulder loop= causing lots of shoulder and neck problems)…lastly the pallet of the mouth will move forward (opposite of skull loop= compresses the neck + shoulders forward and chin forward is just plan painful). You can see by just rooting the base of the shin bones back toward the heel you can help create a lovely dominoes effect up the loops.

I have enjoyed focusing on ankle loop and skull loop at the same time because the skull loop is like the cherry on top. Skull loop starts in the upper palate and flows back to the base of the occiput, where it then lifts up the back of the skull, creating lengthen in the neck. Whenever I add a good skull loop to a pose I feel confident and radiant. Adding skull loop also helps maintain shoulder loop, keeping the shoulders integrated behind the heart.

Try this for a moment. Sit up or stand up and look forward as you draw the tips of the shoulders toward the back of the heart, really “plug in”. Notice how this feels in the shoulders and in the heart (shoulders probably feel integrated, heart probably feels open). Now drop you chin toward your chest, this is the opposite of skull loop (I like to do the completely wrong action sometimes so I know what the results feel like). After dropping your chin toward your chest, did you feel the shoulders slightly lose the integration and the heart slightly sinks? Even if you use really good muscular energy when you take your chin toward your chest you will lessen your shoulder loop. Try this now, plug in and then pull the pallet slightly back and up and lift the ears up. Do you feel how the shoulders stay rooted, the heart stays lifted, and maybe you can experience more inner body bright?

I really like focusing on ankle and skull loop together because it reminds me to stay grounded and reminds me to create space confidently. I said this earlier but it is important to practice all seven loops all the time. Even when I am focusing on ankle loop and skull loop doesn’t mean I stop doing shin loop, pelvis loop, kidney loop, and shoulder loop. Here are some fun poses I have been working with: handstand, headstand, forearm balance, side crow, titibasana, trikonanasan, urdhva danurasana, chaturanga, half moon, parvrita Parsvakonasana, Parsvakonasana, arm balances, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, side plank with extended leg….

Hope you have a nice day

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Intention and Testimonials

Testimonials & My Intention

My Intention It is my intention as a yoga teacher to help you bring more health and vibrancy to your body, ease and alertness to your mind...