The PranaVayu Core system of alignment has been created to help you learn effective alignment techniques as quickly and as painlessly as possible. I’ve derived the system from simple mechanical principles that are commonly used to create balance and equilibrium in objects as diverse as the Sears tower and the leaning tower of Pisa. Since both animate and inanimate objects are affected by gravity in similar ways, the rules that apply to buildings and bridges can be applied to and benefit the human body as well.
By using these principles to determine which alignment cues are the most effective, I have been able to substantially reduce the total number of alignment fundamentals that you will need to learn in order to keep your body safe while you practice. This is eminently practical! Rather than asking you to memorize hundreds of different random alignment instructions, I’ll keep it short and sweet by teaching you what’s really important. This will include:
1) Nine locations of your skeleton that can be used to quickly position your postures (hereafter referred to as “lines of energy”).
2) The ways in which these lines of energy can be used to position any yoga pose that you will ever encounter in a yoga class.
This system is super efficient and crazy effective. Many of the pointers that you’ll be learning will instantaneously increase your overall endurance and range of motion. When combined with our scientific approach to postural practices, you’ll have all the tools you’ll ever need to one day bend like a spaghetti noodle.
The system is based on one very simple foundation:
1) Using the skeleton to support body weight frees tension from the muscles and allows the muscles to more efficiently move the bones.
The primary purpose of the human skeleton is to support our body’s weight, while the primary purpose of our muscles is to move our bones. When we adopt poor postural patterns that force our musculature to support our weight, we experience tight shoulders, lower back discomfort and areas of chronic tension. By using our muscles to move our bones into positions where our bones can adequately support our body weight, we immediately experience improvements in overall strength and flexibility as tension is released from the muscles.
To experience how using your muscles to hold a pose makes the posture more difficult, try the following exercise:
Extend your arms outward to the sides just as you do in warrior II. Stretch outward through your fingertips as hard as you can for thirty seconds. Notice how much muscular energy this requires.
Next, check out how using your skeleton to support your weight can reduce the overall effort necessary to hold the pose:
Extend your arms as you did before. Imagine that your arms were like dresser drawers. Keeping your arms straight, gently slide your arm-bones deeper into your body. As you do this, imagine that your shoulder-blades were like heavy rocks dropping to the bottom of a pond. Let your shoulders slide down away from your ears, and stretch gently outward through your fingertips. Soften all of the muscles around the bones and let your skeleton hold the pose. Notice how much less effort is required to keep your arms aloft.
Join us next week as we hop straight away into the wonders of the central axis…