Learning about Loops

I’m home on my day off.  Caught a cold.  I look like Rudolph, with my red nose.  So instead of thinking about being sick, I’m reminiscing about Sunday afternoon yoga teacher training as I rest in bed.

Dianne had just returned from a two day workshop with Desiree Rumbaugh.  “Des” is a senior Anusara yoga teacher who does workshops all over the world.  Dianne was inspired by Desiree’s teachings and eager to try out some of the things she had learned.

We were focusing on Loops, which is a way to engage and align muscles so that the joints are less likely to lock or collapse.  There are seven loops that pass through joints and focal points (three central spots in the body).  It’s a really different and technical way of thinking about yoga.  The principles of loops and focal points (oh, and did I mention something called a spiral?) can be applied to each pose so that the body is less likely to injure itself and allows one to open up fully into the asana.

It’s a challenge for me to understand the part of the pelvic loop, where I’m asked to lengthen and extend the back of my pelvis before tucking my tailbone.  The tip from the Desiree workshop was to start from T12 (that’s on the back, midway down the spine) and imagine extending a line of energy all the way down before scooping the tailbone under.  Not sure that I can feel that in my body yet, but I can close my eyes and picture the idea a little better with that description.  I’m working on it.

We got into groups of three to form a mini yoga lab, where we could experiment with the Loops in standing poses.  It was really fun to work with my two classmates, guiding and being guided, into Tadasana, Warrior 2 and Trikonasana.  I was fascinated to watch how a verbal cue could correct a hyperextended knee or open up a shoulder.

Balancing the effort of using our muscles but surrendering just enough to relax into the pose was how we would know we were doing it properly, Dianne said.  I like the concept of effort and surrender.  I think practicing this in my yoga helps me when I need to remember how to balance my actions in everyday life.