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Describing Movement

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Myofascial Spiral Line (as described by Tom Myers)

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We can continue to follow from the feet through a network of support that wraps round the whole of the body. The spiral line is deeply interconnected and interrelated with each of the myofascial meridians and is designed to steady the legs and trunk and counterbalance any rotational action. It connects the foot arch, through the pelvic angle to maintain balance in all planes of movement. Counterbalancing at the hip and core level is often interrelated with the deep hip flexors and the psoasic matrix.

Because the continuity at the pelvis is mechanical, the two portions are capable of functioning separately or collectively. The spiral lines often reflect deeper spinal twists, as well as postural and rotational twists created through usage and dominance patterns such as handedness. 

A spiral, significantly, is different from arotation as it inherently contains an element of extension along its axis.

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Neutral Core

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Deep Core/Deep Front Line

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The deep front line as described by Tom Myers, creates our axial core. It is the deepest structure and is tasked with maintaining our core stability and alignment. It is within our deep core line that we find the physiology of our bandhas; it is the lift through the inner lines of the legs, the engagement in the pelvic floor and the diaphragm, and the space right up through the crown of the skull and the bindu.

Further, this line shows us the functional mechanisms by which our breath and diaphragm provide an integral part of our core stability. This core connection isthen continued through the wider fascial matrix in the transverse abdominus muscle. In this way, we can understand bandha both as an energetic practice, but also, as a traditional system for describing neutral core engagement.

This line more than any other is constructed of slow twitch fibres, made for endurance and subtlety. Although it is rare that this line initiates or controls movement, it is intermingled with all movement

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In yoga, the core is stabilised through activation of the tri-bandha (three locks) namely mula bandha located at muladara chakra, uddhiyana bandha located at manipura chakra and jalandara bandha located at vishudda chakra. Each bandha is first experienced as a physical sensation, but ultimately becomes softer and energetically rooted as our practice reaches deeper into the Koshas.

When mula bandha is engaged we begin the process of awakening the dormant energy of Shakti kundalini to rise through the sushumna nadi. Mula bandha is the activation of the pubo-coccygeal muscle, or perineum. 

“By contracting the perineum the downward moving apana vayu is forced to go upward. Yogis call this mula bandha. Press the heel firmly against the rectum and contract forcefully and repeatedly, so that the vital energy rises. There is no doubt that by practicing mula bandha, prana and apana, and nada and bindu, are united, and total perfection is attained. Through this, the sleeping kundalini is aroused by the extreme heat and it straightens itself just as a serpent beaten with a stick straightens and hisses.”

 

Uddhiyana bandha and uddhiyana kriya work on the stomach and solar plexus region. Uddhiyana bandha refers anatomically to the engagement of the lower fibres of the transverse abdominus and is felt lower than the level of the navel (as the practice moves towards greater energetics it can be felt just above the public bone). Uddhiyana bandha encourages Shakti Kundalini to rise through the higher chakras of the heart and throat. 

Uddhiyana kriya is a preparatory stage for nauli kriya and other abdominal work. By itself the contraction and relaxation of the belly and diaphragm clears stagnant circulation, and helps to tone and strengthen the abdominal organs and the digestive system. Uddhiyana kriya involves drawing the diaphragm up into the chest cavity at the end of a complete exhalation. 

In both techniques, it is important to engage mula bandha and maintain natural length in the spinal column so that the sensation in the diaphragm is created by the movement itself and not by a flaring of the rib cage.

“Uddiyana is so called by the Yogis because by its practice the Prana, flies up the Sushumna. Uddiyana is so called this because Prana, the great bird tied to it, flies upward without getting fatigued. Of all the Bandhas, Uddiyana is the best, for by its activation liberation comes spontaneously” 

 

Jalandhara bandha is used primarily in pranayama practice to control the energy in the neck and connect the head to the heart whilst helping to regulate thyroid and metabolic activity. 

“Engaging Jalandhara Bandha destroys old age and death. Jalandhara bandha closes the opening of the group of Nadis, through which Amrita, the nectar that is housed in the Soma of the brain, falls down. In Jalandhara Bandha, a perfect contraction of the throat will ensure that the nectar does not fall into the fire (the Surya situated in the navel)”

 

Maha Bandha or “The Great Lock” describes the sequential, and simultaneous engagement of the bandhas.

“This Maha Bandha is the most skillful means for keeping at bay the snares of death” 

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Nauli Kriya

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Nauli kriya is the isolation, contraction and then rolling engagement and disengagement of the rectus abdominus muscles. 

It is composed of three stages:

Madhyama nauli: where both the rectus abdominus muscles are contracted centrally. (L)

Vama nauli: where only the left rectus abdominus muscle is contracted. (C)

Dakshina nauli: where only the right rectus abdominus muscle is contracted. (R)

Once all three are mastered you can begin to work on rotating the muscles, first moving anticlockwise (from left to right), and then clockwise (from right to left). This kriya is best practiced on an empty stomach…and must always conclude moving from right to left to encourage proper function of the gut.

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Hollow Body

 

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Navasana

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Elbow to Knee

 

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Shalambasana

 

 
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Wrapping the Shoulders

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