Annie Carpenter Contributes to Yoga Journal Column “Basics”

In the November 2011 issue of Yoga JournalEgg Signateur Annie Carpenter was a contributing writer for the column Basics, which is the first of a year-long series for the magazine.  She sets the foundation for her series by discussing the yogic principle satya, introducing it by discussing how the grounding alignment of Mountain Pose (Tadasana) sets up a successful, balanced Tree Pose (Vrksasana).

“Satya teaches yogis to think, speak, and act in alignment with what is true….  Tree Pose,” Annie tells us, “offers an opportunity to practice this principle by aligning your spine in a way that aligns the truth of your body.”  While Mountain Pose is comparatively easy (standing on two legs) it is the absence of one grounded leg as you move into Tree Pose that challenges your alignment and reveals your hips’ true flexibility.  If you immediately attempt to mimic your teacher and point your knee straight to the side, your hips may not be as naturally open, causing you to over-arch your lower back and fall out of alignment.

Annie tells us that it is helpful to imagine that your body is centered on an invisible plumb line, running from the crown of your body through the middle of your torso and pelvis.  To keep your balance on one leg, you must “strengthen the trunk of the tree — your core — and firm your standing leg by hugging the muscles of your inner thigh in toward the mid-line.” Imagine your standing leg as though it were the “roots of your tree, and your stable pelvis carrying energy from your roots up into the spine and torso, creating a strong trunk… [as] your arms reach up and out like branches expanding into the sky.”

Annie then moves into a series of three modified poses that will help to prepare you to ultimately master Tree Pose.  The reclining variation of Tree Pose, Supta Vrksasana, gives you proper insight into how open your hips really are by using the support of the floor.  She then walks us through using hte support of a wall, and wraps up with an explanation into how to properly find your alignment and balance in full Tree Pose.

Annie reminds us that no matter how beginner or advanced our practice may be, we must always keep a strong connection to our center.

Using a Three Minute Egg® between the thighs in Mountain Pose is beneficial for two reasons.  First, depending on how and where you orient the Egg it can help maintain the legs hip distance apart.  Second, it offers a visual and tactile experience of rotating the inner thighs back, or what Anusara® yogis refer to as ‘finding your inner spiral.’

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