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Making Your Yoga Poses Sensational

How to improve feelability, or proprioception, within your yoga poses

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Making Your Yoga Poses Sensational

How do you make a pose sensational? By expand your body and making it feel big.

Dancing with Expansiveness

In one of the dance classes I took my instructor told me to be big. Those aren't his exact words (he was speaking Mandarin) but the meaning was to be big.

I've seen practicing dancers who move very well, but their ribcage sits on top of their pelvis like a sack of poo. The legs move beautifully and the arms are (surprisingly) held well, but the ribcage is collapsed. (I should clarify, this is social dancing, partner dances like waltz, tango etc).

Expansion creates tension

Expanding the body creates tension. You could think of it as taking out the slack.

Now tension could be thought of as a bad thing. We tend to associate tension with muscles that cause pain. I'd call that "pain from a muscle that is being improperly used". In a positive sense tension is what causes your body to move. It's also how we can sense our body. And we can use muscles in such a way that we expand our body in space. The combination of muscle activation and bones moving away from each other stretches the connective tissue between bones. It gives it tension and that tension is how we feel our body. It's how we know where it is in space.

That same tension also makes our body responsive. What do I mean?

Tug 'O War

In tug 'o war the first thing each team does before actually tugging is to take out the slack. Each team backs up away from each other and then adjusts so that the rope is centered. Then the referee blows the whistle to begin. Because the rope has tension in it any extra pull from one team is transmitted to the other team immediately.

The tension in the rope quite obviously tells each teach what the other team is doing, i.e. how much more or less force that team is exerting. And it's obvious to anyone watching too.

Tension creates information and it also creates the potential or actuality of movement.

If we make our body big, if we "take out the slack" we not only give our bodies feelability (which we can sense and which others can see) we also make it more responsive.

To make a pose sensational we don't necessarily have to make the pose big. Sometimes all we need to do is add tension in the right place by activating particular muscles.

Published: 2018 04 03

Neil Keleher

Hi, I'm Neil Keleher

I have a bachelor's degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

I've taught yoga for over 20 years with a focus on force perception and using it to improve body awareness, stability, strength and flexibility.

My main interest is in basic principles that can be applied in any endeavor to make learning and doing easier and to make problem solving easier.

You can find more by me on my other website zeroparallax

Clearly defined poses, exercises and stretches for improving stability, body awareness and flexibility.

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Related: Basic Principles For Yoga Poses

Adding Bigness to Your Yoga Poses

Create Stability In Yoga Poses

Grounding Your Yoga Pose

Yoga Pose Brush Strokes

More Basic Principles For Yoga Poses articles

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