Practicing regularly with Desi Springer in 2013 made it the most powerfully transformative year in terms of my health and mind-set in my 40-year yoga studentship. In the first year of Sridaiva, I trimmed off 40 pounds to a tapered 31-inch waistline, remolded the curvature of my myofascia on my entire backside, and put a youthful bounce back in my step! At the beginning of this New Year I have a smile back and a new level of optimism for the future. As a second year, sophomore student of Sridaiva, it is exhilarating to be learning and transforming so much every day in my practice again like I experienced in my early years of yoga. I am eager to share this new method in the New Year to help others worldwide rejuvenate and reform the old patterns of their body-mind as I did this year!
Although I taught Sridaiva classes locally and globally every week this year, it was more of a time of returning to being a student for me. Many of the principles of alignment which I taught and practiced for almost 20 years were uprooted by Desi Springer’s insights into an optimal bow-spring template for the human torso and spine while standing, sitting, walking, lying down, or in any pose or any activity. In 2013 Desi blew my mind with her avant-garde alignment ideas. The evolution of my understanding of optimal posture and an alignment template for the human spine, hips, shoulders, hands and feet is radically different on several key points than it was a year ago!
Here are some of the new alignment ideas of Sridaiva, which Desi and I will be emphasizing in our 2014 classes:
The optimal template of the human torso is a bow-spring.
The bow-spring is a tensegrity structure in which the bones are suspended in a singular sheath of myofascia (muscle and fascia), which is concentrically and uniformly toned on both back and front of the body. Every pose has a dynamic pulsation and bounce within the myofascia in a bow-spring form.
An optimal posture can be created in 3 simple, integrated steps: Establish a heart-centered bow, engage and spring-load the bow, then spring and extend the bow long and strong.
Radiant heart is a circumferential expansion from the center of the ribcage, expressing a positive attitude, which transforms flat upper backs, sloping shoulders, and misaligned necks, and helps give tremendous lightness and power to any pose.
When standing or sitting the pelvis is anteriorily tipped up to 25 degrees until the pubis becomes effectively level with the front of the sitting bones (the inferior ramus between the pubis and the ischial tuberosity is level in this optimal template position.)
The gluteus maximus is engaged upward to the top rim of the pelvis in order to load the spring-bow.
The curve of the lower back is uniformly arched (lordotic) all the way from the base of the sacrum to the T-12 line or the base of the back ribs, which marks the deepest part of the curve of the spine. This T-12 band alignment is a key aspect to creating the bow-spring optimal template in every pose. The top of the waistline is the narrowest part of the human torso, and is bowed in front of the pelvic floor.
The bow-shaped posterior matrix of myofascia has a continuous, distinctive directionality that is integrated via the pads of the toes and the pads of the fingers, united at the T-12 band on the back and the solar plexus band on the front.
The big toes are actively pressing down and away in all poses, and the feet are spring-loaded with little weight on the heels when standing.
In Sridaiva there is no ‘melting of the heart’; no Loops; no “scooping of the tailbone”; no drawing down of the glutes; no taking of the waistline back nor shortening of the abdominals; no lifting of the big toes; and no counter-posing! I performed and taught all of these alignment actions for many years, so this major shift in my understanding of biomechanical alignment has been extraordinarily awe-inspiring and humbling. I have not had such a giant redefinition of my asana practice since I converted from practicing stretchy, quieting yoga styles from 1973 to 1986 when I was introduced to Iyengar Yoga and to a whole new level of muscular precision and dynamic effort in my postural practice.