Friday, September 22, 2006

Internal Rotation of the Spotless Mind

Yesterday, what I said was: "fingers touching", not "bound"....but if that means "bound" to you in your generous spirits, then so be it...thank you ever so much for your props!

Also regarding yesterday's post, I received a couple of questions via email about "internal rotation". I take it for granted that everyone knows what I am talking about when I make reference to things like "inwardly spiralling" and "externally rotated". But perhaps these are words that are heard only in "Vinyasa" classes, particularly those that pay attention to "Iyengar"-style alignment. This was my training at Om Yoga. So, it's just part of my vernacular. Thinking back, if five years ago, some teacher told me to internally rotate my thigh, I would have more than likely either scoffed at her or ignored her. But "internal rotation" of the arms is so so so so important in binding that I think it deserves some attention here.

If you want to understand what "internal rotation" of your arm is, then reach your right arm out in front of you, parallel to the floor, palm facing down. Now pretend there is a doorknob in front of you. Reach for the pretend doorknob. Finally, turn that doorknob COUNTERCLOCKWISE. Voila: internal rotation of the right arm in the shoulder socket (the arm attaches to the torso in a ball-socket fashion, so perhaps if you visualize the incredible range of motion that permits, that will help you as well).

With your left arm, reach for the doorknob, but turn it CLOCKWISE. Voila, again internal rotation.

Take it a step further. Try Marichiasana A. Sit with your left leg in Dandasana and your right knee bent, your right foot as close to your right hip as possible, with a hands'-width of space between your right foot and your left leg. Support yourself with your left hand on the floor as you REEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAACH out with your right hand towards an imaginary doorknob that is just above your right foot. Inhale as you do this. As you exhale, ROTATE THAT DOORKNOB COUNTERCLOCKWISE and THEN sweep your right arm back so that you right armpit makes contact with your right shin. Keep sweeping that right arm in an arc, so that you end up with your right wrist resting against your back. Take your left arm, turn the doorknob CLOCKWISE and arc the left arm back so that your hand (or fingers) land against your back in such a way that there is an overlapping of the waiting open right palm.

I did an experiment today to test the benefits of a really good internal rotation of the arm as I was waiting in line at Best Buy to make some final tweaks on my laptop before finally giving up and saying, "that's all there is." I arc-ed my right arm back behind me without first internally rotating it. I noted where it locked up (i.e., at what point, it allowed me no further reach). Then I did the same thing, but first "turning the doorknob". Guess what? My arm did not lock up until my hand was much significantly further across my back - like, enough to easily bind in Ardha Badha.

Hope that helps anyone who was wondering what the hell I was talking about.

Oh, and just a quick note about Grey's Anatomy: Booooooooooooooooooooo. Pure drivel. I can't believe I even bothered. It's a freakin' Harlequin Romance. No depth, no reality check, just a fairy-tale where the prince and princess are wearing scrubs.


1 comment:

Sue said...

That's a great description of internal rotation of the arms.

I always thought of it as reaching around your back with the aim of putting the back of your hand (not your palm) on your back.

If you try putting your hand on your back, first with your palm on your back, then with the back of your hand on your back, you'll see the latter is more comfortable and if it's more comfortable, you can probably reach further that way.

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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