I heard something in a yoga class, with Kim Weeks yesterday that I hadn’t heard before… As I was in class tonight, with Marie Belle, it was hard because MB has lots of great cues, but I found myself thinking… “can I tuck the xp here?, what happens when I tuck it there?, how have I never done this before?”
Let me interupt myself to say something about those two teachers I just mentioned, one is famous, one is going to be. Kim has been voted best teacher in DC for two years. Why I only took a class from her this weekend is beyond me, but at least I’ve started. She taught me quite a bit in 2 hours, especially this XP thing we’re going to talk about.
Dr. Marie Belle… I could fill a blog explaining how when I call her incredibly gifted, in terms of practice, intellect, communication ability, presence in the class room… it is an understatement. She’s off all the charts. But I’m not sure you’d really get it. If you are in DC, take a class from her. If you aren’t, don’t worry, she’ll be famous soon, I’m calling it. Since I’m not going to explain how good she is, I’ll leave you with her FB profile shot… this picture is incredible. (Someone send this to YJ!)
Back to the XP… How many times have you heard it? “Tuck the tail bone.” It is generally heard in the vicinity of “pull the tummy up and in” or “draw the pubic bone up” (which often results in confused newbies!) But these are all after the same thing, shortening the front body; containing the energy, expanding through the back body. All good things which improve the integrity of a variety of poses from Mountain to Wheel.
It matters because many Yogis walk around with hyperflexible lumbar joints… In English: Yogis can crank their lower back way open, some of them seem like they have a hinge joint where the rest of us have a spine. And while this is good for photoshoots and contortionists, it may not mean they are using their front body which means less integrity, less solidity, less connection.
If you are willing to believe that shortening the front body is useful, keep reading. If you need convincing, this isn’t the blog for you, I’m just trying to share a good cue.
Tailbonetucking, pubicbonepulling, tummyinsucking, is all well and good, but it only addresses the bottom of the core. Especially for those of us who have cultivated open lower backs. What about the top? Again the anatomy-inspired teachers come up with something like “Broaden your back, pulling your ribs up and in, lengthening your back body…” And I’m confused. After years of A-inspried classes, I’m still not sure I know how to move a rib.
I need one point, on my body that I can touch, that will help me move all those other things I’m not sure I know how to move. I need the Xiphoid Process.
Try it. Pick a pose. Heck, sit at your desk reading this. Tuck, pull, etc. Pretty good. Now, take your Xiphoid Process and, on the exhale for good measure, pull it into the body. Put a finger on it, to be sure, it is the little bit sticking out at the bottom of sternum, between the ribs. When I do that with the TuckPullEtc. My whole back opens up.
Even better, when I do it backbends, yes, backbends, I feel all sorts of wonderful stretches. Let me know if this was helpful. What are your favorite cues?