Applying Universal Principles of Alignment from Anusara Yoga can be helpful when determining what muscles to use and how to apply core strength. This allows the body to experience a pose in a deeper way. There are some principles of alignment that apply to every pose. Applying these principles allows for achieving a balance, as each action is counteracted.
The first universal principle is openness to grace. It requires a belief that humans are spiritual beings. Everything is created from the same energy, and it shares a unique bond that is larger than ourselves. Feeling connected is the first place to begin.
Muscular energy is a drawing of energy from the periphery of the body into the focal point, located at the core, heart, or face depending on the pose. It increases strength and stability. Organic energy is the opposing force, that extends from the focal point though the body to increase flexibility and expansion.
The inner and outer spirals are the next principles of alignment. Inner spirals run from the feet through the waistline and rotate the legs inward, thighs backward, and widens the hips. Outer spirals run from the waist downwards to the legs and feet. It rotates the legs outward, thigh forward, and draws the hips together.
The focal point has three possible locations, depending on varying poses. It's a localized spot within the body that muscular energy draws into while organic energy extends from it. In any given pose, only one possible focal point is active. It is the most weight-bearing part of the pose. When all three possibilities are equally weight-bearing, the bottom focal point becomes the most active.
To experience muscular energy, or contracting energy, simply lift the toes while pressing all corners of the feet on the floor and drawing the kneecaps and thighs upward while moving back the thighs. To produce an inner spiral, place a block between the thighs and rotate the thighs back until the block moves.
There are also energy loops located throughout the body initiated by muscular and organic energy. The art is the bring these principles into alignment during every pose. It guarantees a safe and enjoyable yoga practice.