I attended a series of workshops with one of my all time favorite teachers, Desiree Rumbaugh recently.  She taught with a focus on drawing the front ribs in, then scooping the tailbone.  This has really improved my practice.  For the other former Anusara folks out there, it reminded me a lot of engaging kidney loop and then using that power to really engage pelvic loop, scooping tailbone.

I have always had a tenuous relationship with my tailbone.  I think I’m scooping my tailbone but in reality it’s weak.  What I was missing was the connection of drawing my ribs in first, before scooping my tailbone.  This way there is so much more power in the scoop.  I’m sure in one of the very many classes I’ve taken, others have told me to do this, but somehow the way Desiree explained and taught it, it stuck this time.  I really had convinced myself that my ribcage just jutted forward more than others’ did; even when I’ve gained some weight (I’m always at a moderate weight), one can often easily see my ribs poking out a bit.  I’ve always found backbends to come more naturally and easily than forward bends; I am still significantly better at backbending than in forward folding, though I spend much more time practice forward folds.

Bingo!  It’s all related.  Drawing my front ribs back then scooping my tailbone created a much safer feeling to my forward folds, and frankly it was easier and allowed me to go deeper than usual, without the scary feeling that most of the stretch was in my hamstring attachments.

Guess what else?  My inversions feel more balanced and steady, and I can balance away from the wall longer in pincha and handstand too.

Give it a shot: from a neutral pose like tadasana, play around with allowing your ribs to poke out and your bum to extend behind you a lot (thighs back in the old lingo) and then take it the other direction — draw your ribs in so much you feel you look like a hunchback, and then scoop your tailbone as much as you can.  Then, take a simple forward fold such as parsvottanasana, and as you fold forward, do a few iterations of ribs in, tailbone scoop as you go.  See what you think!

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