Improvisation on Yoga Synergy’s Nerve Tensioning Exercise

This is an improvisation on Yoga Synergy’s Nerve Tensioning Exercise. Nerve Tensioning is a set of five positions that aims to tension the brachial nervous plexus. These positions are primarily done by internally or externally rotating the shoulders and wrists. Since shoulder movement creates associate movement in the spine, it is possible to “reverse the engineering” as Simon Borg-Olivier calls it and initiate the movement from the core thus appear in a series of forward and backward bendings, the shoulder and arm movement, in turn, becomes “associated”. The original five positions become less visible and are replaced by a figure “8” described by the arms.

Yoga Synergy Spinal Movement

This is Yoga Synergy’s trademark exercise: Spinal Movement, as taught by Simon Borg-Olivier in 2018. Spinal movement is the foundation for Yoga Synergy style of practice. It consists of seven movements that mobilize the spine in seven directions: lengthening, flexing, extending, lateral extending right and left sides, axial rotation to the right and left sides.

It is interesting to point out that these movements rarely happen in our daily life because most of our “spinal movement” is combined with shoulders or(and) hips through associated movement, or a combined spinal movement involving more than one direction at a time (ie. flexion with lateral extension, axial rotation with extension etc). More information about the benefit of spinal movement can be found in my earlier post: “Why Spinal Movement?”

Pranayama – The Science of Yogic Breathing

Literally, pranayama means the “expansion of life force”. 
In practice, pranayama is a bridge between physical and mental, outer and inner, visible and invisible, unconscious and conscious. A complicated and precise practice, Pranayama should be learned from a teacher rather than from a book.

At Anvaya Yoga, the study of pranayama begins with the awareness of one’s own breath and the restoring of one’s natural breathing.

There are two types of breathing exercises: ones that result in hypoventilation (breathe less than normal) and ones that result in hyperventilation (breathe more than normal).

Strictly speaking, only when a breathing exercise results in hypoventilation can it be called pranayama, and this type of breathing exercises are characterized by prolonged inhalation or/and exhalation and in particular, breath retention, done after inhalation or/and exhalation.

Physiologically, hypoventilation increases carbon dioxide in the body, results in dilation of bronchi tubes and causes hemoglobin to release its oxygen via Bohr effect; it increases oxygenation in heart, brain, and cells, an important factor that contributes to good health.

Furthermore, hypoventilation results in a body more acidic due to the presence of increased CO2 in the form of carbonic acid. This decreased PH then triggers body’s attempt to rebalance itself with more alkalinity, characterized by the decrease of appetite or a natural craving for alkaline food such as fruits and vegetables rather than acidic forming food such as high protein and processed food.

Hypoventilation also calms the nervous system by triggering parasympathetic nervous system, which also improves digestive, reproductive functions as well as immune system. The calming effect of hypoventilation can be observed in the yogic state of meditation.

The best time to practice pranayama is in the morning before breakfast and preferably after the bowel movement.