Empowered by Knowledge

Learning to Fly with Tangled Wings believes in the power of knowledge & hopes to empower the reader with anatomical knowledge to prevent & mitigate possible injuries. When we are discussing the major anatomical compositions of any energetic center, let’s remind ourselves that while we may refer to individual muscle groups & functions, the whole of our physical bodies are intrinsically connected by sheaths upon sheaths of fascia that allow the body to function as one unit rather than separate & isolated components. I have given summaries of major anatomical components as they relate to our practice, but as we know, yoga & rope incorporates tissues throughout the body, not just those at the area we are targeting. What I have provided is by no means a list of our entire anatomical composition. Rather, I hope to provide a baseline understanding of our physical bodies as we approach different movements, poses, & postures in our yoga & ropes practice. 

An experience

In both practices & simultaneously, we, as humans connecting in a moment of experience, strive to understand, support, respect, & honor each other.

Rope Yoga "Bottoming"

As bottoms, we echo the postures previously examined in our yoga asana practice as we echo & deepen the forms in our rope groundwork practice. As we dance with our tying partner in any given scene, the breath becomes of crucial importance. 

As rope bottoms, capitalizing on the expansion of the body on the inhale of the breath & the natural deflation of the body on the exhale of the breath, we not only find fluidity in our practice but are more readily open to receiving the many gifts & pleasures of subspace (a meditative state in which pain & pleasure continue to fuel & nurture each other). 

As bottoms, by incorporating anatomical knowledge & understanding into our practice, we are better able to understand the integration of our bodies by first differentiating their various “parts”. In expressing & communicating this Svadhyaya, or self-knowledge, to our rope tops, we create a more informed, safe, & enjoyable experience for both parties.

Rope Yoga "Topping"

As tops, we study the forms & patterns of the rope ties as we strive to develop fluency through consistency in our technique. This fluidity, as developed through dedicated practice, not only invites a sense of top space (a meditative state of deep concentration) but also spurs a trusted sense of spontaneous creativity based on foundational knowledge of our skills. 

In developing a working knowledge of the anatomical body, we invite a sense of confidence in our skills & abilities. We become comfortable with scene considerations such as where to place the tie, how tight the rope should be, optimal placement on our bottom, how to guide, direct, & communicate with our bottom(s), & thresholds for comfort or discomfort.

This mastery of rope creates a two-way allegiance of trust between ourselves & our bottom(s) as we are better able to facilitate a present, safe, & attentive experience for both ourselves & rope bottom.

Anatomy by movement

Anatomy by
muscle group

Deltoids

The deltoids wrap around the top of the shoulder from front to back & span the clavicle, the acromion, & lateral half of the scapula.

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Pectoralis

The pectoralis is a large, broad muscle located at the front of the chest. It runs from the clavicle to the sternum & onto the

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Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is comprised of the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, & teres minor. All of these attach into to a common tendon that impersonates a

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Biceps & Triceps

The triceps brachii is a muscle located along the back of the humerus (upper arm bone) that is responsible for extension of the forearm. It

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Shoulder Joint

The humerus, scapula, & clavicle together makeup the shoulder girdle. The clavicle attaches to the sternum in the front body via a small disc of

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Abdominals

The abdominals form the front & sides of the trunks of our bodies & help to support & stabilize the spine. They are comprised of

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Spine

Curves of the Spine The curves of the spine add immense strength to this columnar structure. These can be divided into primary (thoracic & sacral)

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Psoas

The psoas, also referred to as the “muscle of the soul”, is the most significant structural & postural muscle in the body. It effects posture,

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Pelvis

The pelvis is comprised of three bones – the ilium, the ischium, & the pubic bone. The ilium is the large flat bone along the

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Adductors

The adductors are located along the inner thigh & serve to adduct (draw the leg toward the medial line), flex the hip, & medially rotate.

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Knee

The femur, tibia & patella come together at the knee, also known as the femoro-tibial joint. It’s important to keep the alignment in the upper

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Foreleg

The movements of the foot & ankle are directed by muscles in the foot & foreleg. The ankle is capable of extension (plantarflexion where the

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Arches of the Feet

Thanks to connective tissue, our bodies are intrinsically interconnected. The foot is the foundation for our lower kinetic chain, that is, the hip-knee-foot chain. This

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Connective Tissue

In our yin yoga & ropes practices, we hold poses for a longer amount of time. This targets our deepest connective tissues of bone, cartilage,

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Practicing
risk awareness

Learning to Fly with Tangled Wings is committed to safety. Rope can be dangerous & may cause injuries. It is beyond the scope of this site to discuss all the possible risks & injuries associated with rope, yoga, & breath practice. By reading this site, you absolve Learning to Fly with Tangled Wings & all contributors of any & all liability should you sustain an injury. Use what you find here at your own risk. Always use caution when practicing the rope or breathing exercises listed on this site & do not what try what you see in the photos without proper training. It is up to the practitioner to evaluate the safety of their practice. I am not a medical or fitness professional. Rather, I am a rope switch on my journey, just like you. 

Practicing Risk Awareness

Sensory & Motor Nerves

Skin is the human body’s largest organ. On average, adults have about 20 square feet of it. Our skin contains sensory nerves, while the tissues underneath contain motor nerves. Nerves are similar to long, slender wires that facilitate an information exchange between the body & mind. 

Sensory nerves communicate information to our brain from stimuli (such as the temperature of a surface we touch). Anatomically, our body uses various receptors to process & permit sensations of touch, heat, pain & pleasure. 

  • Mechanoreceptors process touch, pressure, & vibration.
  • C-Tactile (CT) fibers are the body’s pleasure receptors.
  • Nociceptors are sensory nerve cells that process pain.
  • Thermoreceptors process temperature.
 

Motor nerves facilitate movement by communicating information from our brain to our muscles to either tense or relax. The rate of communication between the two is so rapid that our interpretation of the energy is often experienced as reflexive.

Damaging the sensory or motor nerves via compressive or shearing force can have impacts that lasts from hours to days, weeks, or even years. Compressive force may occur when the rope is too tight for too long, thus interrupting the blood supply from the very small blood vessels that run the length of the large nerves. By interrupting the blood supply, we also interrupt the oxygen flow to that nerve. Shearing force is especially important to note as it relates to our suspension practice, as these injuries tend to happen when the rope moves across a limb that is already being compressed, such as during a transition. 

We discuss the major nerves in our body to be aware of in our rope bondage practice with the hope of empowering rope tops & bottoms with the information to better communicate their individualized tie & time thresholds for their specific bodies & practices. Treatment for nerve damage is beyond the scope of this site. Just as we each differ in our own unique body compositions, so too do the placement of our nerves. To better envision approximate placement of the nerves, we recommend you go to the Zygote Body website as they do a wonderful job of illustrating the anatomical human form. As always, we encourage you to do your own research & listen to your body, as you know it best. 

The perception of pain

Nociception

Nociception, or our perception of pain & associated thresholds, vary both by individual & practice. Though, if we examine pain through the lens of our ego & intelligent minds & coordinate those perspectives with the feedback time of the associated pleasure & pain of our decisions, we see patterns start to emerge.