Create SpaceApr 29, 2021
Lower back compression is a common occurrence in back bending postures. This can be one sided back bends such as front splits, or warrior one, as well as two sided back bends like camel or wheel.
Pain in the back in back bends arises from joints or tissues running out of space to move before the posture is complete. This does not mean the full posture as seen in books, this is the full posture that is possible for a given body.
For us as human beings we have a distinctly different body to that of a machine. The main difference in this instance is that joints are usually not a tight fit and allow for some 'play' - a looseness that permits slight changes in angles.
When we create a back bend that predominantly aims at bending back, the space along the back of the body quickly shortens. During this shortening the space in the joint is closed, no play to adapt. This is where we are approaching the 'ouch!' moment.
Now remember the last time you heard the instruction to 'stand tall', to 'reach out from somewhere' or to widen, broaden, or something similar. As human beings we have the biomechanical ability to engage our muscles to create space along our body. This space is not from lengthening bones, but from creating space in and along the joint areas. We are able to actively create more joint play.
The success and comfort of a full pose lies more in having enough space to move in, than in stretching muscles. The thought needs to be to find the engagements rather than stretch. Muscular engagements to keep the joint space open allows us to access the mobility that joint provides.
In simple terms: no space no movement. And: less compression - more mobility.
Creating active muscle engagements along the legs and around the inner and outer core enables us to keep the sacroiliac joint more open and to modulate the angles at the joints of the lumbar spine.
Maintaining some joint play allows you to be mobile and more playful in your practice, while muscle engagements in general contribute to joint stability.
Are you experiencing compression in your back bends? Maybe it's time to change the approach. Take the yoga anatomy course to develop a sustainable fascia based practice that keeps your joints happy now and for many years to come.
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