Hi my friends,
let’s take a look at a practical application for yoga poses.
When we’re honest, many yoga poses are positions we’re not really encountering in our daily life.
But when we pay attention, we can notice how some postures, especially transitions or elements of the pose are great preparations for improving daily tasks.
The example I want to look at with you today is chair pose, or utkatasana.
Here we lower our bodyweight into bent knees and hips. It is in the coming up phase, where we straighten knee and hip again, that we see the similarity to walking upstairs.
While some teachers like to emphasize what’s happening in the spine, in this video I like to point out a few actions in the lower body.
Chair pose can strengthen the lower front of thigh muscles. When we keep out feet and knees a little apart, rather than leaning the knees against each other, we also ask the inner and outer aspects of the front of thigh muscle, the quadriceps to chip into the...
What do do about clunks in loose joints
Recently a few people have asked me about clunks and instability in their joints.
The people described themselves as hypermobile.
Joints can crack and ‘clunk’ for a number of reasons. This video examines these clunks in more mobile people.
Anatomically, extra mobility comes from extra space in the joint. This greater space permits more mobility before the bones get to a position of compression - pressing against each other to limit further movement.
The space, or distance between individual bones is held by fascial components. Ligaments and the joint capsule are considered part of the fascia system.
Extra mobility in a joint stems from either more space or greater mobility in the fascia itself. This mobility can be the result of less tone on the tissues. This is sometimes called ligament laxaty.
If you find yourself to be someone with more mobile joints, this doesn’t mean you have a problem with your joints.
The solution or help...
You might be wondering what skipping rope has to do with yoga.
Well, it doesn't and it does.
On the one hand it's quite obvious we do not do skipping and hopping movements, especially not repeatedly, in yoga practice.
On the other hand, you can also see from skipping rope, or in fact, any kind of jumping around, that this doesn't happen without the engagement of our muscles. So when we practice, particularly active postures, flows, vinyasa and similar practices, we do need to engage our muscles.
Skipping rope teaches us to engage muscles to support dynamic movements.
If you want to learn more about how to engage your muscles in yoga practice, and how to practice safely, take a look at the AnatomyShow online courses.
Learn with the courses how to engage and work with your fascia, how to have strong feet and ankles, how to protect your knees from hyperextension, how to keep your spine safe and how to have strong shoulders for inversion practices.
Make use of the current 20% off sale...
This video introduces major differences in structure and support for the shoulder joint compared to the hip joint.
Superficially, this comparison elicits more laughter than serious considerations.
Those of us who have tried, can readily say standing on our hands is more difficult than standing on our feet.
The experience of having spend many years already standing on our feet certainly plays a part in making the foot stand easier.
An other important detail is the size and depth of the hip socket or hip joint. It presents on the one hand a much greater range of support around the top end of the thigh bone, and on the other hand this joint is also firmly build into the pelvis, a major structure of support for the body.
The muscles around the hip joint are large and strong with many years of relative fine-0tuning and strengthening experience.
By contrast, the shoulder joint lacks much of the structural support. The socket is a mere dented small flat area, less than half the size of the end...
The knee is NOT a hinge. It can twist and slide.
The shin bone / tibia ends rather flat, while the thigh bone / femur meets this flat top with two convex round bony ends. There is no connection or stability inherent in the joint or skeletal structure of the knee. All restrictions to this joint, making it appear to some as a hinge, are the result of soft tissue structures.
Depending on the density and strength of each person's soft tissue the knee joint might present with more or less of this passive support.
Real knee support requires active engagement of muscles. The resulting forces have a strengthening and supportive effect on the knee joint.
However, because of the open structure of the bony parts of the knee joint, movements in all directions are possible. Trying to support the knee only linearly, as if it was a hinge, leaves it vulnerable to strain in all the other directions.
One of the muscles that can provide an aspect of knee stability is the quadriceps, or...
Anyone who has experimented with rolling the sole of the foot knows the results.
The foot feels more loose and forward bends are less restricted.
The reason for this miraculous trick is often assumed to be lengthening of the fascia tissues under the foot. Namely the Plantar Fascia.
However, this piece of fascia is generally so strong, it won’t respond to rolling with lengthening.
Still we feel and can experience rolling the sole of the foot creates length.
What is going on?
More than creating length, we are aiming for mobility.
The ability of the layers of fascia membranes to glide over one another will provide more mobility than lengthening the tissue. At the same time tissue strength and integrity is preserved.
Now that we know we’re looking to restore tissue glide, we can ease off the intensity - you’re not going to squeeze the plantar fascia into a longer shape.
Movement is your choice. Know your body and take an AnatomyShow course.
Practicing playfully or with curiosity can lead us to try new movements and postures. One group of interesting posture variations are bound postures.
Many bound poses are twisted poses. Depending on your mobility, practicing these can put strain on on your lower back or parts of your shoulder joint.
When done well, binding the arms in some yoga postures can add stability and depth.
Prerequisite steps need to be in place for arm-binding to have a positive impact on yoga practice development, and ultimately the health of your joints, especially the shoulder.
Keep the following steps in mind when you practice any bound postures next.
1 Set a foundation
In standing poses the engagement of the feet and legs creates the stability to keep balance. Additionally, force transmissions from the engaged feet and legs have a stabilizing influence on the hip joints, lower back and sacro-iliac joints.
2 Rotate the spine - twist the torso
Support the spine in trikonasana (triangle pose)...
This video features a short explanation of two perspectives on drinking water during yoga practice.
Drinking water during yoga practice is an at times hotly debated topic. Many people suggest a traditional reason why not to drink water, others cite government health guidelines.
Among the many arguments for and against, I'm sharing here thoughts on an exercise and a yoga perspective.
Clearly this is not an exhaustive exploration of the issue, but I hope it assists in honing in on a direction to esquire further.
Make the most out of your opportunities to rest and restore your nervous system.
Our nervous system deserves a break. Regularly.
We can make an effort to reduce stress, or avoid stress in our lives. But honestly, there is still a build-up, a ‘background noise’ of sorts.
A regular reset of this deeper level of stress can be hugely beneficial and feels really good.
When we take rest, either by catching a nap somewhere, or in savasana after a yoga practice, there is one little trick that can make a big difference to the quality of your relaxation.
When resting in savasana or other restorative postures the neck position is very important.
The relaxation response in your body is directed by a part of your autonomic nervous system called the Parasympathetic Nervous System PSNS.
The main nerves of the PSNS are the vagus nerves, which run through our necks. Our head position clearly depends on our neck positions, and with it we can change the function and influence of the vagus.
Forward bends, especially forward bends in seated positions can become uncomfortable for the lower back of the back of the legs.
This post explains one simple trick to protect hamstrings from being pulled, while at the same time facilitating safe progression of mobility with ongoing practice.
Seated forward bends might not be everybody’s friend. Lack of mobility on the back of the body reduces the ability of the hips to tilt forward relative to the legs. Spinal flexion can also be limited.
With an eagerness to still move into poses, it is unfortunately quite common for hamstrings and lower backs to become sore, if not strained or injured from forward bending practice.
The muscles on the back of the legs, the hamstrings, along with the back portion of the inner leg muscles, the adductors, can resist hip flexion.
When tensioned, as it happens in forward bends, the back of the body needs to lengthen. From the feet to the head assorted muscles reach along limited areas, while a...