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...
Yoga classes have abruptly shifted from the studio to our homes. Not everyone has a yoga mat, block or other props available for home practice with online courses.
Learn how to use household items as props and yoga mat to participate in online yoga classes.
This video explains how to adjust for missing props with general household items and still participate fully in your favourite yoga classes.
Watch the surprise explanation why not having a yoga mat can be good for you.
Have you ever wondered why one side of your body always feels somewhat more stiff, the other side more mobile or you seem to twist further to one side than the other?
This video and post explore one important factor in this imbalance and how to check for it.
You might remember a song from when you were little, something from primary school. It includes the line: ‘… the thigh bone is connected to the hip bone, …
Because of its direct connection at the hip socket, along with the many ligaments and strong muscles, the thigh (and with it the thigh bone) have a strong influence on positioning and stability of the hips.
The hip bone is only one part of the three-part pelvis. The pelvis itself is comprised of the left and right hip bones, and the sacrum in the back centre of this ring structure.
What makes the difference between a rigid ring structure and our pelvis are the three joints.
At the front of the pelvis the pubic joint is mobile, so are the two sacroiliac joints,...
You have a choice. Now you do. As a baby you didn’t. Back then, the task was to stand, counteract gravity in whichever way possible until your feet carried you.
Fast forward to today. How much have you consciously upgraded your standing skills?
When you let your mind drift to the last time you saw baby feet, or the feet of a very young child that couldn't stand yet, what shape feet were they?
I get it, they are cute, and soft, and puffy and - flat. Babies don’t have arches in their feet. By what process do we then, hopefully, gain the arches of our feet as we grow up?
The answer lies simply in the use and coordination of our muscles.
Remember we have twenty six bones held together by connective tissues in our feet?
In order to move and animate and support our body weight on our feet, we need to add muscles into the picture. Ligaments and fascia are all good and useful, but they don’t initiate movement. Plus, when put under load they stretch...
Following yoga class instructions helps us move in and out of postures without having to look at and observe the teacher.
Many instructions that are given produce varying responses and results in class participants. This can be a result of individual interpretation of the meaning of such instructions, or, maybe for the sake of brevity, a hint actually referring to a range of actions or movements.
Interpreting yoga instructions helps us gain clarity on what certain instructions mean, what the intended postural action is.
Watch this video about turning the upper arms out in downward facing dog to see the difference between intended action and literal response.
Alignment suggests specific positions and relationships of body parts in postures.
In our life off the yogamat, or when not practicing specifically, we rarely adhere to those specific alignment guidelines.
In this video I discuss the reasons why alignment can be helpful. Looking at the example of the fierce pose, or utkatasana, or chair pose, I describe the difference between specific alignment and its real-life application and relevance.
Once we are clearer why we suggest or follow alignment cues, we have greater choice and freedom to explore a broader range of movement and positions safely.