Anatomy

Why alignment – Why anatomy?

Virabhadrasana alignment

A good use and healthy alignment is the natural state of the body. Connecting to this innate state unravels habitual patterns and untangles energy, enhancing well-being, vitality and effortlessness. The means is to practice with a simple yet profound kinesthetic awareness and understanding of the architectural structure of your individual body.

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Glute Max for Maximum Extension

Backbend

For some the jury is still not out on whether one should or should not engage the gluteus maximus muscle when performing back bending yoga postures.Firstly, let’s have a close look at the functional anatomy of this muscle. Gluteus maximus, commonly known as glute max, is the superficial ‘rump’ muscle of our buttocks. Its prominent, characteristic shape and large size correlate to its powerful role of maintaining our trunk in an upright position. Additionally, gluteus maximus plays an essential role in gait, i.e. walking.

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What Is ‘Functional’ in Yoga?

walking

Functional is the buzz word at the moment in the exercise, movement and especially the physical rehabilitation scene. Movements or exercises are considered ‘functional’ if they support the movement patterns that are necessary for us to function in our daily lives. There are seven primal, functional movement patterns: bending, squatting, lunging, twisting, pulling, pushing and gait.

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Got Sit Bone Pain? – What to do with that hamstring

Gluteus Minimus Trigger Points

I was in the DC area this month and saw a student that I knew from a previous workshop. At that time Patricia had recently “pulled a hamstring”. Her major symptom was pain at her sit bone (ischial tuberosity) when folding forward, secondary was that it would also hurt when sitting for long periods, especially in the car. I saw her just a couple of weeks ago and she still had the same pain.

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To Squeeze or Not to Squeeze? That’s the question

gluteal muscles

his month’s newsletter article comes out of a recent trip to the Midwest. I was at a new studio with new students and hosts. This piece is actually a request from one of the hosts, Evan at Tapas Yoga Shala. As always on the first day of practice, I mostly watch and get a sense for what I want to work on with any of the students over the course of the 5 days of mysore classes.

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Yes, you can get injured doing a headstand…

Headstand

Yes, you can get injured doing a headstand… especially if you take the name literally.We can often gather information from the name of a posture. Sometimes embrace the quality or energy of the name, like Virabadrasana (Warrior). Sometimes the name is exactly what we should be doing. Shoulderstand comes to mind. It’s not neck stand after all is it?

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Supta Kurmasana Goes Pop!

Sternocleidomastoid muscle

Some time ago I threatened to write an article about pain showing up in the joint that connects the collarbone to the breastbone. I have had a couple of more recent requests to talk about this potential problem in Supta Kurmasana. As always I try to look at the anatomy, its function, observations about the posture itself and perhaps some ways that information may inform the way we work in the posture or adjust it.

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Can yoga fix scoliosis?

Thoracic Lumbar Xray

I was recently asked a question via email. Can yoga fix scoliosis? It’s certainly not the first time that I’ve ever been asked about scoliosis and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It’s a seemingly simple question but it bends in a direction that makes me wonder about our larger expectations for our yoga practice and our desire for a simple answer to what seems like a simple question. The truth is, it’s neither a simple question nor a simple answer.

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Primary Series is…

Ardha Baddha Paschimotanasa

Doing an Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice involves much more than merely doing the asanas enumerated in the Primary Series. As a sequence, the primary series is the foundation of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice. It plants the seeds that will grow into the other sequences. But it’s not limited to the asana element. The seeds that should be planted are also the more subtle components.

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The Diaphragm is Key! Don’t Forget It. Observe It.

Diaphragm 3

The diaphragm is the main muscle involved in breathing; when you get an experiential feeling of its actions, that knowledge helps you breathe better and thus helps you develop your yoga practice. You can learn to sense the diaphragms anatomical location within the torso and to follow its contraction (inhalation) and relaxation (exhalation) phases.

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