Articles

The Hand: Tension and Compression

hands

The purpose of some Yoga postures is to stress the joints in a beneficial manner. This article explores the different forms of stress that can be placed on a joint so that a Yogi can make the appropriate choices when practicing.

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Taoist Analysis: The Three Tissues of the Body

The first article in this series asked the question “How does my body move?” Before we could examine this question in any depth we took the time to review the Taoist ideas of Yin and Yang. We are now going to return to the original question or rather the question most relevant to Hatha Yoga practitioners: “Why does my body not move the way I want it to?” To answer this question we will look at our joints. There are…

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The Evolution of Ashtanga Yoga

Matthew Sweeney

Ashtanga Yoga is a wonderful practice for the body and mind. It is an evolving practice that is changing and growing to suit people of all ages and abilities. At least that is its potential. The tradition and its changing nature can be a difficult thing to reconcile. This problem exists for all traditions, so understanding some of the principles at work is important. In most Ashtanga classes we begin with both the breath and with vinyasa, the movements in…

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Exercising the Joints

Incense sticks

Exercise is now common place in our culture. So common in fact that it might shock people to remember that people who ran marathons in the first part of the 20th Century were considered of questionable sanity. In the 1950s and 1960s it was common for athletes to be cautioned against lifting weights as such practice would diminish their physical skills by making them “muscle bound” and “slow”.

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Taoist Analysis: Getting familiar with Yin and Yang

Yin Yang

When analyzing the human body there are many things we could discuss. The Thirtieth Edition of Gray’s Anatomy runs to nearly 1700 pages. And that is just a description of body parts. Textbooks on physiology easily go into the thousands of pages. But what is most immediately relevant to Hatha Yoga practitioners is “How does my body move?” or even more precisely “Why does my body not move the way I want it to?”

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Lengthening the Torso in Forward Bends

Paschimottanasana TLC

In “Preventative Strategies for Lower Back Strains Part I,” we discussed femoral-pelvic and lumbar-pelvic rhythm, muscles that influence these rhythms, and the effects of these muscles on the lumbar spine. Here, our discussion progresses as we cover the trunk, the thoraco-lumbar fascia (TLF), Uddiyana Bandha and how accurate knowledge of this can be used to enhance the benefits of yoga and decrease the risk of lower back strains.

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Exercise and Sacrifice

Paul Grilley

In our last article we elaborated why we should make a distinction between Yin and Yang tissues. Yang tissues should be exercised in a Yang way and Yin tissues should be exercised in a Yin way. Muscles are Yang, bones and connective tissue are Yin. Yang muscles should be exercised with rhythm and repetition.

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Degenerative Disc Disease, The Sushumna Nadi and Yoga

Shushumna Nadi

“A sword by itself rules nothing. It only comes alive in skilled hands.” Sir Te to Governor Yu in the martial arts classic, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Many myths, legends, and historians hold that human beings in the ancient past were much more connected to their higher selves and power. These sources maintain that, at some point in our distant past, we suffered a primal trauma—an injury that affected us to our core, both biologically and psychically. Some theorize this…

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