Articles

A test to see if I can list by catagory:
All

and just muscles and bones
  • From Specialists to Humans: Shining a light on the physical blind spots of an advanced yoga practice Introduction Yoga is a state of being in which we experience ourselves as whole and present. To train ourselves in the state of yoga, we include the practice of physical movements for we are physical beings. We experience and express ourselves through a physical body, therefore, every so called spiritual practice must include the body in one way or ... Read more
  • Where should I feel this? A common question asked by yoga students is ‘where should I feel this’. This is often harder to answer than it might seem. Firstly bodies are complicated things! The old model of individual muscles moving or restricting a single joint is now largely thought to be too simplistic. The body has come to be seen as a system of inter-connecting or even continuous lines of muscles. In this model, a restriction ... Read more
  • The Wonderful World of Fascia This was so much fun to do and of course very topical at the moment coming shortly after the Fascial Research Congress. Joanne Avison is a yoga teacher and author of the book entitled Yoga Fascia Anatomy and Movement and I was lucky enough to be able to interview her when I was back in the UK. The interview runs at two and a half hours and we only realized ... Read more
  • What is That Popping Sound? NEW RESEARCH!!! One of the common questions asked by yoga students is ‘what’s that popping sound from my joints?’ quickly followed by ‘is it safe?’ and ‘does it mean I’m going to get arthritis or injure myself?’ The answer depends – If it’s a grating or crunching sound and/or it’s accompanied by pain – then it is either a bone or a ligament or tendon, grating over something else or it’s worn cartilage. The ... Read more
  • How to Relieve Back-pain and Bend Backwards Without Hurting your Lower Back How to ‘open’ your mid-spine in back bends and not squash your lower back:  Lengthen your Psoas at the hips (hip extension) and immobilse L5-S1 Breathe in to your abdomen (use your diaphragm) Breathe out from your chest (ha-uddiyana bandha) Psoas then extends your spine from T12-L5 (and not L5-S1) because the diaphragm attaches to the psoas, which joins to T12-L5 Most modern adults tend to have very stiff middle backs (usually from about the ... Read more
  • Mula Bandha and Float Backs Part 1: The Three Bandha The word Bandha can be defined variously as “lock”, “blockage” and “doorway”. Mula Bandha is the lower lock, meaning “root” or “earth”. There are a few definitions that I like regarding MB, so I wanted to start by sharing some of those. Wikipedia Mūla Bandha is the principal, key and primary Bandha of the Yogic traditions. Mūla Bandha is endemic to all safe, grounded workings of body-mind disciplines. This ... Read more
  • The Hips A-line-ment By Peg Mulqueen If there’s a holy grail in the Ashtanga yoga practice, it must a long central axis (or spine, for reference) and rooted pelvis, for within the two lie the keys to heaven – or as we say, bandhas. And so it seems logical we do all we can to protect and keep these lines sacred. The primary series offers us the perfect place to practice this alignment with shapes that ... Read more
  • Size Matters By Peg Mulqueen I don’t know if you know this about Ashtanga – but backbends are a pretty big damn deal. When I started, no one cared that I could stand on my hands. No one wanted to see me float or jump or balance on my arms. No, they wanted to see my backbend. Only, I didn’t have a backbend. I had more of a coffee table. I’ve always known this had to ... Read more
  • Beneath the surface By Doug Keller Yes a toned core is great for the bikini season, but when you learn to access the deepest muscles, you will get benefits that are more than just skin deep. It’s almost summer- and chances are good that people all over America want to tone up their tummies, and they’re adding crunches to their routines to do it. But sit-ups alone won’t make a potbelly disappear. In fact, they ... Read more
  • Sacral Nutation: The Key to Straight Feet in Backbends By Monica Gauci There are countless miracles happening in our physical bodies every moment of our existence. One that continues to intrigue me is the symphony of cranial motion that happens with our every breath! This motion is synchronised with another gentle movement at our sacrum as it rocks between the two pelvic halves or ilia. Cranial-sacral motion is constant and rhythmical as it circulates the vital fluid that our brain ... Read more
  • Better Backbends By Doug Keller Do you tuck your tailbone in backbending poses? It would be hard to imagine yoga without backbends-they’re invigorating, uplifting, and heart-opening. Backbends stimulate the proper functioning of the digestive system, help preserve the health of the vertebrae and spinal disks, and open the body to deep diaphragmatic breathing. It’s no wonder that backbends are an important part of any hatha yoga routine. At the same time, these poses place ... Read more
  • Muscles – the limited means to asana success By Tim Feldmann When we decide to move our body, in asana practice or in daily life, we most often instantly begin with activating our muscles. We identify movement with activating various muscles. The muscles are the physical system that we mostly rely on to carry out any physical task at hand. So is it in asana practice too. Unfortunately our muscular system is of relative efficiency in complex movement tasks ... Read more
  • Balance Part II – The Leg By Tim Feldmann To get the full benefits out of the standing/balancing asanas, we must master balancing on one leg to a reasonable degree. Knowing a few technical things about the body and mind will help us balance well on one leg, besides clenching everything we’ve got and pray that we’ll make it through! This article aims at assisting you with your one legged balances/movement. Trigger points and images When we want our ... Read more
  • Why alignment – Why anatomy? By Tim Feldmann 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. why alignment In this article I would like to attempt to motivate a broader interest in the art ... Read more
  • Balance Part I – The Foot By Tim Feldmann The foot: a double dome like shape arching from back-to-front and from side-to-side. The foot: a triangle, wide at the front and narrow at the back. The leg: connecting down into the foot like a pillar through the ankle which intercepts at the peak of the two domes combined. Standing on your two feet takes close to no effort. Balancing, nevertheless, whether on two or one foot is an ... Read more
  • Turning Your Feet Out When Doing a Yoga Drop-Back? By David Keil The inspiration for this month’s article comes from a question posed in an email. The question, from Catherine, asks specifically about keeping the feet straight in drop-backs. For those of you not sure what a drop-back is… it’s when you stand at the front of your mat and drop into a backbend. It’s mostly the Ashtangis who do this and when they do it’s very typical to find ... Read more
  • Glute Max for Maximum Extension By Dr Monica Gauci 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 ... Read more
  • What Is ‘Functional’ in Yoga? By Dr Monica Gauci Funcitonal 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. Each of these are integrated movements which means that many muscles ... Read more
  • Got Sit Bone Pain? – What to do with that hamstring By David Keil 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 ... Read more
  • To Squeeze or Not to Squeeze? That’s the question By David Keil This 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 ... Read more
  • Yes, you can get injured doing a headstand… By David Keil 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? Sometimes the English name is a little misguiding though. Headstand ... Read more
  • Supta Kurmasana Goes Pop! By David Keil 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 ... Read more
  • Can yoga fix scoliosis? By David Keil 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 ... Read more
  • The Diaphragm is Key! Don’t Forget It. Observe It. By David Garrigues 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. The diaphragm is a large sheet or dome shaped muscle that resembles a mushroom ... Read more
  • Opening the Heart By Dr Monica Gauci In a yoga practice much emphasis is placed on opening the heart. Opening the heart has physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual benefits. Rounded shoulders and a hunched spine are typically associated as the posture of someone who is less confident, timid, fearful or possibly depressed. We round our shoulders and stoop forward to protect our heart as we carry our emotional, psychological and/or spiritual wounds. As our nervous ... Read more
  • The ‘Álmighty’ Psoas Muscle: Your Body’s Center of Movement By David Keil The foundation of our bodies and our yoga practice lies at our feet. In order to incorporate both physical and energetic foundations, we must examine our body’s center of energy, movement and balance which begins near the psoas muscle– the pair of deep muscles extending from the sides of the spine to the femur that are activated in postures like forward bending (paschimottanasana), Boat pose; and lengthened in ... Read more
  • Quadratus Lumborum (QL) A real Pain in the Back! By David Keil I have written about a number of the “lightning rod” muscles such as the piriformis, psoas, and transverse abdominis. I refer to them as “lightning rods” because they attract attention. Sometimes this is for good reason, after all, everyone should know about his or her psoas. However, every problem related to core shouldn’t be thrown onto the back of the psoas or the transverse abdominis for that matter. ... Read more
  • Gluteal and Psoas Relationship for Yogis By David Keil There is a pattern that has shown itself to me over the last few months. I don’t think that this pattern is a result of practice but probably an underlying pattern that already existed. As often happens, regular practice can uncover any number of problems or imbalances in our body. Hopefully the practice helps to create balance and “fix” them. The pattern that I’m referring to in this article ... Read more
  • Balancing Freedom and Restraint in Yoga By Ray Long  The work of legendary furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames has been described as a balance of freedom and restraint.Mr. Eames was once asked: “Have you ever been forced to accept compromises?” He responded: “I don’t remember ever being forced to accept compromises, but I have willingly accepted constraints.”1  Practicing yoga also involves working within constraints–those of the general form of the human body and also our personal ... Read more
  • Using the TFL to Refine Utthita Parsvakonasana By Ray Long Author; Ray Long View Profile Visit Ray’s Website http://www.dailybandha.com   http://www.bandhayoga.com Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogle Read more
  • Antagonist/Synergist Combinations in Yoga By Ray Long Author; Ray Long View Profile Visit Ray’s Website http://www.dailybandha.com   http://www.bandhayoga.com Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogle Read more
  • Sitting Up Straight and Expanding the Chest Forward in Sukhasana By Ray Long This technique is portable to other poses. In Tadasana, for example, simply fix the palms against the sides of the hips and attempt to drag them backwards. Note how the chest expands forward and the back straightens. See this concept in action for Sukhasana in the video above. Here’s the Anatomy . . . The latissimus dorsi originates from the spinous processes of thoracic vertebrae 6—12, lumbar vertebrae 1—5 (via ... Read more
  • Assessing Range of Motion in Downward Dog By Paul Grilley Students who struggle with Downward Dog may have limited range of motion (ROM) in one or more of four important joints. Learn how to assess your students’ ROM and help them modify their poses. Long Dogs and Short Dogs. There are many subtle variations of Downward Dog but they can be approximately divided into two standard variations: Long Dogs and Short Dogs. Long Dogs are done by stepping further back ... Read more
  • Assessing Range of Motion in Squatting Poses By Paul Grilley Students who struggle with squatting poses may have limited range of motion (ROM) in one or more of three important joints. Learn how to assess your students’ ROM and help them modify their poses. There are three major joints to consider when teaching a Squat: the hip, the knee, and the ankle. If any one of these three joints is limited in its range of motion (ROM), then any ... Read more
  • Cracking and Popping Joints By Paul Grilley There are many myths and rumors about joint cracking. The two most common being our knuckles will get bigger if we crack them or we will get arthritis. Neither of these is likely but there is some truth to the idea that some forms of cracking are undesirable. Two types of cracking. There are two reasons why our joints crack and creak. 1. Bones are rubbing together. 2. The bones ... Read more
  • Stretching Ligaments: A Yogi’s Apology By Paul Grilley A stretch by any other name… Sometimes health professionals gnash their teeth when they hear a yogi say they are “stretching” their ligaments. They scream loudly that ligaments don’t stretch. We could quibble and say all biological tissues stretch but that would be avoiding their legitimate concern. Compared to muscles ligaments don’t stretch. But to keep ligaments healthy they must be subjected to stress by pulling on them. So ... Read more
  • Let the Lumbar Curve Be  By Paul Grilley Some yoga instructors insist that students avoid curvature of the spine  by insisting on tucking the pelvis. But any healthy movement can be  overdone. Rather than insist on always having the pelvis tucked  encourage your students to utilize the full range of pelvic motion in  their practice. Bad News Ballet? The idea that a “tucked pelvis” is good for you comes from ballet.  Ballerinas are taught to tuck their pelvis ... Read more
  • Stretching the Spine By Paul Grilley When working a joint the first thing a yogi or yogini must decide is whether she intends to work muscle or bone. She must decide if she wishes to strengthen the muscles that stabilize the joint or stretch the ligaments to increase range of motion. In this article we explore the second option: stretching the joints of the spine. Two layers of the joints A fundamental insight of Taoist analysis ... Read more
  • The Hand by Paul  Grilley 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. Some yoga postures are designed to beneficially stress the joints of the body to stimulate their strength and flexibility. There are two fundamentally different types of stress: tension ... Read more
  • Taoist Analysis: The Three Tissues of the Body By Paul Grilley 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 ... Read more
  • The Evolution of Ashtanga Yoga By 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 ... Read more
  • Exercising the Joints By Paul Grilley 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”. ... Read more
  • Taoist Analysis: Getting familiar with Yin and Yang By Paul Grilley 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 ... Read more
  • Lengthening the Torso in Forward Bends By Ray Long 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. ... Read more
  • Exercise and Sacrifice By 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. Connective tissue or bone should be exercised with long periods of stasis or stillness. ... Read more
  • Degenerative Disc Disease, The Sushumna Nadi and Yoga By Ray Long “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. With this in mind, let’s look at a condition that affects the spinal column and, thus, has the potential to affect the Sushumna Nadi. Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a condition, or medical malady. It has been shown to affect as much ... Read more

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