Category: Monica Gauci

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What’s the Problem with Your Shoulder?

Our shoulder is a precision instrument that simultaneously has a vast scope in its range of motion. With pinpoint precision we can synchronise our shoulder muscles to maneuver our arm to point our finger precisely at our object of choice – an action that requires the coordinated recruitment of numerous muscles that surround our shoulder joint like a clock. Your...

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Yoga and Aging

When I was young and naïve I used to say “the good thing about practicing yoga is that as you get older you only get stronger and more flexible!” This is true up to a point and that point is different for every body. The fact is that as we age our body slows down. All of our bodily functions...

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The Role of the Adductors in Backbends

Many yoga practitioners instinctually know to engage their inner thigh muscles (adductors) in backbends to prevent their knees from falling out to the sides. Let’s examine how we can utilise this action to ignite our core, expand our backward arch and experience simultaneously more stability and spaciousness in backbends. The adductor muscles of the inner thigh are part of our...

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Yoga Therapy for Hamstring Injuries

If you’ve ever had an injury at your hamstring injury, you will know about it! You’ll go from comfortable forward bending one day to dramatically restricted, often painful forward bends the next day. This injury occurs where the tendon of the hamstring muscle knits into the membranous lining of the bone, the periosteum. In this case it is where the...

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Putting the Curve Back in Your Neck, Saving Your Neck – Part 3

Although we usually think and talk about muscles as being weak or strong, closer to the truth is that muscles are usually inhibited or facilitated, respectively. Inhibition is when neural input (from our nervous system) to the muscle has been down-regulated. Facilitation is the opposite, when neural input to a muscle is excessive or up-regulated. Facilitated muscles are often those...

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You Were Born to Gaze at the Stars, Saving Your Neck – Part 2

In Part 1 we looked at some of the biomechanics of neck problems and especially how to eliminate unnecessary tension in our neck when weight-bearing on our hands. In yoga asanas we commonly take our head back, extending our head and neck. Students are often cautious and hold back with this movement, concerned that it may hurt their neck. However,...

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Saving Your Neck, Understanding the Biomechanics of Neck Problems – Part 1

Our necks are one of the most vulnerable parts of our body and once we have a neck problem they can be complex to resolve. There are a few reasons why the neck cops the brunt of it. Firstly the neck or cervical spine has the greatest range of movement possible in the entire spine. This is partially due to...

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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...

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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,...

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