Category: spine

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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...

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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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Deep Relief for Low Back Pain

By Doug Keller By applying these simple principles to your asana practice you can strengthen the hidden muscles that maintain the health of your back. While there are no quick fixes when it comes to low back pain, if you address the root of the problem, treatment can be surprisingly simple. Chronic back pain is often attributed to underlying structural...

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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...

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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...

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Your Shoulders in Upward Facing Dog

By David Keil This is a play off an article I wrote for the newsletter back in May. That one was titled Your Shoulders in Downward Facing Dog. There are perhaps as many variations in what we are told to do with our shoulders in Up Dog and it is sometimes just as confusing for students. As I often do,...

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Neck Pain from the Hips

By Niki Vetten Posture affects our necks negatively when there is anterior or posterior pelvic tilt because the spinal curves are altered and the head is carried in a forward position. The muscle at the front of the neck, the Sternocleidomastoideus (SCM) shortens and the shoulder girdle rounds and shifts forward, exaggerating the curvature of the upper back. In some...

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