Ray Long

Ray Long

Ray Long

Ray Long MD FRCSC is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and the founder of Bandha Yoga.

Preventing Yoga Injuries (III)

warrior 2 co-contraction

A central concept in all healing arts is that of correcting imbalances within the body. The principle of re-establishing balance can be found across all cultures from Navajo sand paintings, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine to modern allopathy. And anything with true healing power also has the capacity to cause injury when practiced without balance. For example, joint mobility is beneficial for a number of reasons–provided it is balanced with joint stability. In this blog post I discuss the concept of joint proprioception and its relationship to joint stability and yoga, concluding with a tip for “re-setting” muscular proprioception following hip openers.

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Preventing Yoga Injuries (II)

Hip Stabilizers

In this post we discuss labral tears and the condition of joint hypermobility. I also present the case of a specific injury from yoga practice, its biomechanical basis and the steps that can be taken to aid in its prevention.First, however, let’s look at the concept of association vs causality. Simply put, because some activity is associated with a problem does not mean it caused it.

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Preventing Yoga Injuries (I)

Hip Joint Cross Section

I’m thinking the ancients were onto something. Meaning this (possibly) 5,000 year old art that so many of us enjoy practicing and teaching. I’m talking about the tradition of Hatha yoga. The one that includes putting our bodies into poses like Uttanasana, Dandasana, Padmasana (Full Lotus), Sirsasana (Headstand) etc. Now, part of that practice involves poses that take some of our joints to the extremes of their range of motion (from a western medical perspective).

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Balancing Freedom and Restraint in Yoga

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 limitations. Yoga balances freedom and restraint. Knowledge of the body shows…

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Using the TFL to Refine Utthita Parsvakonasana

TFL

Many of the standing poses have a lunge component; that is, the forward hip and knee flex while the back hip and knee extend. It is not unusual in these types of asanas for the forward knee to drift inward, with the pelvis moving in the opposite direction. An example of this is Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Lateral Angle Pose).

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Antagonist/Synergist Combinations in Yoga

Warrior II

In this post we explore the relationship between the tensor fascia lata (TFL) and the gluteus maximus. In addition I add a cue for engaging the adductor magnus as a synergist of the gluteus maximus. Knowledge of these relationships can be used to refine and stabilize postures with a lunge component, such as Warrior II. The “Deltoid” of the Hip You might think of the TFL as akin to the anterior deltoid of the shoulder in that it flexes and…

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Sitting Up Straight and Expanding the Chest Forward in Sukhasana

Slumping the back and collapsing the chest is a common occurrence in Sukhasana, especially in those who are new to yoga. Factors that can contribute to this posture include fatigue, defeated mental state, and tight muscle groups. Many yoga poses are designed to counteract these factors, Sukhasana being one of them. Sitting up in Easy Cross-Legged Pose aids to bring the spinal column into alignment, so that the vertebral bodies and their discs support the torso; expanding the chest forward…

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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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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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