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 our trunk in an upright position. Additionally, gluteus maximus plays an essential role in gait, i.e. walking.
his 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 the course of the 5 days of mysore classes.
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.
Yoga practice usually starts with some form of Surya Namaskara and most sun salutations include moving from Samasthitih or Tadasasna to Uttanasana and back upright many times. These movements are often made by keeping the back straight and folding forwards at the hips, with the knees locked and rising back to vertical in the same position, lifting the head first. Keeping the back straight to bend forward involves a strong contraction of the Erector Spinae muscles and eccentric lengthening of…