This page is all about trying to understand the things that can help prevent or reduce the risk of getting an injury or pain and what to do if you get one. It’s not just about being broken but also about good ways of practicing, engaging, aligning and balancing. Lots of these posts have been spread across the website so hopefully with everything in one place you can learn and research what will be useful for you. It’s fair to…
It is important for us as yoga practitioners to know whether what is stopping us going deeper in a posture is compression or tension because if it is the former we can possibly be causing ourselves harm rather than good. In this video we look at three types of compression using what can happen around the hip as an example.
There are some key movements that are the building blocks of many of the postures in Yoga. Respected Ashtanga teacher John Scott calls these the foundations and fundamental openings and refers to them in his Baby Sequence. In this workshop we pull out a couple of those key movements and show you how to work with them as homework.
Padmasana or Lotus can be one of the most challenging and frustrating poses for a yoga practitioner. The ankles, knees and hip joints all have to be mobile and the muscles in the legs and the hip girdle have to be flexible. It is all too common for the knee to be injured trying to put the body in lotus before it is ready, so first a word of caution: take your time. There is no rush and it really doesn’t matter if you never ‘get’ Padmasana.
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 logically lead us towards that promised land.
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).
The basic goal of all the asana practice is finding and maintaining a comfortable padmasana (lotus pose) for meditation. There are a few key anatomical components and principles to finding this comfort. The foundation of the pose is the crossing of the legs and “sit bones” comfortably on the floor. With a firm foundation we find an upward energy and lift in the spine, which eventually becomes effortless.
Hips are vital in all body movements because the body’s centre of gravity is located in the hip area, about 4 finger-widths below the navel or belly-button. Healthy hips are also the key to a pain-free lower back and knees. Flexibility in the hips is determined by strength and overstretching the hips in an effort to make them flexible will instead make the hips weak and dysfunctional. Muscle imbalances in the hips also lead to inflexibility in the legs –…