As most of us working in the field of yoga anatomy are aware, memorising muscle attachments is not a particularly useful exercise in and of itself. For one thing, muscles as single entities kind of don’t exist anymore. Owing enormous thanks to the ground-breaking work of manual therapists in the last few decades, we are now starting to fully embrace the holistic model of fascial continuities as the great attenuators of force in the body and to feel the impact…
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 axial core.
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 muscles compensating for the loss of input into a movement pattern that should come from the muscle that is inhibited.
Yes a toned core is great for the bikini season, but when you learn to access the deepest muscles, you will get benefits that are more than just skin deep. It’s almost summer- and chances are good that people all over America want to tone up their tummies, and they’re adding crunches to their routines to do it. But sit-ups alone won’t make a potbelly disappear. In fact, they just might have the reverse effect!
Much could be written about the psychological significance of rolling out your mat, with its implications of marking out your territory, creating your own space and perhaps saying something about your personality by the size and thickness of your mat. We will leave this for another article and focus on the anatomical error of mat-dependence.
When we decide to move our body, in asana practice or in daily life, we most often instantly begin with activating our muscles. We identify movement with activating various muscles. The muscles are the physical system that we mostly rely on to carry out any physical task at hand. So is it in asana practice too. Unfortunately our muscular system is of relative efficiency in complex movement tasks such as asana practice.
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.