Niki Vetten

Hip and Hamstring Flexibility

Hamstrings and hips get a lot of stretching in yoga, because everyone wants to do Hanumanasana, and also get their feet behind their heads, preferably both feet at the same time. For many, this will never happen, precisely because they try so hard and focus only on one set of muscles without understanding the interlinking between the muscles of the hips, legs and lower back. Please refer to Lower Back Pain: Some Yoga-Related Causes for an explanation of these relationships.…

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Lower Back Pain: Some Yoga-Related Causes

The causes of lower back pain are varied and complex. Physiotherapy texts state that in most cases it is impossible to pinpoint the exact body tissue that causes the pain and because humans have an upright posture, it is virtually guaranteed that everyone will have an episode of lower back pain in their lives. Most treatment of lower back pain is focused on relieving symptoms. Even hi-tech imagery is not a reliable indicator of the cause of pain- people are…

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Movement Habits and their Effect on Yoga Practice

There are three particular movement habits in asana practice that either cause or indicate problems with the hips: These will be covered in detail in separate posts, to keep posts shorter 1. Allowing the hip to push out to the side and not maintaining a level pelvis in the horizontal plane – lateral pelvic tilt 2. Hinging from the hips when folding forwards from a standing position or returning to an upright stance from a forward fold. 3. Arching the…

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‘Yoga Butt’ Injury

‘Yoga Butt’ is a term for a range of symptoms frequently experienced in Ashtanga and other forms of Vinyasa or Power yoga after a few months of regular practice. It often starts as Pain or discomfort at either of the Ischial Tuberosities (sit-bones) Discomfort in all forward bending and a feeling that the hamstring won’t stretch Inflexibility or pain in Kurmasana and Supta Konasana. Yogis with these symptoms might then tear a Hamstring, but even if they don’t force the…

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Practising Through Pain and Injury in Yoga

Many athletes and many athletic yogis who experience pain believe that they should keep right on with what they are doing, and hope that the pain will eventually disappear. This is very short-sighted, especially if pain is not associated with a specific injury. Pain without a specific injury is often a sign of muscle imbalance. In yoga, muscle imbalance can develop quite easily, if a set practise is followed for a long time, or if a particular practise emphasises existing…

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How Hinging From the Hips Creates Weak Gluteal Muscles

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…

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Anterior Pelvic Tilt in Yoga Practice

When the hip-bones tilt forwards, creating an arch (lordosis) in the lower back, you have anterior pelvic tilt, one of the main causes of lower back pain. Some people, mainly women, have a lower back that is naturally lordotic. This is due to the shape of their Sacroiliac joints, and is not necessarily painful or problematic. Anterior pelvic tilt is extremely painful when it is caused by muscle imbalance, mainly weak gluteal muscles. Some other symptoms of hip muscle weakness…

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Previous Hip Injury and Yoga Practice

Many people turn to yoga as a way of healing hip injuries that they acquired elsewhere. Some people find that their injuries improve with mild stretching and strengthening, but others find that their symptoms get much worse.

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Hamstring Injury, Sciatica and Sacroiliac Pain in Yoga

There are three muscles in the legs that are collectively referred to as the Hamstrings – the Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus. All three Hamstrings attach to the Ischial Tuberosity of the pelvis – the sit-bone. At the knee, the Biceps Femoris attaches to the outside of the Femur and the knee and the Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus together are attached to the inside of the knee. The Hamstrings can be visualized as forming a tripod with the knee as the…

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Wrist Pain from Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa, arm balances and handstands often leave yoga practitioners complaining of wrist pain, especially at the Ulnar side of the hand, that is, the base of the palm furthest from the thumb. To combat this, the focus is on various hand positions, pushing down with the base of the thumb, rising up onto the fingers when jumping through, Pada Hastasasna or wrist guards. An analysis of body mechanics provides another alternative: we are designed to be able to make both…

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