This month’s muscle of the month focus is on the hamstrings group. The hamstrings are a very powerful group of muscles that extend the hip and flex the knee.
The last three quadriceps muscles are this months muscle(s) of the month. We put them together because these three out of four have similar action and attachments. That is, they are dedicated to the action of straightening the knee (extension).
The rectus femoris muscle is one of the four muscles that makes up the quadricep group of muscles. This is the only one that crosses the hip joint and therefore is related to tight hip flexors. Personally, I have come to find that it is critical in allowing the pelvis to move during backbends.
Gluteus minimus is this month’s muscle of the month. All of the basics are covered here. Where it attaches, what actions it does, what postures it is related to etc…
The piriformis muscle (Very Popular) is this month’s Muscle of the Month. Like last month, a nice and simple description of the key points of the muscle and how it relates to yoga.
I want to share with you an exercise that I regularly do with students who are dealing with achy hamstrings and/or mild sit bone pain. This could be as a result of an earlier hamstring “tear” or general aggravation due to muscular imbalances.
I’ve been hearing for years that we should flex our foot in various yoga postures where we have our knees bent at ninety degrees or more. More recently I’ve received two seperate emails regarding the application of this technique to lotus posture. Should the foot be flexed or extended in padmasana? It’s time I throw in my own two-cents on this topic. As many of you know, I’m for whatever works. If it helps when you flex your foot, then the answer is flex your foot. But why does this work? Is it necessary?
This 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. The question arose; Should we squeeze or not squeeze our butt in upward facing dog? 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.
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.
In Part 1 of this article we left off looking at the deepest, most intrinsic structures that make the knee function as it does. In this part of the article we’ll continue to look at another deep structure, the meniscus and also talk about some of the soft-tissues (muscles and ligaments) that affect this joint and how it all fits into our yoga practice.