The inspiration for this month’s article comes from a question posed in an email. The question, from Catherine, asks specifically about keeping the feet straight in a yoga dropback. For those of you not sure what a drop back is… it’s when you stand at the front of your mat and drop into a backbend.
We shouldn’t take it lightly when we ask or direct people to breathe in very specific ways. Breathing is personal to all of us. There may be long standing physical patterns, emotions, or trauma mixed into the way we breathe. We should be aware that breathing in different ways has different affects on us. The rate of inhalation can be stimulating, agitating, or calming.
I have written about a number of the “lightning rod” muscles such as the piriformis, psoas, and transverse abdominis. I refer to them as “lightning rods” because they attract attention. Sometimes this is for good reason, after all, everyone should know about his or her psoas. However, every problem related to core shouldn’t be thrown onto the back of the psoas or the transverse abdominis for that matter.
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?
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.
There are other possibilities for hip pinching. Please also read Is Yoga Tearing Labrums? [/alert]
Hip pinching can show up in parvrita parsvakonasana, ardha matsayendrasana, marichyasana C, or other twists. The sensation is anything from mild discomfort to an ice pick sensation in the front and inside of the pelvis. The most common description however is that it seems as though something is getting “pinched.” Others describe it as a “stabbing” pain.
Doing an Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice involves much more than merely doing the asanas enumerated in the Primary Series. As a sequence, the primary series is the foundation of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice. It plants the seeds that will grow into the other sequences. But it’s not limited to the asana element. The seeds that should be planted are also the more subtle components.
This is a play off an article I wrote for the newsletter back in May. That one was titled Your Shoulders in Downward Facing Dog. There are perhaps as many variations in what we are told to do with our shoulders in upward facing dog and it is sometimes just as confusing for students.
I was recently asked a question via email. Can yoga fix scoliosis? It’s certainly not the first time that I’ve ever been asked about scoliosis and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It’s a seemingly simple question but it bends in a direction that makes me wonder about our larger expectations for our yoga practice and our desire for a simple answer to what seems like a simple question. The truth is, it’s neither a simple question nor a simple answer.
Although somewhere in my mind a voice is telling me I should have had this prepared before this day, I realize that not everything can be planned. A good thing in many ways because the feeling of the day would not have fully been a part of the writing if I didn’t wait until the day had actually arrived.