The Posterior Stretch

If a traditional hatha yoga instructor were to teach a student only f e postures, they would probably be the headstand, the shoulderstand, > e sitting half spinal twist, the cobra, and the posterior stretch the deflni e forward bend. The posterior stretch can be initiated properly only after il nutation of the sacroiliac joints after accomplishing that, its essence m be known only if the pose is hinged primarily at the hip joints id completed with a minimum amount of spinal flexion. Although...

The Rise And Fall Of The Abdomen

This is the beginner's first exercise for relaxation. You simply lie in tl corpse posture and concentrate on the rise of the abdomen with ea> li inhalation and the fall of the abdomen with each exhalation. Make I breath as even as possible and watch its pace gradually diminish. Nol that inhalation merges smoothly into exhalation, but that exhalation d( not merge so smoothly into inhalation (chapter 2). After you have practie I this exercise for some time, it will feel natural to allow your...

The Sixtyone Points Exercise

One of the simplest but most interesting of the abstract exercises carries your attention to a succession of 61 points on the surface of the body (fig. 10.5). If you can hold your focus for a moment at each spot, by the time you get all the way around the body and mind will be deeply relaxed. The exercise can be done in many different ways, but the simplest is to pretend that you exhale to each point. This means that at the beginning of each exhalation you lock your attention onto a specific...

Concentrating On The Heart Center

The more steadily you hold your focus on a fixed spot the more advanced the exercise, and one of the most interesting is to hold your attention at the heart center. Here we are not necessarily speaking of something structural. The heart center is an abstract concept. You simply hold your attention in the region of the mid-chest. You may notice that your concentration tends to wander once in a while, flitting away especially at the junction of inhalation and exhalation or at the junction of...

Coming Out Of Relaxation In Slow Motion

When you have gotten to the point at which you can sustain relaxation for a whole, you can try this experiment. At the end of a long relaxation, and before you have moved any part of the body, think of coming out of the posture in slow motion. Try to flex only one finger in the most minuscule possible movement. What you notice if you are completely relaxed is that each movement comes as a tiny jerk, like a cursor moving across a computer screen one pixel at a time rather than in a smooth...

The Dolphin

If a hatha yoga instructor were to pick only one all-around training pose for students who are almost able to do the headstand, it would have to be the dolphin. This posture is related to the down-facing dog, but it is also a well-known posture in its own right. It's helpful for developing upper body strength, hip flexibility, and abdominal and back strength. To do it, begin in the child's pose (fig. 6.18) with the body folded onto itself on the floor. Then lift up enough to place the forearms...

Chapter Three Abdominopelvic Exercises

S asii ara r ura M este ytxviy Ao as Jyitem, t u rrsra r ' Ufa. fot y aMocta ff wit i f tyt.Vt(> t. iasa a jo & ur e ) Mr foi& e j, ' adc fr. nervous yjfrm, ctreu aJosy Jyitem, as rep'jm ufStM jyitev fjf a f trfs t ui one 'J > r iffAt dc ie ict'a . (7 time J < wy iA vt, may f> f uvfameef a *> si . Sri Swami Rama, in Exercise Without Movement, p. 53. Assure way to develop what yogis call inner strength is to tone the abdominal region. If energy in the arms and shoulders is weak,...

T

First lumbar spinal nerve (L1) (right) lower extremity, right side crossed extension reflex extensors are firmed up and flexor muscles are relaxed from L2 through S2 The phenomenon is known as reciprocal inhibition, and it is an integral part of the flexion reflex (fig. 1.9). Unlike stretch reflexes, flexion reflexes create effects well beyond the site of the stimulus. We can see this when a nurse pricks a child's index finger with a needle to draw blood. The child's entire upper extremity...

Cardiovascular Benefits Of The Headstand

The literature on hatha yoga waxes eloquent on the wonders of the head-stand. Kuvalayananda maintains that the posture benefits the special senses, the endocrine glands, and the digestive system, to name only a few, and Sivananda, in his usual style, calls the headstand a panacea, a cure-all for all diseases. Anyone who has had a lot of experience with the headstand will agree that it's a marvelous posture, but it is not clear why this is. For a possible answer, the most obvious place to look...

Tab

Simulated comparisons of agni sara with A and P breathing in a young man. Compare these three modes of breathing with normal breathing in JB- 2.14. Even though taking only two agni sara breaths per minute (above right) Jy Ps the alveolar ventilation precipitously (to 2700 ml per minute), exhaling all he way to the residual volume is adequate for maintaining the blood gases. A and P breathing 6 breaths per min tidal volume 900 ml minute ventilation 5400 ml per min tidal volume 1500...

Inverted Twists

Twisting in variations of the headstand (chapter 8) and shouldersta 1 (chapter 9) complements twisting in standing postures because the low r extremities are free to move around in space rather than remaining fi d in positions defined by the placement of the feet on the floor. In the clas c shoulderstand that is supported by the upper extremities, you can expec e the twist by pushing on the back more firmly with one hand than the otl r (fig. 9.7). A sharper posture, provided you are capable of...

Twisting

Twisting in the neck could hardly be more natural, and can be safely t. .en to its limit, at least by anyone who is practicing hatha yoga regn rly. Possibilities for minor variations abound. If you twist as though you ere looking for a pencil in a drawer at waist level and to your right, yoi -ill notice that this twisting movement includes lateral flexion to the right Yiid if you twist as though you were looking for an object on a shelf to your u'ht at shoulder level, the movement includes...

Twisting In The Standing Warriors

The standing warrior postures are named for their wide-bodied, powei ul-looking stances. They speak for themselves. Although the two posti es shown here are not ordinarily classified with twists, careful analysis reveals some twisting in both of them. In relation to a frontal plane in the anatomical position, the first posture (warrior II in Iyengar's classification) exhibits a 20-30 twist in the pelvis, a 20-30 countertwist in the upper body, and a 90 twist in the neck the second posture...

Distal And Proximal Muscles

As we have seen, the control of movement becomes more precise as t e motor units become smaller in the more distal muscles in the extremiti Your ability to relax is affected in the same way and for the same reason t is easy for almost everyone to relax the muscles of their hands, but shouldi s and backs are another story. Relaxing larger and more proximal muscles > f the body may require some additional help. A regular practice of hatha is t most certain tactic stretching, contracting, and...

The Adductors

Along with flexors (the iliopsoas), extensors (the gluteus maximus), am abductors (the gluteus medius and minimus), we also have adductors f< pulling the thigh medially, a movement which we considered in detail i chapter 6 in relation to forward bending. To understand why the adductor are important here, experiment with the movements required for sittin cross-legged. Sit on the floor with the knees up and the feet side by sid about a foot from the buttocks. Now pull one foot in toward the...

The Plow

The plow posture is named for the way the head and shoulders togetl r resemble a plowshare cutting through soil. We might also characterize t e posture as a shoulderstand forward bend because the hips and spine e flexed and the feet have been pulled overhead. And yet, as in the shouk r-stand, you are balancing on some combination of the shoulders, up t back, neck, and head. In the classic posture the feet touch the floor and ie knees are extended. This is an intermediate level pose that...

Thoracic And Paradoxical Breathing

We saw in chapter 2 that the first requirement for learning abdomina-and diaphragmatic breathing is to discard the habits of chronic chest am paradoxical breathing, and the headstand makes this possible. If you ar< familiar with the four methods of breathing in upright postures, and i you practice the headstand regularly, come up in the posture and try tr breathe thoracically and then paradoxically. It's not so easy, because th rib cage is held in place by isometric contraction of muscles...

Abdominal Breathing In Sitting Postures

We discussed abdominal breathing in the supine corpse posture first because in that pose we find the simplest possible method of breathing the diaphragm is active in both inhalation and exhalation, the intercostal muscles act only to keep the chest stable, and the abdominal muscles remain completely relaxed. Abdominal breathing in sitting postures is quite different. First of all, when we are upright, gravity pulls the abdominal organs mferiorly instead of pushing them higher in the torso, and...

Working With The Adductors

The various adductor muscles take origin all along the inferior pubic rai i from the pubic symphysis to the ischial tuberosities (figs. 1.12, 2.8, ar 1 8.13-14). We have generally been concerned with the adductors that tai origin posteriorly, and have noted that these muscles have a hamstrii J, character that limits forward bending (chapter 6). It is less common to fi 1 postures that are effective in stretching the adductors that take orig n anteriorly. The only pose so far mentioned that does...

Twisting In The Lunging Postures

When fencers lunge they thrust the body down and forward in one t .ft movement, and the lunging postures imitate this thrust. They all im ve 90 of flexion of the thigh and knee on one side and full extension of lie thigh and knee on the other. The torso can either be twisted or bent, id the upper extremities can be lifted overhead or stretched in other directi is. As a group, athletes are attracted to these postures because they arc he ul for developing muscular strength, moderate aerobic...

Breathing

Of the lungs the appearance of a delicate lacy network. The trachea and other large tubes in the airways are held open by incomplete rings of cartilage, and the alveoli remain open because a special surfactant on their walls limits their expansion during the course of a full inhalation and yet prevents surface tension from collapsing them during the course of a full exhalation. The pharynx is a crossroads for the passage of air and food. Air passes down and forward from the nasopharynx into the...

Dahn Yoga Minnesota

The origins of this book date from twenty-five years ago when I was teaching various neuroscience, microscopic anatomy, and elementary anatomy courses in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroanatomy at the University of Minnesota. At the same time 1 was learning about yoga in classes at the Meditation Center in Minneapolis. During those years, Swami Rama, who founded the Himalayan Institute, often lectured in Minnesota, and one of his messages was that yoga was neither exercise nor religion,...

The Relaxed Easy Inverted Action Posture

This next posture prepares you for both the shoulderstand and the plow. It is relaxing once you get into it but it requires more strength, flexibility, and athletic prowess than the propped postures just described. It is the logical next step for those who are trying to build confidence for doing more advanced inverted postures. Except for the fact that the legs are sticking out, it resembles a ball whose circumference is formed by the head, back, pelvis, thighs, elbows, and arms (fig. 9.2). To...

Sweeping The Breath Up And Down The Body

There are many different relaxation exercises in the corpse posture that involve sweeping the attention up and down the body in coordination with the breath, usually from the toes to the crown of the head during inhalat ion, and from the crown to the toes during exhalation. You should breathe normally at lirst and then gradually lengthen the breath as relaxation deepens. Your greatest challenge will be to keep attentive. There are many variations of this exercise. You can reverse directions and...

Anatomy Of Hatha Yvca

In chapters 3 and 4 we discussed the muscles and ligaments that lim backward bending in the hips. These include the psoas and iliacus muse (figs. 2.8, 3.7, and 8.13) the quadriceps femoris muscles (Ggs. 1.2, 3.9, 8 and 8.11), especially the rectus femoris component (figs. 3.9 and 8.8-the abdominal muscles (figs. 2.7, 2.9, 3.11-13, 8.8, 8.11. and 8.13), especia v the rectus abdominis (figs. 3.11-13 and 8.11) and the spiraled ischiofemoi I. iliofemoral, and pubofemoral ligaments (fig. 3.6)....

Dahn Mu Do Holding Posture

The plank posture complements forward bending poses because it olds the deep back muscles, gluteals, and hamstrings (all just previously fetched by forward bending) in a state of isometric contraction in a straight, fc position. contain the other, joined to one another at a 60-90 angle at the hip (fig. 6.17). This represents 90-120 of hip flexion. The heels should be on o reaching for the floor. It may not be possible for beginners to assume th position, and instead of looking...

Info

exhalation inhalation 6.67 sec 3.33 sec phase of inhalation slowly, you'll notice that it is not the diaphragm but ie abdominal muscles that are in command, lengthening eccentricalh t0 restrain the gravity-induced drop of the abdominal organs until you rt h what would have been your normal tidal range. At that point they relt se more completely and allow the diaphragm to preside over an ordinary t al inhalation of the last 500 ml. Although the chest does not at first glance seem to play a...

Two Balancing Postures

All standing postures are balancing postures it's just a matter of how much emphasis is placed on this property. But usually when we think of balancing postures in a standing position, we think of standing on one foot. 'Two such postures are the eagle and the tree. In the eagle posture you stand on one foot as a sentinel, with one thigh, lean d foot intertwined around the other. It's easy for those who are stron slender, and flexible, but most students find it difficult to wrap the extremities...

Clinical Matters And Cautions

Contraindications to forward bending are obvious. Don't do any forward bending postures if you have acute back pain instead, get yourself under the care of a professional, who by tradition will probably tell you to go to bed and rest. Hut there are many grey areas that indicate caution rather than contraindication. Muscular tension sometimes edges over into mild discomfort or pain, and even if you have come into a posture carefully you may still experience sensations that you do not know how to...

The Anatomy Of Flexion And Extension

To understand any function, envision being without it. For example, w< can see at a glance how vertebral bending, both forward and backward contributes to whole-body bending by examining how someone would ben if their spine were fused from the pelvis to the cranium. This is not a academic hypothesis. One who has had such surgery for severe osteoarthrii will bend forward only at the hip joints, just like a hinged stick arm dangling, head, neck, and torso stuck out straight and stiff as a...

Bkeathino

Particular use of the diaphragm to come into this position. Now inhale and exhale deeply through the nose. Notice that each inhalation raises the upper part of the body higher and that each exhalation lowers it (fig. 2.10). Because you are keeping the back muscles engaged continuously during both inhalation and exhalation, the lifting and lowering action is due entirely to the muscles of respiration. In this variation of the cobra pose we hold the hips, thighs, and pelvis firmly, which...

Selfmassage Of The Neck

Most of the inverted postures place unusual stresses on the neck, and am < ie who spends a lot of time with them should coddle the associated mus< s, ligaments, and bony structures One way is to administer some si f- massage by pressing the neck down against the same 8 1 2 inch playgroi id ball discussed in connection with passive backbending in chapter 5. Start by placing the ball under your upper shoulders just below the n. > e of the neck at Ti. From that position you can roll the body...

Breathing And Forward Bending

Breathing in forward bending postures will be experienced differently by those who are relatively stiff than by those who are stronger and more flexible. Advanced students have many options, but those who are inflexible in the hip joints have to tense the abdominal muscles just to maintain the posture, and this creates many repercussions. In the posterior stretch for beginners, the abdominal organs are compressed by the forward bend, and if you are holding lightly onto your thighs, legs, or...

Half Spinal Twists

The next six postures (figs. 7.2H-32 for five of the six the first one is not illustrated) are loosely called spinal twists, but technically they are hall' spinal twists. The simplest and easiest (not illustrated here) is a leaned-back twist for those who have serious problems with hip flexibility. To come into the posture sit flat on the floor with thighs adducted and knees extended. Raise the left knee and place the left foot on the floor on the left (medial) side of the right knee, or...

The Bridge

Like the arch, the bridge posture counteracts some of the effects of the shoulderstand and plow by arching the back. But unlike the arch, the bridge supports the lower back with the forearms and hands. This has two effects it allows the deep back muscles to relax, and it requires additional extension. The posture is also a good preparation for the shoulderstand and plow, and it can even be used as a substitute by those who are wary of being fully inverted. The main difference is that the bridge...

Anatomy Of Hatha Yoga

Yoga For Lordosis

If you are in ordinary good health a meaningful practice of agni sara require at least 10 minutes at the rate of 3-4 breaths per minute, and as gradually increase your time you will achieve an enriched sense of w 1 being. If you get up early in the morning and do agni sara before d< ig hatha, it will give you a burst of energy and enthusiasm. And if you unable for one reason or another to practice hatha yoga postures, agni s -a Figure 3.34a. Hands-and-knees pose. The maximum inhalation...

The Downfacing

After the posterior stretch, the down-facing dog is possibly the most fundamental and widely taught forward bending posture in hatha yoga, but it is completely different from the posterior stretch in its structure and mood. It's a pure nutation and hip flexion stretch, or at least it should be, not a lumbar bend, and it's a more active posture because it requires use of both upper and lower extremities. In its ideal form the down-facing dog assumes the shape of an upside-down V with only the...

Abdominal Breathing With A Relaxed Abdomen

Breathing abdominally with a relaxed abdomen is a prelude to meditat e breathing because it gives one an opportunity to understand the sul le problems involved with breathing quietly. To begin, sit straight in a ch r. Don't slump but don't pitch yourself forward with an arched hum ir lordosis, either. Make sure the lower abdomen is not restrained by ti it clothing. Because the abdominal muscles wTap around to the rear it is bet r not to lean against the back of the chair. Now breathe so that...

Diaphragmatic Breathing In Sitting Postures

To experience the center-of-the-trunk sensation that characteriz-diaphragmatic breathing in sitting postures, sit upright in a chair and fi review abdominal breathing as a basis for comparison. Then to breati diaphragmatically, inhale gently while holding just enough tension in li abdominal muscles to make sure that the lower abdomen is not displat ,1 anteriorly during inhalation. There is a sense of enlargement in the low part of the chest and a feeling of expansion in the upper part of t...

Hypoventilation

Everyone has an intuitive understanding that we have to have oxygen to live, and most people have experienced an undersupply of oxygen at one time or another, if only from holding the breath. What's not always recognized, at least from personal experience, is that the momentary discomfort of smothering is a warning of something more serious that the cells of the brain and spinal cord are acutely sensitive to oxygen deficits, that a severe deprivation of oxygen will cause temporary damage to the...

Flexion And Extension

The articulating surfaces between the head and the atlas allow slippajj in the form of io of flexion, 20 of extension, and 150 of right and left lati al flexion. To get a sense of the articulation between the skud and the a is, nod your head back and forth without bringing the rest of the cer al vertebrae into the motion. Just be aware of a sliding feeling, with a 1 tie more motion permitted backward than forward. Envision the axi of rotation extending from ear to ear. As you move your forehead...

R

Next, consider relaxed standing lumbar backbonds figs. 4.20 and 5-2 , which provide yet another example of nutation. As you bend lackadaisically to the rear you can easily imagine that the ilia are pulled backward and medially in relation to the upper part of the sacrum. The top of the sacrum moves backward as well, but its promontory is squeezed forward relative to the ilia. The coccyx, by contrast, moves to the rear in relation to the pelvic bowl, and the ischial tuberosities spread apart....

Rt A IHIM

To analyze the origins and insertions of a muscle that is shaped like an indented umbrella is a bit daunting, but that is what we must do if we want to understand how the diaphragm functions in breathing and posture. We'll begin with the simplest situation, which is found in supine postures. Here the base of the rib cage and the lumbar spine act as fixed origins for the diaphragm, and under those circumstances the central tendon has to Figure 2.8. Respiratory diaphragm and other deep muscles of...

Akaimi Of Hatha Yuca

Warrior Pose

Left hip and at the same time stretching the hands out in front and back palms down, and making blades of the hands and fingers. Keep the arms forearms, and shoulders in a single line, and look toward the right ham fig. 7.19 . There are three musts in this posture keep all the muscles of tl, extremities firm keep the torso straight and perpendicular to the floe rather than leaned forward and don't flex the front knee more than 90 To complete the posture in its ideal form, the right leg should...

I

Three modes of breathing with identical alveolar ventilations. The numerical values are simulations for a healthy young man. tidal volume 500 ml minute ventilation 6000 ml per min tidal volume 325 ml minute ventilation 7800 ml per min tidal volume 850 ml, minute ventilation 5100 ml per min alveolar ventilation 4200 ml per min alveolar ventilation 4200 ml per min alveolar ventilation 4200 ml per min inhalation exhalation 2.5 sec 2.5 sec inhalation exhalation 1.25 sec 1.25 sec

The Two Headstands

If you were to watch a hundred hatha yoga teachers all doing the headst d at the same time, you would notice that they were not all doing it the ie way Some would be perfectly vertical, their eyes directed along a path par el to the floor, their backs straight, and taking care to be balanced on the to of their heads. The other group, probably a minority, would be more rela gt 1, their eyes directed to the floor, their lumbar regions arched, and their he is balanced on a point a little more to...

Contraindications

By most standards of hatha yoga, the cobra exercises given through and including the section on raising up and down with breathing are mild, meaning that anyone in average condition can do them. The rest of the cobras, however, as well as many of the other backbending postures that follow, including most of the locusts, boats, bows, the lumbar lift, the fish, the wheel, passive supine backbending, and the camel, may be overly stressful for anyone with a history of chronic back pain, or even...

Skeletal Structure Of The Neck

Neck Skeletal Structure

-1 inferior , articular V processes of T11 supenor articular processes of T12 inferior articular ' processes of T12 intervertebral foramina both sides between T11 and T12 T1 vertebral body T1 transverse process Figure 4.7. Thoracic vertebral column, from an anterior view a , lateral view b and posterior view c . Notice in the middle thoracic region how the spinous processes point sharply downward Sappey . palpate someone's L5 vertebral body through their abdominal wall, you can also feel the...

Paradoxical Breathing

Empowered chest breathing carried to extremes is paradoxical breathing fig. 2.29c . Try inhaling so deeply that the abdominal wall moves in during inhalation rather than out. Or imagine a situation which shocks you. Let's gay you dart into a shower thinking that the water will be warm, and instead find it ice cold. You will probably open your mouth and suck in air with a gasp. Try breathing this way three or four breaths under ordinary circumstances and notice how you feel. This is paradoxical...

C

Axons of most upper motor neurons cross, or decussate, to the opposite side of the brain in the motor decussation, which is located in the lowermost segment of the brain stem the medulla oblongata spinal cord, second lumbar L2 cord level, and lower motor neuron whose cell body is shown with four dendritic trunks Figure 1.5. Upper and LI lower motor neurons. The cell body of an upper motor neuron is shown above in the left cerebral cortex, and its target the cell body of a motor neuron whose...

The Muscles Of Respiration

Inhalations can take place only as a result of muscular activity. Exhalations are different the lungs have the capacity to get smaller because their elasticity keeps pulling them, along with the rib cage, to a smaller size. And as alreadj mentioned, the size of the lungs follows the size of the chest in lockstep anything that expands and contracts the chest also expands and contracts the lungs, whether it is lifting or compressing the rib cage, lowering or raisinp the dome of the respiratory...

Lateral Flexion

Next explore lateral flexion at the same articulations. Keeping your ad balanced upright, slowly tilt your forehead to the right and your chin t 'he left, and then repeat in the opposite direction, envisioning the ax of rotation extending between the mouth and the back of the head. A, iin. don't bend the rest of the neck. To the extent that you can feel the chii ind the forehead move in opposite directions, you will be feeling the side-to ide slipping of the cranium on the upper surface of the...

Coming Into The Headstand

Now we can describe the movements of the upper extremities as we a gt e into the headstand. The forearms remain flexed throughout, but the posit n of the arms varies they are flexed about 90 in the starting position, ah 1L 165' in stage one fig. 8.6a , and about 135-150 in stages two, three, and f lt ir figs. 8.6b-d . These figures reflect the need to balance the weight of ie lower extremities by adjusting the angle of the torso to the floor. At lt le extreme stage one the torso is pitched...

Chapter Ten Relaxation And Meditation

'tw effyt-Antesm. eJ iccistA iy As tumHet t i aitfl t 0 istj ttiisty rs re i j o - isAes Ai-JtsrA t J - A. tsars, suit e te-est ife t gt e y As t i Ai oAtAot yAr it ti r iiiisui si t AsAtfo vs f mass As troceii 0 s tssAtiss is' t. - A rost essy AaAiosi, ytw estfstye ys gt tss- ti tsAist t s t ,t gt y i 1 0 Aii 00 tcs ti, ststsAsrJA ii 0 ro tJi As - Ate teststi iy er tsA t'tzA ss 0 Ats csts sr f. S As ly.tfssH 0 tetAi-ta iost, ces Ses t tAstHe t 1 amJisAeseeA st Je istrs Ae tsneiirs, etsyit s...

Respiration

In the shoulderstand and its related postures, some of the effects of breatl gt g are similar to what we found in the headstand, but we also see several imi gt r- tant differences. For one thing you are generally more at your leisure in ie shoulderstand and plow series for another you can watch your abdomer is you breathe, evaluate the character of exhalation and inhalation, and ti ie your rate of breathing with the second hand of a watch. Starting with the classic shoulderstand, repeat the...

The Headstand

Frequent headstands do not mix well, hut that doing the headstand for long periods of time helps to maintain celibaey for those who wish to practice that discipline. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika extols the ability to hold the headstand for three hours. And finally, yet another elderly hatha yogi from India had a brilliant answer to my question. He said that you can do the headstand for any length of time three hours, six hours, and that you can even sleep in the posture but he added cagily that...

Anatomy Of The Shoulderstand

To understand the complex anatomy of the shoulderstand, we'll begin wii a brief description of the posture in its most extreme expression tl candle posture. This is an advanced pose, however, and should not attempted until you are warmed up and have mastered the prelimin postures which follow. In this pose the feet are swung overhead from i supine position, and the arms, forearms, and hands are placed in a neuti I position alongside the thighs fig. 9.1 . The body is balanced on a triangui...

The Neck

Even though the anatomy of the advanced posture is complex, it s straightforward and easy to analyze. In the neck, most of the structures n the cervical spine are stretched, including the posterior longitudi il ligament on the back of the anterior functional unit, the interspin- is ligaments between the spinous processes, the ligamenta flava between ie vertebral arches, and the ligamentum nuchae, a fibro-elastic ligam which runs from the back of the head to all the spinous processes betwi n Ci...

The Pigeon Posture

The pigeon has a large, puffed-out chest, which we mimic in the pij. m posture. It is a superb advanced backbending pose in its completed fi m, but a preliminary version can be done by nearly everyone. We place it re because both versions work with hip flexibility on the right and left les simultaneously, producing extension of the hip joint for the thigh din ed to the rear and flexion of the thigh facing the front. To come into the preliminary pigeon, start in a hands-and-knees po - on, pull...

Structural Imbalances

When yoga instructors talk about structural misalignments of the body, they usually mean side-to-side imbalances distortions of our bilateral symmetry. And for this reason they often suggest that students either practice in front of a mirror to search out right-left discrepancies, or feel exponentially if they can bend or twist to one side more easily than the other. Only when teachers make such comments as, Square your shoulders, stand up straight, pull your head more to the rear, tuck the...

Movement And Posh Tu W

Neuromuscular Spindles

Spindle , and neuromuscular junction Figure 1.7. The myolatic stretch reflex. A 3-foot vertical jump momentarily stretches muscle spindles in all the extensor anti-gravity muscles of the lower extremities. The spindles then provide direct monosynaptic and almost immediate facilitatory input in ventral horn of spinal cord lo extensor molor neurons, resulting in strong reflex contraction of the individual muscles.

BKA mi

One breathing technique that can produce a beneficent effect on the autonomic nervous system is 2 1 breathing taking twice as long to exhale as to inhale. For those who are in good condition, 6-second exhalations and 3-second inhalations are about right, and if you can regulate this without stress, the practice will slow your heart down and you will have a subjective experience of relaxation. As with almost all breathing exercises in yoga, both inhalation and exhalation should be through the...

Abdominal Breathing With Active Exhalations

It is very easy to remedy the jerk at the beginning of inhalation. All yo have to do is maintain tension in the abdomen throughout exhalatioi especially toward the end, and merge that tension into the cycle of inhalatior Ifyou are uncertain of how to do this, first learn to emphasize exhalation i a contrived situation. Purse the hps so that only a small amount of air cai escape, and blow gently as ifyou are blowing up a balloon. Notice that th abdominal muscles are now responsible for the...

Reflexes

What Conscious Control Reflexes

So far our discussion has focused on neuronal connections from the top down from our intention, to the cerebral cortex, to upper motor neurons, lower motor neurons, and skeletal muscles. But there is something else to consider, something much more primitive and elemental in the nervous system that bypasses our conscious choices reflexes, or unconscious motor responses to sensory stimuli. In this context reflexes have nothing at all to do with the lightning-fast reactions fast reflexes that are...

Muscular Activity In The Shoulderstand

The rationale for calling the shoulderstand the all-member's pose shou. now be clear. It's not a balancing posture the body position is maintain by muscular effort. The internally supported shoulderstands in particul require a constant influx of nerve impulses to muscles throughout the bo lt You straighten the back by contracting the erector spinae, you press tl front of the pelvis toward the wall behind the head by tightening tl gluteal muscles, you extend the knees by tightening the...

Origins and insertions

Origins Insertions Simple Simply

We use the words origin and insertion to indicate where muscles are attached to bones in relation to the most common movement at a joint. The origin of a muscle is on the bone that is relatively or usually stationary, and the insertion of a muscle is on the bone that is most generally moved Flexion of the elbow is again a good example. Since ordinarily the arm is fixed and the forearm is moved, at least in relative terms, we say that the biceps brachii and triceps brachii take origin from the...

Hip Flexibility

Good hip flexibility is the most important single requirement for at least half the postures in hatha yoga- sitting and standing forward bends, lunges, triangles, sitting spinal twists, many variations of the inverted postures, and meditative sitting postures. So it is not surprising that we treat this topic over and over, and that we pick this chapter on forward bending to do so definitively. We'll look at it here mostly in supine, sitting, and standing postures, with the thighs both abducted...

Hci

Estretches For Lower Back

Coming into this intermediate stage of the angle posture provides ne with a golden opportunity for the study of muscle and joint mechanics, first, swiveling to face the right foot before starting to bend forward at the right hip creates intense tension in the left quadriceps femoris muscle, which should be countered by tightening the left gluteals. Second, hyperextension of the left 'high still standing straight forces the lumbar region into a deep lordosis, which should be...

Alveolar And Minute Ventilation

When we consider how much air we inhale and exhale over a period of time, the first thing we think of is the minute ventilation, the amount of air we breathe in and out over a period of 60 seconds. This is what we feel the touch of the breath in the nostrils, in and out, over a period of one minute. All you have to do to calculate your minute ventilation is measure your tidal volume and multiply that value times the number of breaths you take per minute. According to textbooks, this would be...

Three Variations Of The Classic Plow

Overhead Reach The Floor With Toes

The most flexible students can work with three variations of the classi plow. And because it's natural to follow a sequence from the first to th last, we can consider them stages of the plow as well as complete posturi in their own right. In all three postures you can either extend the arn behind you, flex them overhead, or use them to support the back. For the first stage lie supine on the floor and bring the feet overhe with the heels and toes together and the knees extended. Keep as mu lt 1...

Four Simple Stretches

The best way to approach standing postures is to start simply, and ie simplest standing stretches are those that do not require us to countei t gravity by tightening our lower extremities beyond what is needec 0 balance upright. This means that the torso is not bending backwa d, forward, or to the side. We'll start with the mountain pose. The mountain pose is the basic beginning standing posture fig. 4.15 , ft nn which all others are derived. To begin, stand with the feet together id parallel,...

1

Nutation is natural in upward-facing dogs in which you support the posture between the knees and the hands, but counternutation is more natural when the upward-facing dog is supported between the feet and the hands. For the latter, squeeze the hips together while keeping the toes either flexed fig. 5.14 or extended. The main object here is to engage the abdominal, gluteal, and deep back muscles strongly enough to initiate coming into the posture with a relatively straight body and the fullest...

S Backbekding Postures

Arched, the head and neck extended, and the anterior surface of the chest just above the surface of the water. Under these circumstances the body will rise and fall in the water with each inhalation and exhalation. Although the fish is a backbending posture, we also placed it in chapter 3 because an advanced abdominal exercise the superfish leglift fig. 3.19b can be derived from the pose. We'll analyze the simplest beginning fish here, and cover other variations of the posture with the...

Supine Twists

Supine twists, especially the easy ones, are welcome both at the beginning and end of a hatha yoga class because they are relaxing, energizing, and do n t require much effort. Along with simple hip-opening postures chapter 6 gt they are a good barometer both of stiffness at the start of a hatha yoga Session and of improvements in flexibility at the end Figure 7.7. The feet here are rotated out that is laterally about 70 . Figure 7.8. The feet here are rotated in that is medially about 45 . For...

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Lung Volume For Teenagers

Discussed earlier, is to drastically decrease this value so that the fresh air that you inhale is mixed with a smaller volume of oxygen-poor air. Lung volumes and capacities differ markedly in different hatha yoga postures and practices. For example, agni sara chapter 3 almost obliterates the expiratory reserve volume and increases the tidal volume from 500 ml to possibly 1,600 ml figs. 3.31-33 inverted postures chapters 8 and 9 decrease the expiratory reserve volume and shift the tidal volume...

Supine Backbending Postures

The standing and prone backbonds play an obvious role in hatha yoga. B t what is a supine backbend How can one do such a thing Oddly enoug i, this is indeed possible, and several of the most important t raditional bai bending postures in hatha yoga, including the fish, the wheel, and t e bridge, either start or end in a supine or semi-supine position. In additi n to that, in more recent times postures that support the back with a boh -r or a ball have become regular fixtures in many practice...

Extracellular Fluid And Mucus

When you are in the headstand, extracellular fluid accumulates in ie tissues of your head and neck, and as you begin to hold the pose for Ion r periods, these tissues start to swell. You'll turn red in the face, whicl is obvious, but the swelling also starts to impede the flow of air through ie nose and pharynx, making your breathing more labored and either fort lg you to breathe through the mouth or come out of the posture. Thi is usually temporary. If you continue to practice the headstand...

The Cobra Postures

Of the many forms of backbending postures, the prone backbends tl, cobra, locust, boat, and bow are the most widely practiced in hatha yog In contrast to standing backbends, in which gravity assists your movemei into the postures and resists your efforts to come up, in the prone backben lt you lift parts of the body away from the floor against the pull of gravity ai then return to your starting position with the aid of gravity Prone backbeni are harder than standing backbends because you are...

Backward Bending

It is logical to examine standing backward bends next because they an easy, simple, symmetrical, and natural. For beginners they are simply ai extension of standing up straight. Whole-body backward bending, more than any other posture, demonstrates th principle of setting priorities from distal to proximal. Try this experimen stand, lift your hands overhead, and clasp your hands and fingers togetln firmly. Press the palms together solidly, making sure that the hands do n lt angle to the right...

Threadingtheneedle

The threading-the-needle posture and its variants can be done at any time in a sequence of inverted postures. They prepare you for what is yet to come and relax you from what you just did. The threading-the-needle posture could also be called the moldboard plow posture, named for a modern plow that throws the dirt in only one direction. Another name for it is the trapezius stretch, named from how it stretches and stimulates that muscle fig. 8.10 . It is also one of the best postures for...

Seven Muscles That Act On The

Pectoralis Major

Seven muscles take origin from the scapula and insert on the hum is. The middle segment of the deltoid figs. 8.8-io and the supraspo us figs. 1.1 and 8.12 abduct the arm. Idling it to the side. The teres m or, acting synergistically with the latissimus dorsi, extends the arm, pulh it down and back figs. 1.1, 8.12 and 8.14 . The coracobrachial , acting s r-gistically with the pectoralis major, is a flexor and acts to pull the rn forward figs. 8.11 and 8.13 . The infraspinatus and teres minor...

Relaxation And Meditation

Seated Posture Tetrahedron

Between the axial skeleton and the lower extremities therefore gives the posture the shape of a right tetrahedron. The triangle formed by the lower extremities provides a firm base for the posture, the right angle between the base triangle and the upright axis of the spine is what makes the posture upright, while the upper extremities stabilize the upright axis and keep the torso from pitching forward. The erector spinae, the muscle complex that attaches between various vertebrae on the...

Benefits

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Torso Extension And Hip Flexion

A wall is also a good prop for working with passive extension in the lumbar region. From a simple headstand again facing away from a wall you can place both feet against the wall and walk them slowly down, or you can simply hold them within your reasonable limits, making sure you don't go so far down that you cannot comfortably walk them back up. Alternatively, you can stabilize one foot against the wall and bring the other one forward away from the wall . If you pull down vigorously on the...

Four Simple Twists

For the simplest and purest sitting twist, sit cross-legged on the floor, thrust the lumbar region forwaid, and establish full nutation of the sacroiliac joints. To aid those efforts pull on the knees frankly with the hands, which of course tenses the arms and shoulders. Next pull the shoulders down but at the same time create an axial extension of the torso. After getting settled, relax the upper extremities but without allowing the posture to deteriorate. Then, keeping your head level and...

The Enteric Nervous System

It was not until 1921 that the physiologist Langley published h i famous textbook in which he conceptualized and formalized the idea an autonomic autonomous nervous system. He also suggested th I the autonomic nervous system was made up of not two but thr lt components the sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric nervoi systems. He defined the latter as being comprised of the vast system nerve cells that resides in the wall of the gut by definition, the enti digestive tube from the oral cavity...

The Half Plow

To come into the half plow, begin in the supine position and lift up is though you are going to come into the shoulderstand, but pull the I 't further overhead. Try to keep the knees extended, at least on the start. 1 ie idea is to bring the lower extremities parallel to the floor, approximatin a 75 angle from the chest fig. 9- ' - If that is beyond your capacity you t n bend the knees slightly to take tension off the hamstring muscles. You lt n also flex the hips and spine a little less, so...

The Sympathetic Nervous System

The idea of the sympathetic nervous system goes back almost 2000 years, to Galen, who believed and taught that this complex of nerves permitted animal spirits to travel from one organ to another, creating sympathy among them. Here we are especially concerned with the sympathetic nervous system as a part of what we now recognize as the autonomic nervous system chapter 2 and figs. io.4a-b because the sympathetic component is generally sedated by breathing and relaxation techniques. It activates...

Inverted Torso Twists

When you are in the headstand you can do inverted torso twists that ai limited only by your imagination, strength, and balance. You can start wii a twist in a simple headstand and go from there to a twist with one thij. back and the other forward. Simple twists such as these can be done in tl open, but placing yourself near a wall adds to the possibilities. One is position the back of the head about two feet from the wall, come up into 11 headstand, and twist your lower body to the right so...

Hatha Yoga Neck Exercises

We ordinarily move the head and neck in highly stereotyped patterns md because these movements are common and natural in day-to-day life hey are also the safest. Hatha yoga neck exercises are another matter. The are done in isolation and are usually taken further than the moderate fie ion, extension, and twisting found in our usual activities. In hatha yoga exei ses we flex the chin all the way to the sternum, extend the head back as f. r as possible, flex the ear toward the shoulder laterally,...

Urea Thing

Figure Sitting Front View

HOW DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING AFFECTS POSTURE If you examine your body carefully when you are breathing diaphrag-jnatically in the easy crocodile fig. 2.24 , the cobra fig. 2.10 , or the diaphragmatic rear lift fig. 2.11 , you will notice that inhalation raises your posture up and back, and that exhalation lowers it down and forward. This principle also holds true when you are standing, sitting straight, or even lounging in a soft chair. During inhalation in all such postures the head moves back,...

Twisting At The Knees

Talis Lateralis

Until now, our discussion of the knee joints has focused on their actions hinge joints that permit flexion and extension. In chapter 5, we saw th t extension places the ligaments of the knee under tension and holds lt components of the joint together, and we saw that flexion permits t e ligaments to become lax. In this chapter we'll explore the one moveme t not yet mentioned rotation of the flexed knees. If you are sitting in a chair with the thighs fixed and parallel to the fl lt r, and with...

S The Headstand

Teres Minor Anterior View

Superficial muscles of be body 'Posterior v'ew Heck hamstrings biceps femoris. semitendinosus, semimembranosus Figure 8.10. Superficial muscles of be body 'Posterior v'ew Heck f igure 8.11. Intermediate layer of muscles anterior view Herk coracobrachit subscapt is biceps bi ,hii quadrtceps t vastus mec'i vastus intern vastus lateral distal segme rectus femori most of the cut away to i vastus interi f igure 8.11. Intermediate layer of muscles anterior view Herk levator scapulae...

Traditional Warning

Thoracic Breathing

Caut ions to be judicious and respectful of breathing exercises abound in the literature on hatha yoga. And it does indeed seem from anecdotal reports of explorers in this field that the rhythm and record of our respiration resonates throughout the body. It seems to accentuate whatever is in the mind, whether it be benevolence or malevolence, harmony or disharmony, virtue or vice. On the negative side, experienced teachers report that quirk-mess of any sort gets accentuated in students who go...

Movements Of The Head And Neck

Below the axis, from C2 to Ti, typical intervertebral disks separate he vertebral bodies of the spine. This limits movements between any wo adjoining vertebrae figs. 4.10 and 4.13a , but this segment of the spine ill provides us with mobility far above and beyond what we saw between he skull and C2 a total of about 90' of additional rotation, 80' of addit lal flexion, so' of additional extension, and 40 of additional lateral flexic on each side. If you concentrate, it is possible to isolate the...

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Cervical Spine Larynx

Travels in the opposite direction, first from the cells of the body to the heart in the systemic circulation, and then from the heart to the lungs in the pulmonary circulation fig. 2.1 and chapter 8 . Everything about the respiratory system is accessory to the movement of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Airways lead from the nose and mouth into the lungs fig. 2.2 . Air is pulled backward in the nose past the hard and soft palates, where it makes a 90 turn and enters a funnel-shaped region, top the...

How Long To Hold The Headstand

I used to have a habit of asking instructors publicly how long the ht d- stand could be held, and their answers, appropriately enough, reflected e level and experience of their audience. For a general class of young it inexperienced pupils, experts will ordinarily advise a i- or 2-min e maximum, or they will avoid the issue by saying that, you get most of ie important benefits in 3-5 minutes. One yogi traditionalist suggested t o minutes maximum for householders an Indian euphemism for those v...

Bronchiolar Dilation And Constriction

Breathing and relaxation go hand in hand. As we have seen, respirat n slows down naturally during the course of relaxation, and under carel ly monitored conditions 2 1 breathing chapter 2 can slow the heart r e. Relaxation also has an impact on how easdy air moves through the r- ways, and this is controlled by both the sympathetic and parasympath ic components of the autonomic nervous system. Exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and the releas gt f epinephrine adrenaline from the...

Relaxed Supine Twist

The three previous postures require at least some muscular activity. To contrast them with a relaxed supine twist, place the hands ilat on the floor and straight out to the sides, draw the heels toward the hips, cross the right knee over the left, and twist the lower part of the body to the right so that the knees are lowered toward the floor fig. 7.13 . There is little or no tendency for the opposite shoulder to lift off the floor in this mild posture, but it still may be tricky to relax in it...

Baroreceptors

In chapter 2 we looked at oxygen-sensitive peripheral chemoreceptors in f ie large arteries that lead from the heart to the head. We also have barorecept s at those same sites for detecting blood pressure. Increased blood preSM re in any posture stimulates the baroreceptors, which in turn affects both lin is of the autonomic nervous system it increases parasympathetic nerv lt is system input to the heart, and it reduces sympathetic nervous syst n input to both the heart and the arterioles all...