Forward Bending At The Ankles And In The

If you have average flexibility in the ankles, you will be able to flex (dorsi jx)

the foot no more than 20-30° and extend {plantorflex) the foot no more an

30-50°. But you need to flex the ankle 45° to drop the heels to the fit in hatha yoga postures such as the down-facing dog (figs. 6.17 and 8.2< as well as to sit in a squat (especially with the feet parallel) without liflin ¡.he heels (fig. 6.7). Mobility for extending the ankle is also needed for pos 1 res such as the upward-facing dog (fig. 5.13) and for sitting comfortably 01 the heels with the toes pointed to the rear. The pained facial expression: n a a

Figure 6.3. Hip flexion of up to about 150° is permitted when tension on t hamstring muscles is released by flexing the knee.

Figure 6.4. When the knee is held fully extended, the hamstrings limit mo people to less than 90" of hip flexion, in this case a simulated 80°.

Figure 6.3. Hip flexion of up to about 150° is permitted when tension on t hamstring muscles is released by flexing the knee.

Figure 6.4. When the knee is held fully extended, the hamstrings limit mo people to less than 90" of hip flexion, in this case a simulated 80°.

6 FORWARD HEKDINC. PUSH'RES 335

room filled with beginning hatha students trying to sit in such a posture reflects how rarely it is used in Western societies.

Flexion and extension at the ankle takes place at the talocrural joint, which is located between the distal ends of the tibia and fibula on one hand and one of the tarsal bones of the foot, the talus, on the other (fig. 6.8). The distal ends of the tibia and fibula form a hemi-cylinder (a cavity shaped roughly like half a cylinder) which articulates with the pulley-shaped upper surface of the talus. The rest of the bones of the foot permit little movement except for the metatarsals and phalanges, which become important when the feet and toes are flexed (that is, when the feet are dorsiflexed and the toes are curled toward the head) and when they are extended (that is, when the feet are plantarflexed and the toes are pointed away from the body).

As in all joints, movements of the ankle are limited by muscular tension, ligaments, and bone, and it is tension in the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles (figs. 3.10,7.6, 8.y-io, and 8.12) on the hack of the leg that first prevents you from pressing the heels to the floor in an attitude of flexion (that is,

Figure 6.5. With the thighs adduited, the hamstring muscles permit about 80° of hip flexion.

figure 6.6. With the jhighs abducted, the '"creased tension on •he adductors (some which have a hamstring character) <jan further limit hip "exion, in this case to about 60".

Figure 6.5. With the thighs adduited, the hamstring muscles permit about 80° of hip flexion.

figure 6.6. With the jhighs abducted, the '"creased tension on •he adductors (some which have a hamstring character) <jan further limit hip "exion, in this case to about 60".

V(f> ANATOMY OF HATHA YOGA

dorsiflexion) in the down-facing dog. Extension (that is, plantarfle.i ,n) is more likely to be checked by ligaments and bone, although tension u he flexors, which ate situated on the anterior sides of the bones in the gs, will curb extension in everyone whose ankle flexibility is severely lin ed. Over time, extension of the ankle joint takes care of itself with the pra ice of postures such as the upward-facing dog with the toes extended (fig. 13) Developing the capacity for flexion is more difficult because the gastrocm ius and soleus muscles, as well as the ankle joints, have developed lil >ng habits for functioning within limited lengths and ranges of motion. Bi des the down-facing dog, possibly the best practice for correcting an incai ity for flexion is simply to sit in a squat for 2-3 minutes several times a d At first you can squat with your feet well apart and your toes angled out < :lely enough to permit your heels to reach the floor (fig. 6.9), and after you iave acclimated to that you can gradually bring your feet closer togethi and parallel.

Figure 6.7. Excellent ankle flexibility for flexion is required for squatting flat on the floor with the feet together and parallel.

Figure 6.7. Excellent ankle flexibility for flexion is required for squatting flat on the floor with the feet together and parallel.

5 metatarsals

14 phalai es talocrural joint fibula calcaneus lateral malleolus

figure 6.8. The 28 bones and 25 joints associated with each foot and ankl support the weight of the body and accomodate to uneven surfaces for \ "<'nB and running. The talocrural joint is the one which we are constantly awai of 'n hatha yoga because that is where we experience the flexion and extensir of the ankle needed (anil frequently lacking) for so many postures (Sappey)

tarsal bones figure 6.8. The 28 bones and 25 joints associated with each foot and ankl support the weight of the body and accomodate to uneven surfaces for \ "<'nB and running. The talocrural joint is the one which we are constantly awai of 'n hatha yoga because that is where we experience the flexion and extensir of the ankle needed (anil frequently lacking) for so many postures (Sappey)

fibula

5 metatarsals calcaneus

14 phalai es tarsal bones lateral malleolus talocrural joint

The Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath

The Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath

A complete guide on Eastern practices of breathing, mental, psychic and spiritual development. The book teaches that Yoga is divided into several branches, ranging from that which teaches the control of the body, to that which teaches the attainment of the highest spiritual development.

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