The Extremities

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Getting Powerful Shapely Glutes

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To do this advanced version of the shoulderstand successfully, t e tendency for forward bending also has to be supressed at the hips, wh h means keeping the hips extended. The main muscle responsible for 1 s is the gluteus maximus. As seen earlier (figs. 3.8, 3.10, 8.9-10, and 8.1 ), this muscle takes origin from the back of the ilium and sacrum and is two insertions, one into the iliotibial tract (which as suggested by s name bypasses the knee and attaches to the tibia; figs. 3.8 and 8.12),; d the other directly onto the femur (fig. 3.8b, 3.10, and 8.12). The gluh is maximus is the heaviest muscle in the body, and you can immediately I el it tighten up on both sides as you try to hold the thighs extended in ie advanced shoulderstand. The effort that tightens the gluteus maxii is also squeezes the hips together, with the result that this posture h< Is the sacroiliac joints in a position of counternutation—that is, with e ischial tuberosities pulled toward one another, the ilia spread apart, a d the promontory of the sacrum rotated between the ilia to the rear.

As you try to bring the body straight in the candle pose, you will not it first feel much tension on the front of the thighs, but as you increase ye r efforts to extend the thighs with the gluteus maximus, the quadrict s


femoris muscles (figs. 1.2, 3.9, 8.8-9, and 8.11) finally counter Lhat effort antagonistically, which you can easily confirm with your hands because they are nearby From the knees down, you have options: if the feet are extended, you will be mildly stretching the muscles on the front of the leg, and iTthey are flexed, you will be stretching the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles in the calves (figs. 3.ioa-b, 7.6, 8.9-10, and 8.12).

Since the arms and forearms are positioned along the chest and thighs, you wouldn't think they were contributing to the posture. But the upper extremities also include the scapulae, and when you come into the candle pose you are adducting and depressing these two triangular bones. This ultimately results in lifting your weight off the nape of the neck and taking some of the pressure off the spinous processes of C7 and Tl.

This version of the shoulderstand is the definitive all-member's pose. From head to toe, muscles are either activated isometrically or stretched. Extensors of the hips and spine straighten the body, acting synergistically with muscles of the upper back that depress and adduct the scapulae. In combination, the back and hip extensors also resist flexion of the spine and hips. The body becomes like a pry bar pushing the sternum against the chin, and the resulting tension creates significant traction in the neck. How different from the headstand, in which you hold only enough muscular activity to balance on the top of the head.

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Lessons in Raja Yoga

Lessons in Raja Yoga

An easy to understand book on the principles and practices of Raja-Yoga alike. It teaches the eight steps

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