Yoga Beyond the Asanas

Yoga Beyond the Asanas

Yoga Beyond the Asanas

It is so important for us to get in touch with our bodies beyond the repetitive linear movement that is creating an imbalance, a shift in the structure and function of our bodies.  Yoga beyond the Asanas can help bring balance to the body, not by teaching form but exploring the Asana in action. It is important to explore the function of the Asana to share and understand the relevance of the action of the asana.

I hope that as you gain an understanding of the practical applications as well as the relevance of yoga, you will be able to find a particular asana you can use and explore to help with whatever may be showing up in the body.

Presenting yoga in a format that is available to everybody and these traits apply not just for the physical body, but the emotional body and the spiritual body.  You cannot change one without affecting the other.

It is important to look at the fundamentals of Yoga, exploring intentions as well as the mental side of the practice.  Looking less at the physical aspects, but giving you tools to use both on and off the mat.  It has become apparent the different story each body holds, and that a one size fits all approach is not helpful.  What is helpful is cultivating mindfulness, awareness and creating balance in an unbalanced body.

   Function Of The Asana

What is the function of the Asana?

The function, the purpose of the forward fold is to lengthen the hamstrings and release the back and neck. It is NOT to touch the floor or get the head closer to the feet.  This often means the legs need to remain bent so that you can release and lengthen the hamstrings while engaging the quads to facilitate and allow a release (we will talk about reciprocal inhibition later).

So keeping that idea in mind in regards to releasing the low back, we want to engage and maintain lengthen the abdominal muscles so that we can help create length and space in the low back. We want to maintain a state of extension creating space in the low back, not flexion creating compression and increase the risk of a disc bulge.

Asana in Action?

While sitting or standing, slowly hinge at the hips, coming forward with a flat back while actively tipping the pelvic bowl forward as you extend and lengthen the spine. NO ROUNDING of the back!

Something funny happens when we change the orientation of the body to the earth, and this simple action of tipping the pelvic bowl forward often gets confusing.  Think opening up the chest and gazing forward as you come down, go as far as you can go while comfortably gazing forward and rest your chest on your thighs. Yes, you just might have to bend your knees to do this. Bring your elbows in front of the knees pressing them into the chins to keep the back and chest long. Slowly you can begin the action of straightening your legs while you maintain contact with the thighs and the knees. DO NOT round the mid-thoracic back as you do so.

One way of doing this that I find to be even more effective ineffectively stretching the full length of the hamstring from attachment to insertion is to rest the bump up against the wall with the feet forward 2 feet or so, bending at the knees, resting the belly on the thighs as you use the elbows to press into the shin and lengthen the torso and gaze forward. As you begin to feel the release, actively push down through the feet and slowly explore straightening the knees while maintaining a pain-free the sensation of release.

So now that you have a little better understanding of the Asana in Action as well as the function of the asana, take a moment and explore your Yoga-Expression of a safe and effective forward fold.


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