Lower-back pain in Savasana

Lower back pain in Savasana can be caused by tightness in the Hip-flexor muscles – mainly the Iliopsoas – that causes the pelvis to tilt forwards.

Hip-flexor muscles are found in the front of the body and are active in forward bending (bringing the head closer to the feet) and in any kind of leg-lifting (bringing the feet or knees closer to the head). One of the functions of the Iliopsoas is to maintain the natural curve (lordosis) of the lower back and if there is excessive tension in this this muscle, the lower back curves inwards more than it should. When someone lies on their back, it’s natural for the pelvis to tilt backwards and for the curve of the lower back to flatten but if the Iliopsoas is tight, the lower back will be painful. Continue reading

Elbow Pain and Vinyasa Yoga

Regular Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga practice can cause elbow pain at one or both sides of elbows or clicking sounds as the elbow is straightened, or locking of the joint. Some pain is caused by damage to ligaments or joints but elbow pain can be caused by unbalanced muscle function of the shoulder at the Glenohumeral* and the Scapulothoracic** joints and sometimes improves with corrective exercise that balances the muscles at these joints. Continue reading

Yoga As Exercise

Yoga has many health benefits, but there is a growing trend of yoga-related physical injuries and many physical therapists view yoga negatively. Unfortunately, these concerns are well justified. A lot of myth surrounds yoga asana practice: many people believe that asanas can somehow heal anything wrong with the body. Claims that regular muscle or joint pain from yoga practice is some kind of ‘opening’ or ‘healing’ should be treated with suspicion. Continue reading

‘Yoga Butt’ Injury

‘Yoga Butt’ is a term for a range of symptoms frequently experienced in Ashtanga and other forms of Vinyasa or Power yoga after a few months of regular practice. It often starts as

  • Pain or discomfort at either of the Ischial Tuberosities (sit-bones)
  • Discomfort in all forward bending and a feeling that the hamstring won’t stretch
  • Inflexibility or pain in Kurmasana and Supta Konasana. Continue reading

How Hinging From the Hips Creates Weak Gluteal muscles

Yoga practice usually starts with some form of Surya Namaskara and most sun salutations include moving from Samasthitih or Tadasasna to Uttanasana and back upright many times. These movements are often made by keeping the back straight and folding forwards at the hips, with the knees locked and rising back to vertical in the same position, lifting the head first. Continue reading

Wrist Pain from Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa, arm balances and handstands often leave yoga practitioners complaining of wrist pain, especially at the Ulnar side of the hand, that is, the base of the palm furthest from the thumb. Continue reading

Neck and Shoulder Pain in Yoga Practice

Problems in the Trapezius muscle are a major cause of neck and upper back pain. Although it is quite common to be told to relax the upper Trapezius and draw the shoulder blades down the back to avoid tension in the neck, many yoga practitioners do experience neck pain and tension, especially after vinyasa practices or from Pincha Mayurasana and handstands. Continue reading

Winging Shoulder-blades From Vinyasa Practice

The Scapulae are held close to the chest wall by the Serratus Anterior muscle. When this muscle is weak, the shoulder blades will lift off of the back, giving the appearance of wings. When this occurs on one side only, it is usually as a result of injury to the shoulder or chest wall, or damage to the nerves in the neck and should be assessed and treated by a qualified professional. Continue reading

Clicking Shoulders and Elbows with Vinyasa-Yoga Practice

Sometimes yogis whose practise incorporates a lot of vinyasa complain of clicking sounds in the shoulders and elbows, and even a restriction of motion in the elbows in some positions. Other unpleasant shoulder symptoms can include a pinching sensation between the shoulder blades, near the base of the neck, especially when doing head or handstands, or tingling or numbness in the fingers. Continue reading

Shoulders and Vinyasa-Yoga Injury

If you practise Ashtanga, or any other form of vinyasa yoga, Chaturanga is repeated many times. This asana strengthens the chest muscles and Latissimus Dorsi considerably, and many teachers tell students that shoulders and elbows must be in a straight line to protect the Rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder. Continue reading

Shoulder Flexibility with Yoga

Shoulder flexibility is usually very difficult for men to achieve. Unlike with hips, male and female shoulder structure differs only in size, and women mostly struggle to develop upper body strength, while men cannot get their elbows behind their ears. Strong women usually have similar inflexibilities to men and this is often related to differences in strength between chest muscles, Latissimus Dorsi and the rotator cuff, as well as posture. Continue reading