Using hip muscles effectively in yoga practice – part 1: bridging and back bending

Weak Gluteal muscles are very common amongst yoga students and teachers alike and cause Sacroiliac pain and dysfunction, lower back pain and hamstring injury. Causes and symptoms are covered in the article on yoga butt and this post looks at the effects of various hip movement cues taught in yoga. Different instructions are required to address individual movement problems and it is up to the teacher to learn to identify problematic movement habits and teach useful corrections, because students can’t see themselves and are often unaware of their habits. This topic will be in two parts: the first looks at the role of the Gluteal muscles in bridging and back-bending and the second at how the hip muscles are commonly used in standing poses and forward bending. Continue reading

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

So, can yoga really wreck your body?

Currently, there’s a heated discussion in the yoga world as to whether yoga really can wreck your body, following the publication of an article in the New York Times. Personally, I agree with the writer of the article, based on painful experience. But despite that, I still practice yoga, mostly as self-practice because I agree with Glen Black that a yoga practice needs to be something that suits an individual’s body, not something that comes in one-size-fits-all packages. Yoga has many health benefits, but as a fitness fad, yoga can only be injurious and many denialists have rubbished suggestions that yoga causes injury but that’s probably because they have not felt that kind of pain themselves. Continue reading

Anterior Pelvic Tilt in Yoga Practice

When the hip-bones tilt forwards, creating an arch (lordosis) in the lower back, you have anterior pelvic tilt, one of the main causes of lower back pain. Some people, mainly women, have a lower back that is naturally lordotic. This is due to the shape of their Sacroiliac joints, and is not necessarily painful or problematic. Continue reading

Reciprocal Inhibition and the Hips

Reciprocal Inhibition is a process that the body uses to create movements. All movement is controlled by opposing sets of muscles, called Agonists or prime movers, and Antagonists that create the opposing force which returns the part being moved back to its original position. Movement is also aided by other surrounding muscles, called Synergists, and they mostly function as stabilisers, so that movement can occur in a controlled way. Continue reading

Sacroiliac Joints and Yoga

Sacroiliac problems are common in yoga – Chiropractors consider the Sacroiliac joint to be the most common cause of lower back pain, more prevalent than disc problems.
The Sacroiliac joint is believed to act as a shock absorber between the legs and the spine and although its movements are very small, restrictions at the joint cause great pain as well as difficulty in forward bending. Continue reading

Lower Back Pain and the Sacroiliac joint

There is some controversy amongst various branches of the health profession about the relevance of the Sacroiliac Joint in lower back pain – Chiropractors consider it to be a major cause of lower back pain, although many other branches of the health profession do not, because none of the body’s muscles are capable of creating movement at this joint and its movements are very small and difficult to assess. Continue reading