The feet are often the literal foundation of yoga poses, yet they are largely overlooked. And for good reason: it’s hard to get aware of the feet, as they’re so peripheral, and our awareness tends to center on our bigger muscle groups. I remember in one of my first yoga classes when the yoga teacher said to lift and spread your toes, and I looked down at my feet and attempted to move my toes, but nearly nothing happe
This is the story of how a very small muscle did some very big things for my yoga practice. If you’ve been in class with me lately, you may have noticed that I have become a one-gal glute med cheering section. That’s because this little muscle helped me find relief from my nagging hip pain, stabilized my inversions and single leg balancing poses, protects my hamstring attachments, and even makes my pigeon pose more e
Last month we started looking at the shoulder joint, and examined some simple observational diagnostics. As I wrote in that article, yogis need to be mindful not to depress the shoulder girdle, and I think many practitioners have misinterpreted instructions that include ‘shoulders down the back’ or ‘shoulders away from your ears.’ But it’s not the structure we were looking at in tadasana last month that causes injury
In this two-part blog on shoulder alignment, I’d like to clear up a common shoulder misconception I regularly see. I know a lot of us have heard instructions like ‘relax your shoulders away from your ears,’ ‘slide your shoulder blades down your back,’ or even ‘press your shoulders down.’ These are well-intended instructions that I think aim to combat tension in the upper traps a lot of get n the modern world.
The back leg in asymmetrical poses is naturally in a shadowy, hidden location. Since it’s out of our line of vision, it is often difficult to align. Because we can usually see the front leg in an asymmetrical pose, we’ll use our vision to help tune up its alignment, and it is indeed often the first thing we notice in a pose. But here’s the rub: alignment of the front leg is largely dependent upon the back leg’s posit
The body is an interconnected system of moving parts governed by the laws of physics in the greater world around it. Dysfunction in one part of the body may tax other parts of the system, while healthy function in one area can upgrade and contribute to health in other areas, I see this in the natural curves of the spine and how they are expressed in yoga poses. I recently wrote about the lower back, and the most comm
The illiotibial band (commonly called IT band) is a thick strip of connective tissue that connects several muscles on the outside of the thigh. It extends from the outer hip to the outer shin, and although it is not a muscle, tightness in this band affects the muscles it connects, and also destabilizes the knee. Why does it get tight? Two reasons: overuse (of the muscles that it connects) and poor stretching. Overuse