Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Lessons from yoga - There's always more to learn

Learning shouldn't stop when you leave school.  Discovering more about the world gives you a zest for life and a lively mind.  It could also prevent dementia in later life.  If you go to classes to learn that's even better because we can socialise as we learn which also has beneficial effects on health.  

In our yoga practice too there is always more to learn whether you are a beginner or a yoga teacher with many years of experience. In this week's video I will illustrate this with a back bend and forward bending practice. We may think that back bending merely requires flexibility in the spine but did you know flexibility in the shoulders and hip flexors also help with back bending? As beginners we are keen to back bend deeply from the outset.  The problem with this is that the lower lumbar spine tends to be more mobile than the upper thoracic spine.  We then run the risk of 'jarring' the lower back or creating pinching in the lower back.  In the video we do a pose to open up the thoracic spice leading to an even stretch along the length of the spine.  In the video we practice several back bends before the peak pose, Wild Thing as well as shoulder and hip flexor openers.  Wild Thing is an advanced backbend so I will also show you modifications. I am hoping is that after the preparation we do you will come to enjoy this exilerating back bend. 

Forward bends are often practiced as a counter pose to back bends.  We will end the video with a seated forward bend. If you have tight hamstrings forward bending can be difficult and you should never strain or you could injure your hamstrings.  But did you know that you can help your hamstrings release through a process called reciprocal inhibition? Without going into too much detail, if you contract your quadricep muscles, your hamstrings will release.  We test this out in the video 'Lessons from yoga-There's always more to learn'-https://youtu.be/oH6EFPf0Sik on my YouTube Channel. 

Janet x

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