We were lucky enough this week to have a visit from Shades of Yoga’s resident Structural kinesiology and yoga therapy teacher. Queue… a fascinating session with lots of strange hand mudras and leg tapping…(from David not from us) each of us getting a personal consultation (queue massage table…heaven!) and one hell of a re-education of how our bodies work in yoga….
SO. dear readers, how to distil all these teachings for you so that you can also benefit and use them in your daily practice…I managed to grab a quick 5 mins with David and get his top 5 tips to help you strengthen your practice…
Number 1 – Wolffs law
Now this isn’t making sure that you don’t get eaten by Wolves!! Though that is always sound advice…Wolff was a German anatomist and surgeon who developed a theory that states that any muscle or bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolff’s_law) What he’s basically saying is that we need to engage our muscles to get a stronger response.
So how to apply this in your posture:
- Follow the normal rules to get into your posture
- Anchor to the central line – central line must be stable first
- Now activate all the muscles around the central line
Now activate those naughty little muscle that don’t want to work…you know the ones…they are happy to chill out and let the big muscles do all the work.
Try this exercise:
Get into Warrior 1 very slowly – thinking about the feet first – ground feet into the floor, push into the ground with your feet from the ball to the toes, push into the ground although your life depends on it. This will turn on all the muscles on in your legs. Now engage your core (engage your bandhas – mula in particular) and lift your arms above the head, shoulder width distance apart.
Lock from shoulder blades, lock elbows, lock wrists, now move the shoulder blades down your back. Feel every little muscle activated and energised… This is how you need to feel in every posture and getting in and out of every posture
NO LIMP YOGA
- Be strong, from core to periphery (from end to end, fingertip to fingertip)
- Think about extending your arms out to the side, locking the shoulders into their sockets…
- Push thumb away, open the fingers like you are playing a piano… and breathe…
- Use this in every pose, getting into and out of every pose…this will ensure all the muscles in the pose are switched on…
DO YOUR YOGA WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED
- In your own daily practice, close your eyes. Learn to listen to the subtleties of the pose, your body and how each muscle feels.
- Closing your eyes will make your other senses work much harder and you will be surprised what you will gain
GOING INTO THE POSE AND COMING OUT OF THE POSE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE POSE
- The greater the integrity, more muscles are doing their job correctly
- To get to a pose requires movement into the pose, and then you have to get out of it. All three stages requires muscle synchronicity and slow controlled movement..
But you may be asking…Why slow?
- Keeping the pace slow, controlled and constant you retain integrity (and keep those muscles working together). Without getting too technical….One muscle virtually hand passes to the next muscle like a relay race. Muscles exist in sequences or chains and most people have links turned off in these chains.
- The trick is to trigger these links to come on. Yes it can be done in yoga, but requires diligence and patience.
- Move slow and with total awareness.
YOU WERE BORN TO LEARN…
And you learn through failure, so don’t be afraid to have a go, fall out of poses, but do it with awareness and control. And most of all, be kind to yourself and your body… it has to last you a lifetime!!
More on David…he’s based in Busselton, 2 hours south of Perth…look him up if you are passing that way.