Shoulder-stand and headstand: why are we doing them and how are we doing so safely. Look at them not as balancing postures but as strength postures.
Today unfortunately many students hurt their knees when performing postures and as the main culprit often the lotus and half-lotus postures are singled out. These postures, however, are completely safe as long as two things are observed:
They are attempted only if the student is well-prepared through the performance of other postures in which she is to become proficient first (ideally assessed by a capable teacher).
When lotus and half-lotus postures are performed scrupulous attention is paid to minor details concerning the way in which the leg is placed in and taken out of half-lotus.
I still find that the basics of forward bending are often poorly understood. Especially the importance of sacrum nutation and active release in forward bending are frequently ignored. Let’s have another look at Pashimottanasana:
The secret to being able to jump through in a vinyasa is not in the ability to jump but in the ability to brake! Everyone can jump. In fact you hold yourself back from jumping if you do not have the strength to brake your jump. Your body inherently knows if you do or do not have that strength and will even override your conscious attempts to jump in order to protect you. Luckily! How brilliant is that?!
A common cause of low back pain is when our deep core muscles do not fire before we actually move our trunk or limbs. This can easily happen from prolonged sitting, from too many forward bend postures or even after an episode of low back pain, where the hip flexor muscles override the stabilising role of the deep transverse abdominis muscle.
Leg-behind-head postures are some of the most important, effective and beneficial yoga postures. They open the hip joints, a work that will continue later on through the extreme hip rotations. This process is essential in releasing life force from its reservoir at the base of the spine, it’s ascent leading to divine involution.
Leg-behind-head postures are also instrumental in developing the organs of the thoracic cavity, viz the heart and the lungs through producing a strong oscillation of intrathoracic pneumatic pressure and the weight that they make the ribcage strong and supple through weight and pressure that they apply. […]
There seems to be a lot of confusion around stretching and I am often asked the questions, “What are we actually stretching?”, “Are we stretching muscle or fascia?” and “Should we stretch ligaments?”. One important principle we first need to understand is that stretching will be a different experience depending on your degree of mobility.