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Posts Tagged ‘Hatha Yoga’

Maintain a Healthy Spine Through Yoga

Posted on June 17th, 2016 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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By Paul Grilley

Some yoga instructors insist that students avoid curvature of the spine by insisting on tucking the pelvis. But any healthy movement can be overdone. Rather than insist on always having the pelvis tucked encourage your students to utilize the full range of pelvic motion in their practice.

Bad News Ballet?

The idea that a “tucked pelvis” is good for you comes from ballet. Ballerinas are taught to tuck their pelvis so they can spin on a straight axis. It is difficult to spin multiple times if the pelvis is not tucked. Ballerinas are also taught to tuck their pelvis so they can maximize the height and appearance of leg extensions. Many yoga instructors are former dancers and it is habitual for them to remind students to tuck their pelvis.

If ballet is bad for you, why imitate it?

Well, number one: ballet is not bad for you. Much of ballet training is about balance, stretching, and learning to isolate movements. This is good for you. Number two: tucking the pelvis is a natural movement you should learn how to do. It only becomes destructive if you remain stuck in that position.

Is an arched pelvis better than a tucked pelvis?

The last two covers of Yoga Journal magazine feature photos of young women in deep backbends. This is the opposite movement to a tucked pelvis. The poses look beautiful and one can’t help but admire the ease and range of motion of the models. But I doubt if anyone would think it healthy for someone to habitually hold their spine in this deep bend. If anyone attempted to do so, the discs in their back would degenerate painfully.

Then is a neutral position best?

Constantly arching the spine is unhealthy. Constantly tucking the spine is unhealthy. So should we live our lives in a timid neutrality of spine position, neither tucking nor tilting the pelvis? The answer is an emphatic “No!” The neutral spine position is how office workers live their lives, and statistics show that 80 percent of them will suffer serious back problems.

Inhale and exhale, tuck and arch, life is about movement.

To have a healthy spine, we must systematically move it through its full range of motion. This means sometimes we tuck the pelvis to flatten the spine, sometimes we tilt the pelvis to arch the spine, and sometimes we keep the spine neutral. This is the Taoist view of life, a constant alternation from one opposite to another. The contraction and expansion of the heart are opposites, but by alternating they are the Tao of circulation. The expansion and contraction of the lungs are opposites, but by alternating they are the Tao of breathing. Tucking and tilting the pelvis have opposite effects on the curve of the spine, but by alternating they are the Tao of posture.

Tuck it and arch it.

When practicing backbends such as the Cobra, don’t try to tuck the pelvis but let the spine arch. When practicing forward bends such as Paschimottanasana, don’t try to tilt the pelvis but let the spine round. These are normal movements for the lumbar spine, and to fight against them is to nullify the effects of the poses. Of course, overstretching an already injured spine could make it worse. But sooner or later, the goal of all physical rehabilitation is to regain the natural range of motion. Yoga practice helps us retain our full range of motion so we can easily alternate from a tucked pelvis with a straight spine to a tilted pelvis with an arched spine. Both these movements are necessary to maintain healthy posture.

 

To learn more about Paul Grilley, visit his website at www.paulgrilley.com and check out his DVD’s and online courses here at Pranamaya.

Paul Grilley:  A well-known master of yin yoga, Paul brings a thorough grounding in Hatha and Ashtanga yoga as well as anatomy and kinesiology to his teaching, which integrates the Taoist yoga of martial arts master Paulie Zink and the Chinese meridian and acupuncture theories of Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama. Paul’s book, Yin Yoga: Principles and Practice, explains how yin yoga can teach us to relax, be patient, be quiet, and focus on the skeleton and its joints—a necessary counterpoint to today’s more ubiquitous muscular yoga.

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Moon Rises- Hip Opener Tutorial with Jill Miller

Posted on September 8th, 2015 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Jill Miller shares this dynamic sequence from her Yoga Link: Hip Helpers DVD. This is hip opener a great addition to your practice especially if you have tight hips and psoas muscles. Jill says” the psoas muscle is a cable like muscle that shares attachments with the diaphragm and large intestine. Because it is linked to our physiology and our nervous system in way s that other muscles are not, it is truly a vortex that effects the entire well being of the body. Doing exercises that bring balance to the body help us align our posture  and we can once again became vital.

You can find out more about Jill Miller on Pranamaya and if your hips need a little help, check out the DVD Yoga Link: Hip Helpers

Use the Promo code SACREDCOW for 10% off at checkout.

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How to Meditate If You are a Hatha Yogi

Posted on July 10th, 2014 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

It’s my experience that people who are tied to movement need unmoving mediation even more than others. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and commonly our strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin.

If you are very strong in movement, and it is wise to exploit that, but it is also wise to explore it’s opposite.

What sitting meditation does, that no other practice does, is island the mind. It takes the attention away from any hypnotic crutches–music, movement, chant, etc. and offers us the challenge of seeing our thought-habits in their nakedness and working from there. It is always a challenge. It is often frustrating. It commonly reveals to us who we really are, and that can be discomfiting.

For all of these reasons, meditative practice is called Raja Yoga. It is the king (raja) of transformational practices, the one that gives the greatest boons, and–although it is simplest–is often the most difficult.

Make your Raja Yoga simple. Do it first thing in morning. Set your alarm. Sit until the alarm goes off. Set the alarm again. Write gratitude thoughts to fill the (somewhat!) emptied mind with nutrition, until the alarm goes off again. Wa-lah! You have completed your meditation for the day.

This blog post originally appeared on http://prasanayoga.com/ thank you to Eric Shaw.
Photo by Lesa Amoore

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Does Buddhism Belong in Yoga?

Posted on April 1st, 2011 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Yoga classI recently wrote an article for a yoga magazine where I inadvertently used a Buddhist term to describe what I thought was a yogic concept.  The editor pointed this out to me (and said we couldn’t use the word or the concept in the article).  At first, I was a bit embarrassed: How could I have gotten my traditions confused? But it also got me thinking about how often Buddhist terms do find their way into yoga classrooms these days, and how much our yoga path has become influenced by Buddhism.  Read More »»

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Q&A: Mark Horner on Preparatory Practices

Posted on July 10th, 2010 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

internal cleanseThis month, The Sacred Cow talks to Mark Horner, a San Francisco Bay Area-based Shadow Yoga teacher, about the importance of preparatory work in asana practice.

Preparatory work consists of simple, yet dynamic movements and positions that are given to a student to practice before he or she even begins an asana practice.  They are an important part of Shadow Yoga, which was developed by master teacher Zhander Remete and is an evolving style of yoga that draws from the shared principles of Hatha Yoga and self-cultivating arts like martial arts and dance.

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