Introduction to Postural Yoga
As a yoga practice becomes more nuanced, you may begin to notice certain dominant patterns in your body. In other words "your natural tendencies." Feet may turn in or out slightly, a shoulder may roll in or sag, knee caps may not face forward, etc. These postural dysfunctions if not corrected can become more and more pronounced as we age limiting range of motion with the possibility of needing surgery to correct. (Knee replacement, hip replacement rotator cuff surgery, etc.)
The questions become What causes these misalignments? and How do we fix them?
1st The Cause:
Research by Dr. Vladmir Janda in the 1970's showed that the problem is muscle imbalance. Each muscle has an opposing muscle. If one is too strong relative to the other, a joint can be pulled out of its correct alignment increasing the probability of an injury. One of the first yoga principles taught to me was balanced action. The muscular actions of the body should be balanced front to back, side to side, top to bottom. In other words the agonist (muscle that takes an action) should be balanced against its antagonist(muscle that apposes that action). As an example, the bicep opposes the tricep. If the bicep is too strong relative to the tricep, there may be difficulty straightening the elbow. If the tricep is too strong relative to the bicep, elbow hyper extension may result.
2nd The Fix:
Dr. Janda's research found that certain muscles in the body tended to be tight and strong(Postural Muscles) and others tend to be weak(Phasic Muscles). Over time the postural muscles will over power the the opposing phasic muscles causing a potential host of joint problems. A yoga practice that encourages balanced muscular action is good for both prevention and cure.
Ken has been teaching yoga since 2003. He evolved into his yoga practice after teaching karate for 16 years, earning a 4th degree Black Belt. He has learned through his varied experience that yoga is the source of many other physical, intellectual and spiritual disciplines. Ken has the ability to clearly and simply explain complex information in an understandable format. Helping students connect with the bigger energy to feel the flow of Prana, Chi or Ki has always been his primary focus.
Be sure to look for Ken's next blog:
1. Identifying Postural and Phasic muscles
2. The basic Postural Yoga alignment Principle