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Yogaland

Summer Series! Ep 4: Twisting, Strengthening, & Folding Your Spine

On the last two episodes, Jason offered some tips for working with your hips and shoulders. On this installment, we’re moving to the central axis — the spine. Jason shows off his superior maths skills by sharing that we for every 10 Sun Salutations we do 50 forward bends to every 10 backbends!! He also offers ideas for strengthening the muscles that help you rotate, and talks about everybody’s (least favorite) pose — you guessed it, Locust Pose.

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3 Comments

  1. Hello Andrea and Jason,

    thanks for a great podcast, it is my favorite one!

    I have a couple of questions that I would love for you to comment on on the podcast. I am a yoga teacher, and the first questions is more techniqual, while the other is more on the personal side (hope you don’t mind). Here goes:
    1) In Urdhva danuarasana, many teachers que that you should keep the feet parallell, and avoid rotating them outwards. I have never fully understood WHY this is better from an anatomical point of vieew. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    2) I was wondering if you ever do your yoga practice together, and if so, how do you do that? Does Jason lead it, do you do it in sync., or do different flows but practice them together?

    Thanks alot, keep up the good work!

    Sending love from Norway,

    Maja.

  2. Hi Jason and Andrea!

    Loving the podcast!
    I also have a question concerning backbends.
    I have sensitive knees, but I think I found a way to maintain a healthy practice with those sensitive knees (fingers crossed). The only thing that I experienced lately and that I don’t know how to resolve is tension in the knees while doing a backbend. I feel it the most in Ustrasana and for sure in Sethu Banda. It feel’s like tension from the inside out. (I also feel it when I do the classic quads stretch while standing up.)
    Any thoughts about the knees in backbends? Have you every encountered this yourself or in class? What should or could I be (more) mindfull of?
    Thank you so much!
    Many greetings
    Valerie
    Antwerp, Belgium

    1. Hi Valerie!
      I’m going to let Jason offer more technical input, but I’ll just say that I absolutely used to experience similar knee pain — definitely in Setu Bandha and in standing quad stretches. Also in Bhekasana (Frog Pose). I had many Iyengar teachers try to “solve” it for me, to no avail. After so many years of practice the pain is gone and I’m not even 100% sure how or why. But, I suspect it’s because of two things: First, I found a quad stretch that doesn’t hurt my knees (for me, it’s Low Lunge Quad Stretch). And second, I don’t even attempt poses that hurt my knees — like Bhekasana. I can do Bridge Pose now, but I can’t hold it for an especially long time, so I simply don’t. Actually, I’ll add one more idea: I’ve worked for a long time on strengthening my inner legs (adductors), so that when I come into a backbend, I hug in toward the midline. I might not come as deeply into the backbend, but it’s a better action for me — instead of feeling like I’m pushing up, I’m hugging in. Hope that helps! Andrea

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