Ever been to a yoga class because you were having pain, only to find after the class you felt in more or the same pain? That’s because NOT ALL YOGA IS CREATED EQUAL. Most yoga classes and yogic postures are based on thousands of years ago and were actually designed for a males body type. Women’s bodies, joints and alignment are different from males, and not meant to excessively over rotate in the hips and pelvis.
Moreover, in ancient times, people spent their days out in the fields, hunting and gathering, on their feet walking and moving all day. So during their yoga practice, they needed that rest, relaxation, stretching and forward bending you see so frequently in yoga classes today.
Alternatively, in modern times, we are spending most of our days in the seated position, hovering over a computer screen, phone or tablet with rounded postures already. It is for this exact reason that we need to do the very OPPOSITE in our yoga practices in order to counteract the postures and positions we are putting ourselves in all day long. We need opening of the spine, hips, and shoulder girdles, AND movement with good muscle activation!
Many classes and postures typically practiced in yoga go into end ranges, often hanging or leaning into tissues with body weight, without an activated core, forcing and over stretching, making your tissues much more susceptible to injury. My yoga classes focus on posture alignment, core activation, and ACTIVE stretching. We can actually create MORE SPACE in the muscles, joints and fascial tissues by focussing on our breath and harnessing our core strength!
As I mentioned earlier, most of us are sitting on our rumps throughout most of the day, OR standing in the same (usually anteriorly tipped pelvis) position. This leads to a complete de-activation of our gluteal muscles. These muscles are meant to be our powerhouse muscles to help stabilize the spine and hips. When they are not working properly, other muscles will compensate leading to unnecessary movement in the pelvis and irritation of nerves.
What’s worse, many yoga instructors still use the cue “Relax your glutes” during poses such as bridge, wheel or cobra, causing a SERIOUS CONCERN for injury!
In my classes we start every class on the floor or chair in some fashion of engaging and activating your glutes followed by abdominal/core work so that they can both remain active and supportive for the body throughout the rest of class.
How about wrist pain? Most yoga can be very destructive to the wrists, as it requires a lot of weight bearing on the hands. But did you know that increased pressure and pain in the wrists is usually associated with a lack of strength in our scapular stabilizing muscles?
In each of my classes we begin by stretching our wrists to ensure they are optimally prepared for the weightbearing ahead, as well as focus on proper movements and position of the shoulder girdle and activation of our scapular muscles to help strengthen the shoulder girdle properly without causing nerve irritation or pain down into the wrists and hands.