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Minst en gång per år går jag på någon form av workshop för att fördjupa mig inom yoga. Favoriterna är alltid de som handla om anatomi. Idag var en sådan workshop och gick hem riktigt nöjd. Joe Barnett höll en väldigt intressant workshop som handlade om Yoga Alignment.

Den första yogaformen jag började med (och höll på med i flera år) var Ashtanga. Grunden jag fick lära mig där var att sträva efter raka linjer, t.ex. att långfingrarna är på en och samma linje i Adho Mukha Svanasana (hunden). Vägen till dessa raka linjer innebar dock en hel del modifikationer och anpassningar för individen. Linjerna var inget måste, utan en strävan som varje individ fick anpassa utefter. Denna workshop går ännu ett steg längre med att säga att det inte finns någon perfekt alignment (linjering). Däremot kan man använda sig av linjering för att deltagarna ska få en generell idé om hur de ska hitta positionen. För nybörjare kan det därför underlätta att fortsätta arbeta med symmetrin. För mer avancerade yogisar bör de istället inse asymmetrin i deras kropp och arbeta med denna.

Bifogar nedan mina anteckningar från workshopen. Observera att detta är mina tolkningar av vad som sades.

When you bend/stretch and it stops, it could be two reasons:

  1. to tight or 
  2. compression (bones are running in to each other). 

Last limitation you can’t force. People are constructed differently. The person next to you maybe can go further than you before the bones are running in to each other. 

So, how do you know which limitation it is? To tight or compression? The answer is that you often don’t know. It is easier to know which limitation it is in your arms and legs, but difficult to know in your spine or hip. Se examples below.

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Forearm

Example; straighten your arm. The ulna bone (armbågsben) has a hook that goes on the humeral. The ulna let us do a biceps curl, flexation and extension. When to extend it stops when the hook goes in the hole in the upper arm (humeral). Some people can extend more than others. one reason could be that they have a deeper hole in the humeral and another reason could be tha they have a smaller hook.

Avoid hanging on joints, from that point you are, micro bend your joints. As yoga instructor you don’t know if the students are in full extension. An arm that look straight could be a big bend for one person and for another it could mean hanging on the joints. It’s important to engage your muscles. But as yoga instructors we doesn’t know how it looks like for that person.

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The radius in your forearm is the bone at your thumbside. Radius does rotation: pronation and supination. When performing a pronation (palms angled downwards), the bones crosses and get to compression. For some this occurs at a rotation less than 180 degrees and others more than 180 degrees.

This matters in forearm stand. Those, who can not perform a 180 degrees pronation can’t have their forearms parallell in a forearm stand without at least one shoulder drops. When trying to get the forearms parallell, their body compensate by, for an example, dropping their shoulder. Yogis should focus on having their shoulders in alignment. Always dropping a shoulder has been shown given people inuries in the longrun. If the pronation is less than 180 degrees the yogis should widen the distance between their elbows slightly. Having your forearms parallell is a principal, not a rule. There is no perfect alignment. We want to give the students a general idea of what to do.

Each side in the body is different, often you can’t go to the same extension on both side.

Back

Upper back can only bend backwards slightly. The backbend occurs in the lower back. How much you could fold backwards depends of the distance between the vertebrae. For some the vertebrae comes together early and others can bend in half. People who are very flexible in theis back doesn’t means tha they are hyperflexibility. Doesn’t mean they are going to injure themself. Ask yourself (or your student): do you have any problem or pain with your back. If not, then it’s probably just as it should be. Cronical backpain often comes from fear.

You can’t look at someone and know how they are feeling in their body. A sway back is probably healthier when you get older than a back that isn’t.

Shoulders

Lift arm and it stops, hits the bone. Are you hitting bone or soft tissue between the bones? Squeeze more on soft tissue is possible, but it is compression. Look at the picture how different the bones are from person to person.

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In downwardfacing dog it could mean more alignment to not be in alignment in your hands, to get a better alignment in the shoulders. The important thing in downwardfacing dog is to be in alignment in the shoulders.

For beginners, however, you could still focus on the symmetrical. But, for the more advanced students, they should realize its asymmetry and work with that. Yoga teachers should learn the students intuition. The shape of the body can vary from day tomday.

In treepose (utkatasana) it is often impossible to have the arms to the ears while the shoulders is lowered. What should you do? Don’t get stuck in rules. If we want shoulders down, the arms will often go widen. If we want arms to the ears, people often has to lift their shoulders. 

Hip

More difficult to feel which limitation it is. If you feel it, it’s often indicate a problem there. If you’ve done a posture from year to year (more than once a week) and nothings happens, can’t go further, you’ve probably reach compression. You should keep the stretch to contain your flexibility. Your shape right now is perfect. Just remember to avoid hanging on joints. It’s important to engage your muscles.

Conclusion 

Function over estetic (how it looks like).

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