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Yoga Anatomy and Alignment Blog

The Hidden Pulling Actions in Chaturanga or The Problem is Never the Pose

Amid the growing awareness that yoga asana is not always an infallible and complete physical workout, has been a tendency to dismiss certain poses (for example: wild thing, sleeping pigeon, chaturanga) as culprits of injury. The real culprit In reality, the culprits of injury — no matter the physical pursuit — are excessive repetition of movement […]

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How to Be a Mermaid: Smart Sequencing for Naginyasana

Want this sequence in a pretty, printable 1-page PDF? Click here for access.   One of the loveliest of yoga poses is Naginyasana, Mermaid pose. It’s a variation of the ever-popular “Pigeon Pose” (eka pada raja kapotasana), so Naginyasana involves deep backbending and front hip opening. Although it is challenging, it’s fairly accessible. With the right preparation […]

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Three Elements of Intelligent Sequencing

Yoga Anatomy Academy is about to throw down (a.k.a. post) our first yoga sequence on this blog. We thought we’d preface it with a behind the scenes break-down of how we think through creating a sequence. There are as many ways to sequence a yoga class (or personal practice) as there are individuals practicing yoga, and we have so […]

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Why Do Teachers Say Don’t Jump Back to Plank?

To Jump Back or Not to Jump Back (to Plank) Jumping back is a exciting and athletic transition in vinyasa yoga. From standing forward fold (uttanasana) at the front of your mat, you have the option to step back to plank then lower to the yoga push-up (chaturanga dandasana) or to jump back. Some teachers or traditions offer the option to jump […]

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Why It’s Safer to Teach Headstand in the Middle of the Room (not at the wall)

I don’t teach it often in group classes, but it might surprise some readers that when I teach headstand (Sirsasana A), I first teach it in the middle of the room. Headstand is an introduction to vertical inversions. It’s appropriate for yoga students with good body awareness, upper body strength and moderate lumbopelvic control. Although practicing in the middle of […]

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7 Reasons Your Heels Don’t Touch the Floor in Downward Dog

lengthen achilles yoga

Have you been practicing yoga for a while, and feel frustrated that you can’t get your heels to the floor in downward facing dog pose? There are a few reasons why heels-to-floor may not be happening for you. First let’s remember that Downward Facing Dog demands a ton of joint motion: approximately 45 degrees of ankle dorsiflexion (top of […]

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On Balancing Our Shoulders in Yoga – Pulling and Posterior Chain Activation

yoga pulling

There is a conversation ruffling the feathers of the yoga world around the lack of “pulling” in yoga asana. In some instances, this topic gets mixed with talk of lack of “posterior chain” muscle utilization. Is this true? Can our beloved yoga asana be incomplete? Before diving any further, a huge assumption must be dismantled: If you look to yoga asana for […]

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Does Ashtanga Yoga Hurt Your Knees?

 The Ashtanga Primary series contains a number of poses in which the hips are externally rotated with the knee or knees in maximum flexion. (Examples include: lotus, lotus variations, janu sirsasana variations — including janu sirsansana C, which externally rotates the shin bone on the femur), one pose in which the knee is fully bent, and the practitioner sits to […]

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Why Bridge Pose is NOT the Best Prep for Deep Backbends

Bridge pose, a.k.a. setu bandasana or setu bandha sarvangasana, can be used in a physical asana practice for a number of distinct purposes. For example, a physical therapist or personal trainer might use it to strengthen gluteal muscles, quads, hamstrings or lower back muscles, just to name a few possible targets (with small tweaks to the exercise […]

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Should You Keep Your Shoulders Back and Down?

arrow action of scapula in adho mukha svanasana

Check out the Heal Your Shoulders episode of the Yoga Talk Show podcast where Yoga Anatomy Academy founder Dr. Ariele Foster chats with Yoga Body founder Lucas Rockwood in more detail on the subject of the shoulder in yoga. Ever heard the cue “Keep your shoulders back and down”? This action can be helpful during many yoga poses, but […]

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