• massage, yoga samprema

Sthira sukham – Fully awake with comfort and lightness

Many ask and wonder about the asana practice and how difficult it is and how much there are yoga relatated injuries. I think about it like this; how difficult it is to make a ”hat trick” and how many injuries there is in football? I know it isn’t quite the same. In fact the injuries with Yoga is less than in many other practices (as I don’t like to speak about yoga as a sport) and them often aren’t that serious. But them do happen and who is reponsable of someone getting hurt on a yoga class? These are good questions. This post is more directed to the teachers nor students, but to everyone wondering how to handle the heat when something happens and most important HOW TO PREVENT it from happening?

Like many of us Yoga teachers we teach many times blended classes, there some are totally new to asanas and some have been practicing maybe even longer than the teacher her / him self. It can be really challenging to keep the class simple at the same time you need to be able to offer the more advanced practicers more advanced asanas to work with. Some times is good to be challenged to try something new and more challenging but sometimes it’s better to choose a easier asana even when you could go further. Some times the classes can include 30 individuals or more and it gets really hard to keep your eyes on everyone. Maybe you manage to help some and some times you se that the best is to guide with words to clearify what is happening and what to avoid. How ever it’s totally un-human to think that we se everything even when we really are present 120% for our students. And as a teacher it is good to remember that there should always be modifications and alternatives for each level and it isn’t really that hard; startin with the easier modification -> Deepening untill you maybe offer the full final position. It’s so important to remember this. We only do our best and the rest is up to the students.

What i meen with that the rest is up to the students / practicers is that everyone of us have to be reponsable over our own practice and our own body. If something feels bad; ask for help if the teacher doesn’t se you in that moment. Listen to the signs of your body. Is there pain? What kind of pain is it; sharp, just uncomfortable, tension…? Maybe you need to back out of the position, maybe stay or take a easier modification. But as a teacher, I can’t feel your body – Only You can. So to keep injuries free, You need to be awake, honest and completely present in your body. It’s on the every practicers own responsability to say ”No thank you” to hands on guidning and to stay in the asanas in the right level. Only you know what is your status for today and how your body feels. If you do that, I can assure you will keep injury free. And if something with time starts to feel bad, let your teacher know and maybe she / he can help you with the problem.

STHIRA SUKHAM ASANAM.

 -Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Sthira is to be awake and present and Sukham is to be light and comfortable. Asanam is in many caises said to be a meditative or seated pose.

I use the Sthira Sukham in all postures there you stop the movement for a while. Because for me even the asana practice can be deeply meditative. You want to feel the steadiness and the depth of a asana but if the easiness of the breath is lost the position is maybe to challenging that day. Even in the easiest postures is possibilities to find great amount of growing strenght if you just want to study the body deebly enough. It’s all about the balance as everything in life. Daring to challenge but not forgetting to give the progress the time it needs. Be a good yogi. Your body will Thank You!

Namaste!
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                              

Sat Karma Kriyas – Yogic Cleansing rituals

These is many ways to practice Yoga as we all know. These is so many other ways than just the asanas on out mats. It’s the way we act and react. It’s the way we treat our selves and others. But it can also be practice of old Yogic and ayurvedic rituals like the Sat Karma Kriyas. A serie of cleansing rituals for both body and mind.
Hathayoga Pradipika describes six different cleansing methods for body and the are recommended to do along with asana and pranayama practice. These methods are told to strengthen and support asana and pranayama practices ability to move Prana. These techniques are according many distasteful but tehty have been playing a huge roll in the development of Yoga. These techniques are practices by a minority of Yoga practicers any many of these Yogis online practice Somero of the and rarely them all.

SHAT KARMA KRIYAS 

Shat comes from the word six, Karma från action and Kriya is cleansing/ purifying.

1. Neti = cleansing of nose and the upper breathing organs

Jala Neti, pouring salt water through one nostril in and the water runs out from the other nostril. Repeat even other way. Watch a video clip HERE.

Sutra Neti, a rubber string that is slowly pushed through nostril to the oral cavity. Watch a video clip HERE.

2. Dhauti = cleansing of throat and stomach.

Vaman, drinking 2 liters of saltwater and causing puke reflex and emptening the stomach.

-Dan Dhauti, the rests of saltwater that is left in the stomach removes by a rubber tube.

-Vastra Dhauti, swolloing long piece of cotton rack to clean up the very last of the salt water and mucus from stomach.

3. Nauli

Yogi learns to control with lift and rotate of the M. Rectus Abdominis to strengthen and massateini the inner organs.

4. Basti

Cleansing of Rectum and Colon through water that is lead in through anus, much like water enema.

5. Kapalabhati

Kapalabhati is often inserted to Pranayama practice as a part of the practice. It’s a serie of pumping motions done with lower belly and between pumping the tummy should be totally relaxed. The air that forcfully flows out through the nostrils stimulates frontal lobe, brain and the pelvic floor. Inhalation comes automatically between each pumping.

6. Trataka

Cleansing of eyes and the optical nerve through focusing the gase towards a candle flame until the eyes tear up, then you close the eyes and try to still se the image of the flame as long as possible. When the image fades away, lay down for coupé of minutes. Trataka sais also to purify the subconcious mind.

I do practice Kriyas but Not all of them. Dhauti is something that I concider to be of the limits as it seems right now. I am a souber Bulimic chick and it just feel uncomfortable even as a thought. But the other Kriyas I find effective and useful and I highly recommend to test them if you get the change to test them with good guidence.
Have a great one!

Namaste!

Karoliina

What makes a real Yogi?

Every morning first thing you do You roll out your matt. You do your disciplined practice that ends with meditation. You massage in your sweat with herbal oil combination and enjoy your little vegan breakfast. Every day the same. Nothing but striving to get more pure, more flexible and more enlightened.

Recently I read this Really long Facebook posting about ”People being hypocrites about being yogis when they don’t live like one…”. If you smoke, use alcohol, wear branded clothes, eat meat, eat any unhealthy things, aren’t hard core raw vegan and aren’t doing your at least 90 minutes yoga practice each day, aren’t flexible,the list goes on and on and ends up with ”don’t teach Yoga if you aren’t real Yogi, then my friend you are just a hypocrite wannabe…”

This post made me quite sad, because in my eyes one of the basics of a Good Yogi is non judgement. We all have our own paths. So I own this post to ALL these ”BAD” Yogis around the world. And of course as everything, also this is just my point of the view.

Let’s start, shall we… What makes a real Yogi? Or am I just a hypocrite…

One of the fundaments of Yoga is to be kind. To everyone and everything around us. I know that we all are human and we all make mistakes and we don’t always manage to control fully our minds and habits. BUT it’s a constant practice of being aware of your thoughts and reactions, to study the quality of them and when we notice that we end up to have wicked and negative thoughts we can easily choose to change them. Are these thoughts real or just reflecting some part of me that I don’t like in my self? I’m I being true to my self? Am I hiding behind these words? How can I turn it to better?…

Being kind means also in my Yogic world to practice Ahimsa (non violence) as in many ways as possible. For example; I don’t use fur, I don’t eat meat, but I eat fish and sea food sometimes, I eat very little milk products, I use as much as possible Organic and fair trade products. And that is Ahimsa towards both for me and others when I choose products there people get paid for their work and they don’t have to poison themselves or nature with chemicals. But to be clear about something, I do use alcohol and I do eat (Vegan) candy, and sometimes I just have to get me a nice gluten free vegetarian pizza. Not often and not much, but it happens and I don’t believe that it makes me any less of a Yogi 😉

What comes to eating meat… I don’t eat it because my body don’t like it. I feel stagnated if I eat meat. I’m also mainly Pitta and just on based on that, I don’t need meat to eat and feel well. Rest of my family eats meat but not every day. When we buy meat to our house, we are always striving for local products to be sure that the animals has been taken care of in fine way (Even though that think that every farm could make some improvements). So, if you are a meat eating Yogi, just choose your products wisely; small local, organic farms that takes care of the animals with respect and love.

That comes also to any products. Clothes, tea, wine, coffee, cocoa… Everything! You can always choose the organic and fair trade products that are both good for you but also for the environment and the people that work in producing the products.
So, Conscious choices are definitely part of being a good Yogi.

What comes to branded clothes, well now I feel repeating myself but if it’s fair trade and I need it, Why not?? It pays someone’s salary – everyone needs food on the table for their families, roof over the head.

And what comes to the daily practice of Yoga… As You may already know the Yoga practice is so much more than just the asanas. Yoga is in every choice you make, every moment when you stop to listen to your inner self, every moment when you are kind towards yourself or someone else, it’s in every moment you choose love before anything else, Yoga is whenever You listen to silence and find peace within it, because that is finding peace within You.
SO, even when the asana (yoga positions) practice is good for your body and mind, it’s impossible for most of us to do it 90 minutes every day. It’s better to do 15 minutes than not at all. Sometimes that ”not at all” hits us when the Life happens and it doesn’t make you less Yogi anyway. It’s not like your license for practice Yoga is withdrawn in because you missed your daily Virabhadrasana A.
I have myself 3 children, we have a minor zoo with 4 cats and a rescue dog and both me and my husband are entrepreneurs, sometimes the time kind of slips between your fingers and you have to choose between rest and practice. For me as a former Cancer patient the choice is always rest.

What comes to being flexible or the teaching if you aren’t flexible. Everyone is not an acrobat artist and that isn’t the meaning of yoga either. There are tons of different kinds of bodies, bodily histories, health conditions and they don’t make anyone less of a Yogi or teacher. If you just measure a Yoga teacher in base of how acrobatic this is You can as well go to study to circus. It’s the inside that matters. It’s the thirst of digging deeper in your own self and sharing your knowledge drawn just the right kind of students to You.
And even if your Yogic path has started because all these challenging poses, I’ll promise, in some point there will appear deeper thoughts and questions that you need to face. And with out being religious, that is when the path starts to be spiritual. Spiritual in my eyes isn’t the same as being religious.

I don’t believe in puritanism or fanaticism in anything. Not in Religion or belief systems, diets, training forms or Yoga forms and ideologies.
We all need to listen inwards find out what works out for us, what is our purpose, what makes us feel good and what makes us to be better persons. These needs are what makes everyones path different and we need to respect everyone’s own path. I have mine, You have Yours.

”You can not travel the path until you become the path itself.” – Buddha

To bake this all together. What makes a real Yogi?
If you are person who aims to be kind and true towards yourself and others, working on to be non judging and constantly makes consciously better choices, taking time to learn and accept yourself as you are – Congratulations! In my eyes You are a one Amazing and Real Yogi!

Why do We Yoga??

There is as many answers and reasons to This as there is practicers. Some yoga for to shape their body or get more flexible, some because they they seek something more spiritual to their lives and some just simple because it’s cool to get to all these fancy positions and because it’s popular. What ever the reason then may be there is no right or wrong. We all have a starting point and in somepoint it will turn More to the direction of deeper path with in us selves.

I know many who started their Yoga Journey because it’s great ”gymnastics” but after many years of practice The attitudes towards The practice has changed. One of my dear friends had bursted into tears after a practice because she had suddenly felt that total connection between the everything and all at once. She got so overwhelmed that her tears were running for hours.

How she explained was that, ”Before in my practice I have always felt these physical body issues of tightness or weakness or pain and that has been what I have worked with… This time I did not feel my body in that way. I felt it but at The same Time not. Instead of feeling weakness, locks, pain or stiffness I felt feelings! That was so scary and wonderful at The same time… Fear for letting go and moving forward was so rooted in my hips and knees and my upper back and chest was out of Love… Love that I have not allowed my self…”

I was so glad for her because I saw that she had This totally new bliss in her apperience. The calmness and warmth that she radiates is candy for a sore eye.

One of my teachers told about a same kind of journey. And there is so many different paths. So many kind of histories behind each and one of us. Backgrounds that makes us to who We are.

For me Yoga was in the beginning a way to destress. I loved breathing exercises and how it calmed me down. I have a long history of Self destructional behavior as bulimic disorder, ortorexia and panic attacks. Pranayama was my main practice and meditation. I studiet some books and tested out little bit asanas but We didn’t really have any yoga teachers near by what I know of. It tok many years for me to find to Asana practice wich I feel NOW that was a good thing. The risk of practicing With Ego would have had serious damages, if I know my self that well. I would have pushes furter and furter and hurting my self. Now I feel safe and stabile in my own practice and my Journey is still to find my Self. I have come far but there is still lots to discover. In meditation, asana practice, Pranayama, Karma Yoga…. In all The daily routines I practice yoga in some way. It keeps me on The right way. It gives me The feeling that I’m enough and good as I am.

So what ever your reasons are to do Yoga or do others practice, do it because it makes you feel good. If it makes you feel good The reason doesn’t even matter.

Sometimes I get sad when I think about how much I have hurted my self but then I realize that it was my Dharma it made me to what I am NOW and it all have served a greater purpose.

I just want to say a couple of final words… All you readers out there who are feeling too heavy, or too thin, too unflexible, too ugly or not just worthy any good. I’m maybe little round but even that is a shape you know. I’m sooo unflexible but still I’m teaching Yoga. And the rest of those things, they just aren’t true. You are freaking awesome!! Just perfect as you are. We all are .

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Religion and Yoga

Is Yoga a religion or a cult? And what is Yoga? Can everyone do Yoga ni matter of their religionists backgrounds?

These are interesting questions for me as a Yoga Teacher and Practicer in a country that is mainly Christen Lutheric. I find my self in conflict with most of worlds religions because of all The fanatism and judgementalism around religions. That doesn’t nessacary mean that I don’t have believes, because I do feel that there is some bigger force in this world than We as humans, at The same Time that I believe that We all are part of that bigger picture. We all are needed here as much as The other, no matter of color, religion or origin. You, Me… All beings around us. Breathing and working in The same symbios With each other.

How ever Christen religion in Christen countrys are often Said to be The religion of peace and acceptans and many other religions are said to be more fanatical than The other and leading to violence and bunch of other terrible things around The World . Yes, there is terrible things happening but most of these things aren’t just in The name of religion but also part of old culturel legasys that many organizations are working on to change (for example child marriges). But what comes to Yoga and religion I have got chocked by the attitude towards practicing Yoga here among the Christen Finland.

There has been several articles in news papers about The Dangers of Practicing Yoga. How it can cause you a danger form of psycosis and lead you to unpure path that leads straight to The Devil….

I haven’t come across from any other religios practicers any judgements at all. I  know practicers from most of the religions and We all have our believes of that Yoga can help you to connect to the ”bigger picture”, to The Universe, God, Brahman what ever you see as your thruth. It helps you to find The balance and calmness within you, in body and in mind. I have fully respect for any once believes and I would hope that We all could see it The same. 

There is one thruth. There are many paths.

-Swami Satchidananda 

I see my self as a part of a uneversal cycle. As the antz has their part of this huge play, I do to. We don’t always know what our roll really is because many times our purpose or Dharma happens without you knowing it. Even when you feel that you don’t really do anything important but a simple thing as smiling to a stranger can change someones life and that person in her/ his turn does something paying it forward…. Everything affects everything. So I many times say when people are angry at them selves missing asana practice, that every kind word or thought is Yoga too. Yoga is Union, it’s bounding us all together. We are all part of the Divine plan.

I know that what causes these point of views about many things is the fact that We humans tenden to hate everything We don’t understand and are in that matter afraid of. And many times We let the horror of unknown to keep us away from to even search knowledge about what We don’t understand. But it doesn’t have to be that way! We can choose how we cultivate our attitudes. Instead of being shut down in fear We could choose to think; Hmm, I don’t understand This and it’s scary, but It’s okay. I’ll learn More about this and then make my opinion without judging others.

We don’t need to always like everything but We can choose to respect others and their opinions without doing harm in words or in actions.

So no matter who you are, what you believe in, or what ever is your ”status”…

I see you. I respect you. I Love you. Peace and Love – Namaste!

Yoga and Menopause / Andropause

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Sometimes these life changes comes out from the woods, when they really are least expected. Menopause can be one of those things. But is there a way of easing the bodily effects from menopause with out turning into anti depressive and hormones ??  Can Yoga help?? And how to know if you have menopause?? This not just for the ladies because menopause hits also the men. Symptoms just vary a bit…

Here is a list of symptoms that could be your menopause to you ladies.

Mens list is little different and there are constantly discussions about if it is a myth or not. But question; Why would it be any different to age for men than us women? Here is information about male menopause or also called andropause.

Here is also Baxters awesome post about our fellow male Yogis in menopause, because obviously I’m a woman and can mostly prefer to my own experiences.

What both men and women are though often experiencing is  the sudden stiffness in joints and muscles and can even experience pain issues, lack of energy, feeling low and the focus is straight out of the window.

Couple of weeks I was really frustrated about this new situation and it was definitely limiting my own Yoga practice. Suddenly I couldn’t even do a simple standing forward bend and moving in Surya Namaskars was a struggle I’ve not had since cancer and I lived in the same temple. I was devastated! And it did not seem to go away. My much loved vinyasa flow was no more a flow, it was getting stuck in traffic! My inversions in most cases just increased the symptoms and I got totally lack of energy and the hot flashes just got more aggressive. Omg… I have got in a menopause… (early menopause can be a result of heavy cancer treatments in many cases)

I had to take my self little time to go back to the basics. Study what made the symptoms worse and with once eased my being. Things like just to ground and land in asanas. Really creating a relationship between the ground, mind, breath and body. I use lots of props as support in backbends and choose softer inversions instead of the advanced once. A true practice of letting go – non attachment. I love inversion and sweaty, intensive flows… Letting it be. Being here is what is now.

It felt good to slow down even though it tok me a week daily practice to let the vinyasa flow from my mind. I missed it. But without even thinking I started to each time in discomfort of missing ”flow”, I started to turn my self over and over again towards my ujjayi breathing. With out even noticing I started to slow the breath down even more than usually and let every transformation and movement in my practice to take time through the whole inhalation vs exhalation. My practice became reeeaaaally slow. Much of the time I close my eyes and just move on the waves of breath and listening to my body how it wants to move. Being soft in the mind will cultivate the softness even in your body. How liberating !

I started to feel less stiff, annoyed, down and feeling less of pain. My mind is calmer and even my swollen tummy has started to take it’s normal look. I still have feeling of that my quality of sleep is not what it should but definitely better.

So even when you feel that your menopause is eating your joy of moving, don’t stop! Just change the characteristics of your practice until it feels ready to do more advanced practice again. It is okay to slow down and just good for each and one of us every now and then. Either you are in menopause /andropause or not.

Yoga has shown the benefits to calm down your sympathetic nervous system that will give you less feeling of discomfort and will balance you up to manage your every day life better. So give your self some love on your yoga mat and feel the difference. Be aware of what makes you feel worse and what makes you feel better. Advanced inversions and high tempo can increase your symptoms you don’t want , so listen to your body, be wise – Be a good Yogi.

Namaste!

How to be a good Yoga Teacher?

 What does it take to be a good Yoga teacher or an Inspirer of any kind? There are so many questions… Am I flexible enough? Am I wise enough? Am I fit enough?… and the list goes on.

These questions I have wondered about for a while now. Sometimes I even feel that I don’t really have anything ”wise” to share with my OMies, and that is when you start to get frustrated and uninspired.

Today I had a class, and while still was at home I was reading some discussions on my Messenger feed between me and some of the ones I coach, not just with yoga, but also helping otherwise through difficult states of life… And I came to think about Yamas and Niyamas. There were so many things I just saw how to work work the things by Yamas that I ended up to build my class around them. Here is a video by Echart Yoga about Yamas.

It turned out to be one of the best classes ever, I think….

But what has this to do with the Yamas and being a good teacher?

I was recently on a Online workshop on Yoga Alliance, we had a great teacher, and we talked about teaching and how to be a good teacher. Michelle Thielen (RYT500, founder of YogaFaith, a nonprofit Christian RYS 200 & RYS 300 school) had such a great message about how we way too often let the chatterbox inside of our heads break our self-confidence and qualities down. When we should instead of be thinking that we all have something to give others. We all have life wisdom and qualities that others value highly. She talked about how we should turn the negative chatterbox to a passive chatterbox and instead of constant questioning our own roll as a teacher to see all the possibilities and the positive sides of you as teacher.

As always we ended the workshop with Q&As and there was a bunch of great questions and Michelle gave such a value with the answers. But the base of it all… How to be a good teacher is to be AUTHENTIC. And there I was back to Yamas! Satya, the practice of Truthfulness, being true to yourself and to others. I think it was just such a great closer for today.

Have you practiced Yamas lately?

Short post today, but I really want to encourage all you new yoga teachers to join Yoga Alliance. The value in that community is priceless.

Namaste

  

  

Importance of being adaptable as Yoga teacher

  Many time we teachers before workshops or classes tenden to make strickt plans how the class is built and how it is going to be. 

Sometimes we even get disappointed or mad towards us selves if the plans don’t go through. 

When I started to teach Yoga I had so clear visions about the class all the way from beginning to it’s end and I remember how devastating it was when the plans did not go together with the reality. I felt so little and sad about the fact that I could not deliver a ”perfect” class to my students. It was heart breaking. I’m all the way into the bone marrow one who wants to serve and hate making others disappointed. I was terrified to loose my tone in shanting or say something totally wicked.

But what surprised me was that many times when I lost my plans during the classes, and when the class ended people started to come to me to thank me for a really great class. I started to soften. I started to loosen up and were not that afraid of making ”mistakes”. 

Today we have had Mind Day on one of the places there I teach yoga. I’m used to hold my classes alone and used to compromise with just my self and the yogis on their mats, so today was a totally new experience. Today I teached  in pair with a fellow teacher. 

We had not had time to do the test classes together to do a test drive before this day because sometimes Life happens and time runs out.

Hahaha… I can tell you, this day didn’t go at all as planned BUT we adjusted so smoothly on the situation and we made it to ROCK any ways! And it was a great deal of fun!!

We had planed a technique class and after a class based on these asanas but as the OMies wanted to continue with the techniques to find the asanas for each one of the students, based on their own physical abilities. So we decided to do double asana technique class. And I have to say that I’m a total technique nerd!! So I did not mind at all. It was so beautiful to feel the energy of these lovely people studying the asanas and to find their way of the movement and finding the ground, strength, relaxation and connection to the breath. I’m so tired but happy right now. But there is still one class to teach today… Sunday Funday 😉

And what comes to the making mistakes… I did do some today. Maybe I was the only one noticing, maybe not. But it’s not a big deal 🙂

Sometimes I do give quite funny instructions in my class and I offer the class a really good laughter. Or while doing balances ; hand balances or headstands, giving instructions, forgetting to concentrate on the asana and loosing the balance and ending up in face plant or falling down…. Not a big deal. I’m used to be the clown of the group through whole my life and it’s my way to shake of things like that. This has actually even turned to my benefits. 

Like one of my students said so nicely.

”I love your classes because you are human in first place instead of a Teacher, which feels so relaxing.”

But I think it’s all about being humble. I don’t know everything. I’m on the journey too, just like everyone else.

We are all humans. No one is better than the other. Teacher or student. And by remembering this makes the practice easier for all the practisers in the shala. Many times there is this fear of not being good/ flexible enough to practice on classes on the shala that holds us back from taking the next step in our yogic journey. As we put aside the feeling of ”not being worthy” the magic happens and the great journey can begin. This comes even for teachers…. We are all different and there will always be students who are guided to you for a reason. Be grateful, be joyful and Shine your light.

I feel like I kind of ended up on side ways now but what I want to say is;

Life is on constant movement. You never know what you will meet in your class. Feel out the energies and don’t force a surtent class to happen as planned if the energies don’t support it. Be adaptable to form the class to what your students needs not what you want to teach or show. Be humble and serve as a teacher.

  

Journey to Padmasana – The Full Lotus Pose

Do you have struggle to get into a full Lotus pose? Your knee hurts and your ankles are killing you??

I know how it feels and this has taken me 2,5 years to come here and I still manage to stay only a really short time. But as with every pose, it takes practice and you need to feel the asana in your body. if you are not feeling your body, if you are not being present in your own body the development will maybe ever happen. When you learn to listen and find the connection between the body and the mind and you learn to be present in each moment in the asanas. You will find the way for the body to move in the positions with out resistance.

I’m still searching my way to find my free connection to my hips. I know it will happen. It is a journey I need to do before getting there. The same journey learns me to be patient. That personality trait has never been the strongest of my traits. So I made this video for you, because this is how my journey has developed from Sukhasana to Padmasana, even if it just is for a moment 🙂

Hope it inspires You,

Enjoy!

Namaste <3

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8ioRu6jHag]

Lovely, awful hip openers. The Double Pigeon Pose and the Modification.

Hips! Those darn hips! Okay, so this is definitely my achilles heal. And in todays post I’ll show you Double Pigeon Pose and the Modification to it. I have quite divided relationship to these Lovely, awful hip openers. My hips are just made of stone and steel and I work on them and then I work some more on them. 

And the progress seems to be so slow. And I know why…. Do you?? Because I have been cutting down in hip openers because I did not do as I have learned. Ego…. I have forced my hip openers too hard and ended up to injure my knee even more.

So, no matter what position you struggle with, DO NOT FORCE IT! It will come when You are ready. If it ever does happen. Either way feel that it is okay. Accept the space you are in right now. Don’t do what I did… We should always remember that we always are right where we should be.

There are though some facts that affect how deep you get into hip opening poses. 

  • The tightness of the soft tissues like muscles, fascias and ligaments

  • Bone structures

  • Deepness of the joints

The muscular and fascia tightness is possible and good to work with but we have to stay aware of when the stiffness is not in these tissues. Ligaments should not get stretched and by pressing into poses, that are because of your bone structures not made for you, is nothing to force into.

Anatomy Lesson

 

IMG_9792We all know the general area of our body we have in mind when we talk about our “hips”. Here is some actually information of ”the Hip”. To be specific, we can say that the actual hip joint is located where your femur (thighbone) meets your pelvis (hip bone). For all the anatomy nerds here, let’s be technical and define the hip joint as the place where the head of the femur (the ball-like prominence at the top end of the bone) articulates with the acetabulum, a concave hemispherical socket located on the side of the pelvis.

The hip is a joint, which means that it’s a moveable part of your body.  Motion at the hip takes place when the femur and pelvis move in relation to each other.  There are lots of movements available at the hip joint, including hip extension (moving the thigh behind you, as in Dhanurasana), hip flexion (forward bend – uttanasana), hip abduction (moving your thigh out to the side, like your back leg in Warrior B), hip adduction (moving the thigh toward your midline – think Eagle Pose), and internal (Shoe lace pose) and external (Lotus ) rotation.  Ideally all of these motions would be fluid and easy for you all of the time, but all too often, our hip joint movement is restricted in one or more planes (or all of them), resulting in hips we experience as “tight”.

What Does It Mean to Have Tight Hips?

Even though some teachers and even therapists says that the hips movements are are not because of stiff joints but because of the tight soft tissues as muscles and fascias, the truth is that your joint itself is sometimes really the issue. Because every human being is unique in the bone structures and the hip joint is placed in different directions and ankled very different. Some have hip joints that is not to much to the front of the Pelvis and the articularis / joint is shallow, which makes most of the poses for hips easy to get into when the muscles softens up. If the joint is too much to the front and the joint is deep the bone structures from femur and pelvis will collard and it’s never good to try push beyond this point. The deepness of the joint as well as the length of the femoral neck is very different from person to person and it makes the movement of the hip unique for each and one of us. I have worked almost 10 as a Sport therapist and seen lots of these issues. But I got even better eye opener when I study to Yoga Teacher and one of our Teachers, Joe Barnett (Yin Yoga teacher) went really deep into the bone structures when he was teaching us the understanding of teaching and guiding students into poses. He learned us to understand and respect our own bodies as well others. 

And sometimes actually the muscles and fascia that cross your joint that restrict your movement. And how do these tissues become tight? Your body adapts to what you do most frequently. And the one body position that we as a culture tend to assume most frequently is sitting with our hips and knees flexed at 90 degrees. Even if you don’t think you sit a lot, or if you have a job which requires you to stand, you’re probably forgetting all the other time you do spend sitting because it’s so ingrained in your daily lifestyle that you almost don’t even realize it. Fortunately many of the office working places here in Finland are having now a days adjustable tables so you can vary between sitting and standing during the working day.

The difference of the pain when it is bone structural limitation or soft tissue tightness is not always easy to tell, but if you feel sharp pain and / or hard resistance  and if there is softer resistance and milder pain or more as uncomfortableness in a position is an indication of muscular / fascial tightness.

In a nutshell, our over-use of the sitting posture shortens the muscles that cross the front of our hips (hip flexors) and the muscles that line the back our thighs (hamstrings), as well as effectively inactivates our otherwise so powerful glutes, and just turns our whole hip area out of balance. So the tight and unhappy hips drive us to our yoga mats to get some relief. Just remember, that the balance is what we strive for, strengthens and releases tension and respects our body, as it is made.

Here I have a video for the SAFE practice of Double Pigeon. Both; guidance to full pose and to a modification for all the tight hips out there in the world.

Enjoy

 [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LrQnKaU978]