Thursday, March 10, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: The Daily Bandha - A Benefit of Using the Big Toes in Yoga

Lately I have been following this blog as I am delving deeper into anatomy and understanding so much more about how our bodies move and why we need to do things certain way in yoga and as we move through our lives in sports and daily activities. Yoga brings us the awareness we need to begin the process in each of our own UNIQUE bodies.

As we move through various poses in my classes I often mention grounding through the base of the big toe, feeling the gentle and subtle engaging of the muscles in our legs. Read Ray's wonderful explanation and look at Chris' revealing drawings to understand this further:

The Daily Bandha: A Benefit of Using the Big Toes in Yoga

(Image Courtesy of Daily Bandha)

I feel that all of our connections to the ground, whether our feet, hands, sitting bones, even knees in some poses need to be balanced and subtle and energized. This provides us with proper and even balance throughout the body.

So Ray begins his posting with this question:

"Have you ever noticed how the pelvis seems to drift backwards in standing forward bends, especially Uttanasana?"

Hmm, UH, YEAH! I notice it in myself and in my students. In our effort to bend and "touch our toes"... we neglect to do the adjustments to bring the pose into alignment.. for our body:

I begin by taking stock of my hamstring's flexibility that day. If necessary, bending my knees so I feel comfortable as I settle into Forward Fold. I inhale and lengthen my sitting bones to the sky and exhale releasing my heart towards my legs. I then further awareness by grounding the big toes into the mat. This helps to bring the pelvis into the correct positon for this pose. In Uttanasana I really feel my breath, often bending my knees so much so that my torso rests on my thighs. Only as I feel the release do I begin to straighten my legs. And that sometimes doesn't happen until several Surya Namanskaras!

But I think the best thing to do is to read Ray Long's posting for yourself. He really gets into the WHY and HOW this works. It starts to make sense when you read it and try it on yourself.

So, try it out: right here, right NOW...

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