Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Hip Flexion Lying Down.

35. Hip Flexion Lying Down
Muscles involved: Gluteus maximus
Lying on the ground, flex one leg at both the hip and the knee and “hug” it with both hands, pressing the leg against the chest. The other leg remains extended on the ground.
This fairly simple exercise stretches the gluteus of the elevated leg, but the hip flexors of the extended leg are also stretched. People with lower degree of flexibility will notice how the leg that should remain on the ground naturally lifts up, something that should be avoided (for example, by placing the foot under a bar).
In this exercise, the assistance of a partner could be quite useful. The partner presses the elevated leg against the chest of the person stretching, while at the same time holding the opposite leg down on the floor (at the level of the tibia) in such a way that the leg is held down but not pressured.

Stride / Lunge.

34. Stride
Muscles involved: Illiopsoas
From a standing position, bring the body forward with a great stride without lifting the back foot off the ground. From this position, flex the back knee transferring most of the bodyweight to the front leg. The front knee must remain in a position just above the foot, never going beyond it. You can gently lower the weight of the trunk vertically by bringing the pelvis toward the floor to increase the stretch.
With this simple exercise we can do really work the hip flexors. To keep balance, you can rest your hands on the front leg or a side bench, as balance is vitally important in order to be able to perform the exercise correctly.
If we had to choose only one exercise to stretch the illiopsoas, this would be it, because of its simplicity and effectiveness.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Extension of the Hip While Seated on the Heels.

33. Extension of the Hip While Seated on the Heels
Muscles involved: Quadriceps
Seating on top of your heels, preferably upon a padded surface, extend the hip allowing the trunk to fall backwards in a controlled fashion.
In this exercise, leaning the body backwards extends the quadriceps and because of the position that is adopted, the hip flexors also participate.
On the other hand, if the discomfort inherent in this position troubles you, feel free to skip it as the muscles worked may be stretched with other more comfortable and effective exercises.

Tibial Flexion Seated With Knee Extended.

32. Tibial Flexion Seated With Knee Extended
Muscles involved: Ischiotibial muscles, gastrocnemius, soleus
Seating on the ground flex one leg over itself by bending the knee and resting the heel of the foot upon the adductor muscles of the opposite leg. The leg that is being stretched must remain with the knee extended. Now from this position, flex the hip slowly, lowering the trunk toward the outstretched leg.
During the exercise, the spinal column and the head must remain aligned. People with limited flexibility tend to flex the trunk over itself, believing that they are stretching the ischiotibial muscles by getting closer to the front leg, but this should be avoided.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Leg Stretching - Tibial Flexion With Semi-flexed Knee.

31. Tibial Flexion With Semi-flexed Knee
Muscles involved: Soleus
Standing and holding on to a support, push one leg backward and – with the knee semi flexed – plant the entire sole of the foot on the ground in such a way that the tension is felt in the area of the soleus (below the gastrocnemius). The forward leg remains in semi-flexion, supporting the weight of the body.
The important thing in this exercise is to keep the knee in flexion, to place more emphasis on the stretching of the soleus. The point of maximum stretch is achieved, by gently placing the heel of the back leg on the ground. The most common way of adjusting the tension over the soleus is to gradually bring the knee closer to the wall without lifting the heel off the ground.

Leg Stretching - Knee Flexion.

30. Knee Flexion
Muscles involved: Quadriceps
Standing up while leaning against a support for balance, flex a knee and hold on to the dorsum medial aspect of the foot that is raised using the ipsilateral hand, as shown in the illustration. Pressing the heel of the foot against the gluteus will stretch your quadriceps.
The hip should not be flexed, nor should you lean the torso, but if you extend the hip a little bit backwards on the side that is being worked, you can get a good stretch on one portion of the quadriceps, the bi-jointed rectus femoris.
On the other hand, if the hip moves in the opposite way (raising the knee in front of the body but maintaining the rest of the posture as is) you will be putting emphasis on the vastus lateralis and medialis of the quadriceps, taking some tension off the rectus femoris.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Get Healthy with Yoga!

Yoga is a great way to stay healthy and fit from head to toe. The practice offers a myriad of health benefits including better sleep, more supple joints, and a healthier heart—just to name a few. And a regular yoga practice is also one of the most effective ways to manage stress, which experts agree is key for optimal mental health. Whether you want to get in shape physically or emotionally (or both!), a regular yoga practice can help you cultivate lifestyle habits that will help you stay healthy for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Hand Pronation With Extended Elbow.

29. Hand Pronation With Extended Elbow

Muscles involved: Supinator, abducens policis longus, extensor policis longus
As with the previous exercise, we start, preferably standing up, by extending our elbow completely, and putting the hand in a pronated position (it is turned as if pouring a pitcher of water), helping the movement with the opposite hand.
Stretching the indicated muscles here is not easy because the bony limits usually prevent it. This is why in this exercise we combine two movements in order to take the muscles to their maximum extension. Our pain rule applies here as well – if you feel pain you are taking things too far.
One interesting point to note is that pronation and supination of the forearm are not generated by the wrist, as it first appears. The wrist, in fact, lacks these two movements. The rotation is produced from the elbow, and it involves both the arm and the forearm muscles.

Hand Adduction With Extended Elbow.

28. Hand Adduction With Extended Elbow
Muscles involved: Extensor carpi radialis longus, abducens policis
Preferably standing up, extend the elbow completely and while keeping the hand adducted (the little finger is brought closer toward the forearm) press on the area of the thumb with your opposite hand.
By keeping the elbow extended you are working all of the target muscles, otherwise we would be focusing too exclusively on the muscles of the fingers. Let’s not forget that some of the muscles being stretched in this exercise are bi-jointed, meaning they cross both the elbow and the wrist.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Finger Separation.


Muscles involved: Palmar interosseous, dorsal interosseous of the thumb
Recommended for musicians playing the piano, guitar, flute, etc. With the help of the opposite hand, separate the fingers from each other, one by one. An alternative is to place an object like a cylinder or a rubber ball between the fingers and press it using the other hand towards the interdigital spaces of each finger. Some small muscles of the hand, the palmar interosseous for example, respond very well to this alternative.
Although the easiest one to separate may be the thumb (it’s called the opposing finger for a reason), the work should involve the entire hand.
Certain professions and hobbies demand excellent finger mobility, especially in the artistic fields. For example, musicians who play any one of several instruments like piano, guitar, flute, etc., will all benefit from this exercise, which they should practice conscientiously.

Finger by Finger Flexion With Assistance.


Muscles involved: The extensor muscle corresponding to the finger being flexed
The Finger by Finger Flexion, as the name reveals, is done one finger at a time. Simply hold on to each finger individually with the opposite hand and produce a deep but gentle flexion. The wrist must remain flexed at approximately 90°.
During the exercise, flex the wrist slightly with each pull of the finger in order to put even greater emphasis on the tension. Of course, as in all other stretching exercises, the movement here should also be slow and controlled.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Finger by Finger Extension With Assistance.

Muscles involved: The flexor muscle corresponding to the finger being extended
A simple exercise, performed by holding a finger with the other hand, and extending it individually. The stretch is maintained for a few seconds, and then one moves on to the next finger.
Even though this is a simple exercise, the pulling movement must be slow and sustained because it is not hard to injure a structure if it is done otherwise.
You might be tempted to think that stretching of each finger individually is a waste of time, feeling that it is enough to do them all together at the same time. That would be a mistake, however, since there is nothing more effective than dividing up the body areas as much as possible in order to obtain the best results from stretching – specific exercises are the true protagonists for increases in flexibility of a specific.

Arms Stretching - Prayer Hand Extension.


Muscles involved: Flexor digitorum profundus, abductor pollicis, flexor policis longus
Standing or sitting, preferably in front of a mirror, place the hands with the palms facing each other, in the regular “prayer” posture, and press the palms against each other. At the same time, lower the hands little by little towards the abdomen, without letting them pull apart.
An easy exercise that can be performed at any point during the day, like the rest periods in the middle of any long-lasting manual labor, perhaps. However, it is important to introduce variety into your training program. This one exercise is not a substitute for the other specific exercises for stretching the fingers because it does not stretch all of them equally with the middle fingers being stretched more.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Arms Stretching - Extension of the Hands Facing a Wall.

Muscles involved: Flexors of the fingers (deep, superficial, and the long flexor of the thumb)
Standing in front of a wall with the arms extended and the tip of the fingers pointing downward, press lightly to the front until the entire palm of the hand is resting on the wall. The arms should be raised until almost shoulder height as the image demonstrates.
By extending the elbows, you will stretch all of the muscles of the anterior part of the forearm, whereas if they remain partly flexed, the effort is centered on the small flexor muscles of the hand and fingers. The way to increase the intensity is to place the hands somewhat higher on the wall and then press lightly with the hand resting on the wall.

Arms Stretching - Frontal Extension of the Arms With Fingers.


Muscles involved: Flexors of the fingers (deep, superficial, and the long flexor of the thumb)
Interlacing the fingers with the palms facing each other, turn the forearms and extend the elbows in front of you. As you approach maximum extension of the elbows, you will feel the tension in the anterior part of the forearms.
A very simple exercise, appropriate for any person who works intensely with the hands, like information technology, construction worker, manual workers, etc.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Arm Stretching - Elbow Extension.

Muscles involved: Biceps brachii
Stand before a mirror stretching the elbow and force the pronation of the forearm with your other hand to further separate the points of insertion of the heads of the biceps.
This exercise might look simple, but the biceps does not require more demanding stretches, as it works well within the regular ranges of motion, and rarely encounters abnormalities in its mobility – which  are much more frequent with many other muscles.

Arm Stretching - Overhead Arm Hyper Extension.

Muscles involved: Triceps brachii
Either standing up or sitting down in front of a mirror, flex the elbow to the end and raise the arm by flexing the shoulder, while using the opposite hand to push the elbow backward.
There is a tendency to rest the helping arm on the head as a kind of lever, which could force the cervical vertebrae. While this help could be useful if it is done correctly care must be taken not to adopt poor postures with the neck.
It is imperative to flex the elbow maximally (hence the hyperflexion in the name), yet it is not uncommon to see people who, as they push farther back, the elbow joint is progressively relaxed and extended, taking away from the stretching of the triceps. This is where a help from a training partner can be worthwhile – all he or she has to do is ensure that the elbow remains totally flexed and push gently on it toward the back. It might be more comfortable to receive assistance if the partner sits on a bench.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Arms Stretching - Preacher Bench Passive Arm Extension.


Muscles involved: Biceps brachii, brachioradialis
While on the preacher bench, hold the bar with a supinated grip (palms facing upward), lean your elbows against the pads and let the arms extend until they reach the point of maximum extension.
To finish, do not simply return the weight up by flexing the elbows, but rather get up from the bench completely, so that you are more comfortable and it is less compromising for the joints.
Remember, this is a stretching exercise and you should not load the bar with too much weight. The extension should be slow and controlled, because otherwise the joint could be damaged at the bottom of the movement; perhaps not the biceps itself, but the olecranon, the joint capsule, the humeral artery or certain ligaments.
For those people who find that the regular bar (~ 8 to 10 kg) is too heavy, look for a lighter bar, but never use dumbbells because it would be much harder to maintain full supination of the forearms, which is necessary for stretching the biceps.

Arms Stretching - Hanging From a Bar With Supinated Grip.


Muscles involved: Biceps brachii, brachioradialis
With arms externally rotated and forearms supinated (the palm of the hand facing backward), hang suspended from a horizontal bar. Relax the body during the few seconds that the stretch lasts and then return to the ground in order to “release” the muscles.
This is exactly like the starting position for performing “chin-ups” for the back and biceps. And it is precisely this pair of muscle groups, the back muscles and the elbow flexors, that are being stretched during this exercise. The only things to note are knowing how to relax the body and not to maintain a constant tension in the arms, which would prevent them from being stretched, and use only the forearms and hands to support the weight of the body.
As an alternative, you can try to hold on to a lower bar and keep the feet on the ground, but then progressively take all of the body weight off the feet until your whole bodyweight is hanging, even if your feet may still be touching the ground.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Arm Stretching - Arm Hyperextension With Support.


Muscles involved: Biceps brachii, brachioradialis 
Standing up, with your back toward a fixed support of approximately shoulder-height, with the elbow extended and the arm internally rotated (the thumb pointing inward), rest the back of the hand on the support and lower the trunk until you can feel the stretch around the biceps.
Again, it is not enough to simply extend the elbow in order to stretch the biceps, you also have to move the shoulder to separate its points of insertion. This exercise, if performed slowly, manages a good stretch of the biceps. In fact, from among the exercises designed to stretch the biceps individually (without assistance) this is one of the most effective. Due to the position of the arm and the movement that we perform, the anterior portion of the shoulder is also stretched.

Arm Stretching - Fixed Arm Torso Rotation.


Muscles involved: Biceps, pectorals major 
Standing beside a wall or a door, raise the arm laterally until shoulder height, with the palm of the hand turned so that it touches the frame of a door or the corner of a wall. The elbow remains extended. Relaxing the arm and the pectoral region, rotate the torso in the opposite direction of the extended arm.
This exercise is performed in a similar way to that for the pectoral region, but now the elbow must remain extended in order to achieve a good stretch of the biceps. The person executing this movement must know how to feel the tension in the muscle that is being stretched, the biceps brachii, otherwise, the tension might be somewhere else, performing the exercise incorrectly. In such a case, the person should modify the posture and begin the stretch again until he achieves the desired objective.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Arm Stretching - Back Arm Lock!


Muscles involved: External and internal rotators, triceps
You can perform this exercise either standing, or seated on a back-less bench. Raising one arm over and behind the head while the other goes behind the back from below, try to grab the fingers of both hands behind your upper back.
With this exercise, the mobility of the shoulder joint is easily determined. Advanced stretchers will have no difficulty joining their hands, and some may even reach the forearms. Novices should use some help in order to improve. A training partner can be very handy, standing behind the person doing the stretching and pushing gently upon the elbows in an effort to bring the hands closer together. With each repetition, try changing the position of the arms in order to balance the stress upon the structures being stretched.

Arm Stretching - Vertical Arms Extension!


Muscles involved: Latissimus dorsi, teres major, finger flexors (flexor digitorum superficialis and profundus and flexor hallucis longus), flexor carpi ulnaris, long and short palmar muscles
While standing, preferably in front of a mirror, raise your arms above your head, with fingers interlaced and palms facing upward. Just stretch as if you are trying to reach the ceiling.
This exercise also involves the flexors of the hand. Unlike some previous exercises, this is an exercise that can be performed by people of advanced age and those with certain physical disabilities, depending on the type and degree of the disability. These two groups of people can omit interlacing the fingers if it presents a problem.
On this exercise, some people tend to stand on the tips of their toes, trying to stretch even more parts of the body. While not harmful, it may prevent the person from concentrating and thus compromising his or her stability.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Essence of Yoga!

It doesn’t matter how beautifully we do a posture or how flexible our bodies are, if we do not have the unification of the body, the breath, and the mind, it is difficult to say that our practice falls within the definition of Yoga.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

sacroiliac (SI) joint!

The sacroiliac (SI) joints, the points where the pelvis and sacrum meet, can be the source of great discomfort when out of balance or inflamed. Although pain and stiffness can be caused by a number of reasons, when a student tells you they have diagnosed SI pain, take heed. 

Many poses, including backward and forward bends and twists, can make matters worse.

Sacroiliac Joint Anatomy

A joint is where two bones come together. The sacroiliac joint is where the sacrum bone and the ilium bone join one another.
The sacrum is located at the base of your spine. It is composed of five vertebrae that have fused together during development to form a single bone roughly the size of your hand. When you view the sacrum from the front, it looks like a triangle with its point facing down. When you view it from the side, you see that it curves, concave in front, convex behind, and that it tilts, so its top end is well forward of its bottom end. Protruding from the bottom end of the sacrum is the tailbone (coccyx).
Each half of the pelvis is composed of three bones, the ilium, the ischium and the pubic bone, that have fused together during development. The topmost bone (the one that forms the pelvic rim) is the ilium. The sacrum is wedged between the left and right ilium bones. On the upper part of the sacrum, on each side, there is a rough, rather flat surface that abuts a corresponding rough, flat surface on the ilium. These surfaces are called auricular surfaces. The places where the auricular surfaces of the sacrum and ilium come together are the sacroiliac joints.
The sacrum bears the weight of the spine. The SI joints distribute this weight so that half goes to each hip and, from there, to each leg. As gravity wedges the triangular sacrum firmly down between the inclined auricular surfaces of the ilium bones, it tends to force the ilium bones apart, but strong ligaments prevent them from moving. This wedging action and the resistance of the ligaments combine to form a stable joint.
Some of the ligaments that stabilize the SI joints cross directly over the line where the sacrum and ilium meet. Those on the front are called the ventral sacroiliac ligaments, and those on the back are the dorsal sacroiliac ligaments. Other strong ligaments (the interosseous ligaments) fill the space just above the SI joints, holding the ilium bones firmly against the sides of the upper sacrum. The normal, tilted position of the sacrum places its top end forward of the SI joints and its bottom end behind them. This setup means the weight of the spine tends to rotate the sacrum around the axis formed by the SI joints, pushing the top end down and lifting the bottom end up. The sacrotuberous and sacrospinous ligaments are ideally located to oppose this rotation by anchoring the lower end of the sacrum to the lower part of the pelvis (the ischium bones).
The auricular surfaces of the sacrum and ilium are lined by cartilage. The joint space is completely surrounded by connective tissue and is filled with a lubricating fluid called synovial fluid. Like other synovial joints, the SI joints can move; however, their range of motion is very limited. For example, trained chiropractors, physical therapists and other professionals learn to feel the PSIS tilting back slightly relative to the sacrum when a standing person lifts one knee toward the chest as if marching. This rocking action is thought to aid in walking. However, according to one anatomy text,
The sacroiliac synovial joint rather regularly shows pathologic changes in adults, and in many males more than 30 years of age, and in most males after the age of 50, the joint becomes ankylosed (fused, with the disappearance of the joint cavity); this occurs less frequently in females.¹
In other words, with age, the sacrum and the two ilium bones often merge into a single bone. This might explain why some orthopedic surgeons do not believe in SI joint injury. Perhaps they have operated on adults, seen with their own eyes that the sacrum is completely fused to the two ilium bones, and concluded that even the slightest dislocation of this joint is impossible. This may well be true in people whose joints have fused, but that leaves out the rest of us, more women than men, who, through heredity or lifestyle (including yoga), have retained mobility in our SI joints.

Tibetan Buddhist Chakras!

The Tibetan Buddhist Theory of Chakras

Tantric Buddhism (or Vajrayana) broke off from the Indian Tantric one at a very early stage.  Hence they developed a rather different version of the chakras.  Tibetan Buddhism acknowledges four (navel, heart, throat, and head), five, seven, or even ten chakras or "channel wheels"; each with a different number of "spokes" to its Indian Tantric counterpart.  The navel chakra for example has sixty-four spokes, the heart chakra eight, the throat sixteen (the only one to agree with the Hindu scheme), and the head or crown chakra thirty-two.  There is also, as in Laya-yoga, an elaborate system of correspondences.  Note that in this system it is the head-centre, and not, as in many Western interpretations of Hindu Tantra, the Perineal or the base, that is associated with the body and physical consciousness.  The throat centre represents a more subtle state of consciousness, the dream state; and the heart centre the refined of all, deep meditataion, dreamless sleep, the peaceful deities and the Clear Light.

Image result for Tibetan Buddhist Theory of Chakras

Monday, 7 November 2016

Meridian n Cylinders!

Body Cylinders

There are a large number of muscles in your body. Is there a way to think about them or visualize them in a way that makes them easy to understand? Of course. Here’s how.

Think of your body as eight cylindrical tubes, four stacked on top of each other, or sixteen half tubes. In your lower and upper body, there are tubes on the front, back, outside, inside and on the four angles in between. Each of those eight cylindrical tubes contain muscles in groups that go from your feet into your trunk and head, or from your arms into your face or trunk. Well, it just so happens that each of those tubes is also exactly where the meridians are in TCM! So each major muscle group is concomitant with one meridian in TCM.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Meridian Movement Patterns!

Kinetic Movement Patterns

There are eight directions you can move into when the muscles of your body contract and shorten. Specifically in your lower body: forward, backward, turning left and right, twisting and untwisting. In your upper body: pulling down, pushing upward, lifting, lowering, hugging, striking back, pressing, and opening. These are called kinetic patterns. They are very helpful when analyzing movements in different sports or performances and therefore provide clues as to which muscles to strengthen and stretch.

While one muscle group on one side of your body is lengthening. the muscles on the other side are shortening. These pairs of muscles are called balancing muscles. For example, contracting and shortening the muscles on the back outer side (posterior lateral) of your lower body causes you to jump up into the air, while the balancing muscles on the front inside (anterior medial) of your lower body cause you to squat.


Small Intestine
Striking Back






Pulling Down

Pushing Upward