Yoga Myths: 5 Type Cues To Ignore


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When you’re transferring right into a pose and your yoga trainer provides you a kind cue, it’s solely pure to take heed to what they are saying and attempt to do your finest to comply with it. Significantly if it’s a cue that you simply hear again and again.

However what if we informed you that there are some directions which can be usually rattled off with out really being primarily based in kinesiology (aka the research of human physique motion)? You’d most likely need to know what they’re, proper? We thought so. That’s why we chatted with train physiologist and yoga trainer Meredith Witte to debunk a few of the greatest yoga kind myths as soon as and for all.

1. “Chill out the glutes”

Backbends (often known as Urdhva Dhanurasana or wheel pose) are widespread in lots of practices, like Ashtanga. However Witte suggests approaching them with warning. “Our decrease again is designed to be steady, not cellular, but most backbends require deep, passive hyperextension of the decrease again,” she says. If practiced usually, they may result in decrease again ache.

Due to this, she says {that a} widespread cue that drives her loopy is to “loosen up the glutes” or “soften the glutes” whereas in a backbend or in bridge pose. “The glutes are the first driver of your hips up away from the ground, so if you happen to loosen up them, you’re simply dumping stress into your decrease again,” she warns.

“I hardly ever train backbends, but when I do, I give a whole lot of cueing round extending from the higher again (which is anatomically designed to have rather more mobility in relation to the decrease again) and fascinating the glutes for help,” Witte says.

2. “Breathe down into your stomach”

All types of yoga incorporate aware respiration and most occasions, instructors inform individuals to breathe into their stomach in an try and maintain them from lifting their shoulders and increasing their chests with shallower breaths. Whereas it’s true that you simply need to be cognizant of the way you’re respiration whereas practising yoga, Witte says that the “breathe down into your stomach” cue is usually misunderstood.

“I’ve discovered that, notably with newer college students, if they’re being informed to ‘breathe into the stomach,’ there’s an inclination to tense by way of the stomach and create pointless intra-abdominal stress with a view to give the visible of an increase and fall,” she says. “That is actually the other results of what we’re aiming for in moments of calm, downregulating breathwork.”

With this in thoughts, Witte says she prefers to inform college students to place their fingers on their ribcage and discover, with out pushing or forcing, if they will really feel their ribs increasing underneath their fingers. “After we are respiration, our lungs develop, our ribcage expands, and our diaphragm presses downward,” she explains. So, so long as you possibly can really feel your ribcage develop, and as long as you’re not taking shallow upwards breaths into your chest, you’ll be respiration into your stomach.

3. “Put a pillow underneath your butt.”

For those who don’t have fairly sufficient mobility to comfortably obtain pigeon pose (through which one leg is folded in entrance of your chest whereas your different leg is prolonged out behind you on the ground), thus leaving your hips within the air, your teacher might inform you to place a pillow underneath your butt.

“Whereas this would possibly really feel extra snug, the tissues in your outer [bent] knee, which are supposed to present stability, are possible overly stretched,” Witte warns. “I all the time counsel placing a bolster vertically in your mat beneath each your hip and knee, in order that the knee and hip are parallel, and your knee isn’t compensating for no matter mobility you’re missing in your hip.”

4. “For those who’re tight, you could stretch extra.”

With a lot stretching integrated into yoga, if you happen to apply usually, you would possibly suppose that in fact you need to be limber sufficient to achieve all of the poses. In actuality, Witte says that when you have a devoted yoga apply and nonetheless really feel tight, it’s possible not due to a scarcity of stretching.

Many yoga practices focus primarily on stretching the again facet of your physique, however embody little to no strengthening work, she says. “So, after years of practising yoga and stretching your hamstrings, your physique will lack stability—oftentimes the feeling of tightness, particularly amongst yogis, is definitely an indication of this weak spot.”

With out the soundness and power to help flexibility, the nervous system “tightens” as a protecting mechanism, Witte explains. “My greatest piece of recommendation to those that stretch on a regular basis is to attempt incorporating some power work into your routine, particularly for the glutes and hamstrings,” she says.

5. “Don’t let your knee go previous your toes.”

Mentioned in numerous health lessons, this phrase might really feel like a second-nature reminder you usually inform your self throughout squats and lunges. In response to Witte, although, it’s really only a foolish, antiquated rule.

“Our knees are designed to bend 180 levels,” she factors out. “You’re going to need to bend them 180 levels while you squat all the way down to roll up your mat after class, or while you sit down on the ground to place your sneakers on…so why can’t you do it throughout class?”

In actual fact, Witte says that by limiting knee motion, it may possibly really dampen tissue capability, which may make doing real-world actions like snowboarding and working round with little ones tougher. So the following time an teacher spouts this supposed rule, know to your core that it’s primarily based on lore, probably not physiological reality.


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