In recent months I have explored the wonders of the wrist and the secrets of strong shoulders. Each has a huge influence on the way we practice yoga poses and both, rightly, deserved the individual attention. But, what of the bits of the arm between? Just a couple of bones, a few muscles and a hinge in the middle – let’s take a look and discover the sophistication of this undervalued anatomical part. (more…)
As a novice yogi, I clearly remember the frustration of poor upper body strength. My shoulders were so weak that chaturaṅga daṇḍāsana resembled a breakdancing caterpillar and iconic poses like bakāsana (crow) and handstands were an impossible dream. But I was not alone. Many people lack strength in their shoulders when they first come to yoga. Modern lifestyle no longer routinely includes the heavy lifting and hard labour that kept our ancestors naturally strong in the arm.
This does not mean that we can’t all aspire to super strong shoulders. Muscles have the capacity to become stronger throughout life. Even in older age, muscles will build with increased loading. So, how can we do this safely and effectively? (more…)
Week after week, British TV audiences were left staring in wonder at their TV screens as they watched 59-year-old Debbie McGee perform dance moves that would flummox most 20 year olds in last season’s Strictly Come Dancing. (more…)
Yoga may be about as good as physiotherapy for treating lower back pain, according to a new study published in a major medical journal. The results of the long-term study, which involved a large and racially diverse group of participants, come as welcome scientific support for using yoga as a therapy for back pain. (more…)
Handstands are one of those wonderfully iconic poses of yoga, isn’t it? Done well it is a graceful combination of strength, balance and poise — a challenging, dynamic inversion and pure poetry in motion, but I know I am not alone in struggling to master even a few moments in handstand before gravity takes over and I crumple into an untidy heap. So, is it just that I need more practice? Or is my anatomy getting in the way? (more…)