I'm often asked how to do a simple adjustment that I use to reduce sassy hips in virabhadrasana II (warrior 2). Check out my post about sassy hips if you're not sure what I'm talking about. This is a common warrior 2 misalignment that I used to see constantly in some of my regular students. One day I thought, "Ok, this needs to change!" and just grabbed one of my students hips and twisted sassy-ness right out of them. That was the birth of the sassy hip adjustment. Over time, I've refined this adjustment a bit, so check out the video of the current version below.
Have you ever seen a hiked up back hip in Virabhadrasana II (warrior 2 pose)? I call it the "sassy hip" because it has some life and attitude. It pops up like the hips of a runway model taking a stroll down the catwalk. What's going on with these sassy hips in Virabhadrasana II? Let's take a look at the anatomy behind it.
In part I of my hip opening posts, we took a look at opening the hips in flexion and extension in the saggital plane. Remember the hips move in several directions, so let's talk about the next ways that we can "open the hips."
When we think about hip openers in yoga, we often think about a folded Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (half pigeon pose) to stretch some of the hip rotators, but don't forget that the hips do more than just rotate!
I recently received an email from a yoga teacher buddy asking how many vertebrae we have in our spines, specifically how many cervical vertebrae. "Is it 7 or 8?" This may clear things up.
What are we stretching with a pigeon leg or a figure 4 position? You may think of it as the front leg in half pigeon pose. My friend Hana calls the leg position a 7. Anatomically, it is hip flexion, abduction and external rotation. Whatever you call it, taking a look at the functional anatomy will help us determine what is happening in our pigeon-legged poses.
Yoga teacher, Melina, recently asked me, "Why can't my student straighten her knees in Paschimottasana (seated forward fold) when she can in Uttanasana (standing forward fold)? Her hamstrings seem pretty open. What are the mechanics behind this?"
I've had many students come up to me after a class saying, "My [fill in body part] is really tight! What is a good pose or stretch that I can do to loosen it up?" This or some variation of this question will inevitably come up at some point in a yoga teaching career. A general understanding of the mechanics of a stretch will help you find a quick answer and keep your yogic composure!
Here's another yoga teacher question that I recently recieved:
"Does rocking side to side in happy baby pose massage your kidneys? Does it compress the kidneys, and when you release does it send them fresh blood? I am curious about this in regards to compression of the organs in floor bow as well! 'Fresh blood'- is that a thing?"
In this post I'm getting back to some anatomy terminology! This will be the 3rd and final part of my anatomy language series. Please check out Anatomy Language: Part I and Anatomy Language: Part II if you missed them. There are a few more basic movements that are helpful for yogis and yoga teachers to know. These additions are kind of "special movements", but don't worry! These movements are really only special
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