Jonathan

Bending

8 posts in this topic

Hi, I am new to the forum and yoga. 

I have been doing yoga at home for about a month and started a local weekly class last week. I manage about 4 practices a week but aim for daily.

the biggist hurdle at the moment is understanding how to increase flexibility. In particular when bending. 

I am trying to understand where the issue is and what poses and stretches to do to work on it.

if I sit on the floor, legs out straight, I cant bend over very much at all. I see others folded in half and I struggle to be further forward than having my back upright! This impacts lots of poses.

 

if I bend my legs to the side I can fold forward so am I correct in thinking I need to work on my legs? And if so how do I best do that?

 

any help and guidance would be great.

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Thanks LarryD517 - I didn't realise it was my hamstring but it makes perfect sense! Perfect, okay so I will work on practises around those until I work out the tension.

That article was really helpful.

Thank you very much, that is really helpful. Excited to crack on now i know what to work on to remove the tension. 

 

 

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Hi Jonathan I am glad you found our little community and welcome. Understand that with stretching if we push really hard into any stretch all our muscles tense and contract then we can't really do anything. It is difficult to breathe, we can't really do much in the pose, we won't gain much from the pose, maybe injury. It's important to understand the part in that link about the stretch reflex. When sitting in Staff Pose, Dandasana, you can also try pressing your heels down strongly and bend your knees as much as necessary. We are working toward straight legs but much more important to have a long extended spine. You can also put your hands behind you on the floor, behind your bum and give yourself a little assist up for more height in the torso. Don't become dependent on the arms for this, just a little extra boost in the right direction. 

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Thanks Anahata - I can get a straight back upright with legs flat on the floor. But cant bend forwards much at all. (I work at a desk through the day and have for years, i guess this has a lot to do with the tension.)

I just need to work out a personal practice to do each day to work on this, which is great. 

I understand this is a personal thing but from other peoples experience how long does it take to get from upright like myself to folded with chest against the legs (paschimottana)?

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20 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

... how long does it take to get from upright like myself to folded with chest against the legs (paschimottana)?

Probably...very long.

I'm 58 and have been practicing every day for 18 months and I'm quite far from chest against legs. The only way I can get my gut to touch my thighs is to drastically increase my intake of donuts :) )

I guess the point I'd like to share with you (as a non-advanced practitioner) is...don't worry about trying to look like the photos you see posted. In all likelihood, you're probably never clasp your hands...

7a98fbfe2ce4737a5f3244b79a440bae.jpg

... or put your elbows to the ground...

yoga Paschimotanasana1.jpg

 

That's okay...yoga isn't about achieving perfection but rather getting the benefit of the pose.

When I do the pose, I use a strap and try to keep a straight back and pose like this (and get a phenomenal stretch)

ea5f309253085b456c4c41131391a673.jpg

 

Don't worry about making it to the cover of a yoga magazine, chances are you wont.

Instead, learn what the pose is supposed to do for you. In the case of the lady with the strap above, with her back straight, she is stretching her hamstrings as far as they will go.

Do this every day and you'll make progress. Don't get frustrated, every body is different and there are things that are easier for some (for example, the gals hamstrings) than others.

 

yogafire likes this

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The strap is a great idea, thanks. I do have one but not thought about using it in that pose. 

Thanks for the insight. I am really enjoying chatting to people about yoga on this forum, I live in a remote ish place in Scotland and I am new to it all so its good to have people to chat to about it.

 I have been doing a lot of reading about yoga and it agrees with what you say. I am not really pushing to be picture perfect but at the moment not being able to bend enough is stopping me from doing poses i would love to be able to practice. I also think that the tension has to be removed as it cant be any good for my body.

When it comes to personal practice - does there need to be certain flows of poses or can i simple take a bunch of poses like these http://www.yogajournal.com/category/poses/anatomy/hamstrings/  and work through them each day? I have been using an app called yoga glo, so i can get structure to what i do and some guidance. It has been great. But keen to start taking control of what i am doing if possible. 

 

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20 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Thanks Anahata - I can get a straight back upright with legs flat on the floor. But cant bend forwards much at all. (I work at a desk through the day and have for years, i guess this has a lot to do with the tension.)

I just need to work out a personal practice to do each day to work on this, which is great. 

I understand this is a personal thing but from other peoples experience how long does it take to get from upright like myself to folded with chest against the legs (paschimottana)?

My little idea about pushing up with the arms is good for everyone, even folded forward somewhat. Use the little push to lift the torso, open across the chest and front of the shoulders. Maybe as a guide or assist to help get set up properly before we go into the fold.

An all around practice is good for most people. Candace has some good videos.

It will likely take years to get the chest down to legs, maybe never. It depends on how bendy a person is I suppose.

Be aware there is a common injury with the hamstrings stretches. Tears at the sit bone attachment. The hamstring tendon can get partially torn off the sit bone which is as bad as it sounds. It is from pushing too much into the stretches. A way to help reduce this risk is to always bend the knees slightly going into and out of standing forward folds. And always press the heals down in seated forward folds. Don't press the knees against the backside of the knee joint, use the muscles to support the legs/knee joints. And don't push into the stretches really hard either.

Relieving the tension feels great, often everywhere in our body.

Don't be afraid to make use of this forum, that's what we are here for. 

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