In our last post, Part II of this series on Uttanasana, we gave a trick for engaging the tensor fascia lata (TFL) and gluteus medius. Contracting these muscles allows us to access movement at the sacroiliac joint and aids to protect against hyperflexion of the lumbar spine.
|Countering external rotation of the|
femurs with the gluteus medius
and tensor fascia lata.
Now, when we do a forward bend from the hips, the gluteus maximus stretches. This produces a pull on the femurs that can externally rotate them and turn the kneecaps slightly outwards. Ideally we would like the kneecaps to face directly forward. An added benefit of engaging the TFL and gluteus medius is that it internally rotates the thighs. The gluteus minimus contributes to this action when the hips are flexing. This counteracts the pull of the stretching gluteus maximus and brings the kneecaps to face forward—the optimal form of the pose. Access this fringe benefit by fixing the feet on the mat and gently attempting to drag them apart. Feel how this internally rotates the thighs.
Then try activating the TFL and gluteus medius in seated forward bends. For example, in Upavistha Konasana, the cue for this is to press the heels into the floor and try to drag them apart. You can also press the outer edges of the feet or lower legs into the hands for a similar effect. Feel how these techniques deepen and refine your forward bends.
Remember to use gentle force with these cues. Train yourself to moderate engaging and releasing the muscles when sculpting the form of your poses.
Thanks for checking in. We’ll see you for the next post on how to use the abdominals to release the muscles of the lower back in Uttanasana.
We hope you’ll also take a moment to browse through our books on the right side of the page to learn many more of these cues for a variety of poses.
Ray and Chris