“. . . according to the Yoga Sutra (3.1), the term [Bandha] refers to the ‘binding’ of consciousness to a particular object or locus (desha), which is the very essence of concentration.”
Georg Feuerstein

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Preventative Strategies for Lower Back Strains in Yoga: Part Two

In our last post we focused on the benefits of engaging the quadriceps in forward bends. These include reciprocal inhibition of the hamstrings and the contribution of one head of the quadriceps, the rectus femoris, to flexing the hip joint and tilting the pelvis forward. Tilting the pelvis forward helps to prevent hyper flexing of the lumbar spine through lumbar-pelvic rhythm. 

This post emphasizes the role of hip adductors and abductors in flexing the hips with a cue for co-activating these muscles. Balanced engagement of these muscles produces a stabilizing bandha about the hip joint and pelvis, while at the same time synergizing hip flexion. This contributes to femoral-pelvic rhythm, which in turn aids to prevent hyper flexing the lumbar in forward bends.

First, let’s look at the anatomy. The more anterior adductor muscles (the adductors longus and brevis) draw the femurs toward the midline, adducting them. The pectineus contributes to this action. The tensor fascia lata (TFL), on the other hand, draws the femurs away from the midline, abducting them. Thus, the TFL and adductors (and pectineus) are antagonists for these actions. These same muscles all flex the hip joint and are synergists of this action. Accordingly, co-activating this antagonist/synergist pair can be used to stabilize the hip (through opposing actions) and synergize hip flexion. 

adductors longus, brevis and pectineus - dandasana
The adductors longus and brevis and pectineus in Dandasana.