“. . . 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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Degenerative Disc Disease, The Sushumna Nadi and Yoga

“A sword by itself rules nothing. It only comes alive in skilled hands.”
Sir Te to Governor Yu in the martial arts classic, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Many myths, legends, and historians hold that human beings in the ancient past were much more connected to their higher selves and power. These sources maintain that, at some point in our distant past, we suffered a primal trauma—an injury that affected us to our core, both biologically and psychically. Some theorize this event affected us on the very level of our DNA. The theory is that this trauma disconnected us from our higher powers and we have been suffering, causing suffering, and trying to heal ever since. Some postulate that yoga—specifically, hatha yoga—evolved in response to this trauma to re-establish this connection, hence, the name “yoga,” which means “to unite” (or re-unite).

Sushumna Nadi

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lengthening the Torso in Forward Bends

In “Preventative Strategies for Lower Back Strains Part I,” we discussed femoral-pelvic and lumbar-pelvic rhythm, muscles that influence these rhythms, and the effects of these muscles on the lumbar spine. Here, our discussion progresses as we cover the trunk, the thoraco-lumbar fascia (TLF), Uddiyana Bandha and how accurate knowledge of this can be used to enhance the benefits of yoga and decrease the risk of lower back strains.

The thoraco-lumbar complex (TLC) is a multilayered structure comprised of the thoracolumbar fascia and the muscles that connect to it. This composition of passive fascial tissues and active muscular structures acts as a corset-like structure that encircles the torso. It plays a key role in maintaining the integrity and stability of the lumbar spine and the sacroiliac joint and is also important for load transfer from the upper limbs to the lower limbs. Engaging the muscles that connect to the thoracolumbar fascia acts to stabilize the spine and trunk. We give an example of this in a previous blog post on using the latissimus dorsi to lift the lumbar and expand the thorax. Figure 1 illustrates the thoraco-lumbar composite in cross section at the mid-lumbar. 

thoracolumbar fascia - cross section
Cross section of the thoracolumbar fascia with its connections to the abdominal core and erector spinae (at L3).