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Bandha Yoga - science/anatomy for flexibility


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While trying to figure out why the standing leg limbers in the pancake program weren't being felt in my hips, I went looking for some other sources on the move. I ended up finding Ray Long and his site/books Bandha Yoga and his blog http://www.dailybandha.com/. They bill themselves as giving "scientific keys to unlock the practice of yoga."

Long's approach is really complementary to the interests Kit and the community here have here in the focus on anatomy and the musculoskeletal physiology. A particularly great part of what they've got is an illustration technique that shows clearly how each muscle is supposed to be contracted or relaxed in any given pose.

For instance, check out this image of a pancake-like pose (Uppavishta konasana -- blue is contract, red is relax, note the dashed arrows showing driving the feet out):


I've already found a few gems here and there about what the sensations should be in a given stretch. He also gives a good account of "facilitated stretching" (same as C-R), reciprocal inhibition, and co-activation--not that any of that is novel to people here.

I don't have any of his books yet, but I'm planning to get one or two soon. Check it out! I'm sure everyone here will find something interesting in either the books or the blog. and you don't have to be a yoga person to appreciate it (I'm not one... yet!).

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That's a lovely image, for sure. And that's exactly how we do it—but there will be a lot of work for most of us to be abel to get into this position, let alone work it this way. Cheers and thanks.

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Definitely there is a lot of focus on the ideal positions for the ideally flexible. He does demonstrate easier variations using mannequin figures. But there is clearly an expectation that a yoga teacher will be guiding through the appropriate preparatory elements--that part is not covered in-depth.

That said, even when doing the baby versions of a move, it is really helpful to see visually all the cues at once in an image.

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