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The feet are a crucial point of foundation in the majority of our yoga postures. Without discernible awareness to the foundation from our foot connection to the earth, alignment issues can readily cascade through the kinetic chain of joints that interact with our feet. By mindfully engaging our feet, we can awaken this foundation and bring stability, intelligence, and harmony into the rest of our postures. One such muscle that may facilitate this is the abductor hallicus longus.
The abductor hallicus longus arises from the medial process of the tuberosity of the calcaneus, from the laciniate ligament, from the plantar aponeurosis, and from the inter muscular septum between it and the flexor digitorium brevis. The muscle fibres travel along the medial border of the foot to insert on the medial edge of the first phalanx (big toe). Overall, we can visualize this muscle running from the instead edge of the heel to the base of the big toe, and when contracted, it draws the big toe away from the 2nd toe (abduction) and facilitates ‘toe spread’.
When we engage the abductor hallicus longus and work to abduct the big toe, we can feel the muscular contraction create a supportive bridge into our medial longitudinal arch. This arch, along with the lateral and transverse arches, are fundamental structures for absorbing shock forces in standing movement patterns (i.e. walking and running). Sustaining these arches is fundamental also for developing harmonious and purposeful alignment in many of our poses. For example, if the medial arch collapses in Warrior 2, there is a tendency for the forward knee to track inwards placing imbalances and stress on the knee cap.
The overall structure and support of our arches stems from the combination of bones, ligaments and an array of muscles. The abductor hallicus longus alone can not be the primary supportive muscle for the medial arch, but it certainly can enhance the arch’s integrity.
To learn how to engage the abductor hallicus longus, you can simply start in seated or standing position like Mountain Pose. Begin with one foot and work to spread the big toe away from the 2nd toe. Once this is achieved, also lightly flex the big toe away from you. Throughout this muscular engagement, take note of the energetic sensation that travels from the base the big toe all the way the inside edge of the heel. Once this energetic ‘connection’ is comfortably and confidently established, visualize areas where this can be readily integrated:
*Downward Facing Dog – as you settle back into the forward bend, I like to complete the pose with a minute internal rotation of the thighs (to bring more stretch into the inner hamstrings). This internal rotation often carries down into the ankles and feet, thus making some people prone to medial arch collapse. Following the internal thigh rotation, engaging the abductor hallicus longus and toe spread can counter the inner thigh spiral and restore the medial arch.
*Warrior 2 – inward tracking of the forward knee is a common alignment problem. There are a number of engagement and adjustment techniques (from the hips down the feet) to encourage the knee to flow back into balance and in line with the forward foot. Contracting the abductor hallicus longus can be an additional application supporting these other alignment cues to help insure that the medial arch retains support and lift, thus assisting with harmony of the forward knee.
As you start playing with toe spreads and targeting the abductor hallicus longus, consider that this is muscle like any other. Ease into engaging this muscle gradually to allow for conditioning and strength adaptations. Explore all the potential applications in standing poses where medial arch support can be enhanced. Also take advantage of seated poses like Jane Sirsasana (one leg forward bend) and Dandasana (staff pose) where the leg(s) are extended and the feet and toes are in prime placement to be explored and worked.
Yoga Anatomy for Enhancing Knee Alignment and Integrity
Description: Join us for this engaging workshop that will examine yoga anatomy concepts that promote better alignment for stronger knee placement and reduced forces in standing yoga postures. We will discuss multiple topics on bringing functionality and harmony to the knees including:
*the importance of knee position in classic poses like Warrior 2 with discussions on Q-angle, knee cap distress, and individuals who are more prone to misalignment
*the mechanics of knee flexion depth, squats and the use of ‘center line of gravity’ to reduce stress forces in the knees
*the concept of ‘locking the knees’ and discussion on why we should retain ‘buoyancy’ and engagement
This workshop will offer ample time for practical applications and is ideal for students and teachers looking to strengthen their awareness and practice skills. This workshop is eligible for 2 hours CEU with Yoga Alliance.
Shoulder Girdle Harmony
Join us at Naada Yoga as we explore fundamental yoga anatomy principles of the shoulder girdle that will enhance strength and integrity in the upper body. Learn how the shoulder girdle functions in transferring energy throughout the body and the importance of bringing stabilization to this energy bridge.
We will follow this lecture with a mixed-levels Hatha Yoga practice. Suitable for students and teachers. Proceeds will go to Paper Kite Foundation, a non-profit charity working to ensure that basic necessities are available to orphanages in the state of Bihar, India.
WHEN: November 2, 2014 4:30-6:30pm
COST: by donation
To register, please visit Naada Yoga
Warm thanks to our sponsors who are sharing great giveaways:
International Yoga presenter and exercise science specialist, Kreg Weiss (co-creator and co-founder of My Yoga Online), will lead you through this uplifting 100 hour program teaching you the fundamentals of how to confidently create a Classical Hatha Yoga practice that weaves in the intelligence and integrity of western science with the harmonious elements of this traditional Hatha Yoga. This training will begin with an expansive exploration of functional anatomy, then, journey through in-depth applications of yoga postures, and conclude with multiple days of designing of yoga classes for a variety of clientele and demographics.
This comprehensive program will include:
*daily guided hatha yoga practices (sadhana)
*foundational review of anatomy of muscles, bones, and connective tissue
*an engaging exploration of functional yoga anatomy and applications
*on-going kinesiology (exercise science) group exercises and homework to develop and hone your teaching skills
*examination of a vast number of classic Hatha Yoga poses breaking down the fundamental alignment principles from a Hatha perspective including corrections, modifications, and assists as well as the integration of western exercise science techniques to enhance asana development
*examination of the style of ‘hatha yoga’ in relation to other styles of practice and the methodology of Classical Hatha Yoga sequencing
*6 days of learning how to design and sequence flows effectively for various clientele and demographics including beginners, mixed-levels, intermediate, athletes, and corporate
This program will provide the following:
*complete skills to teach Classical Hatha Yoga to a variety of audiences
*greater base of knowledge and understanding of yoga anatomy and exercise science fundamentals to empower your teaching and personal practice
*greater ability to adapt class designs so they are integrity-driven and purposeful based on students’ inherent needs and interests
*catalogue of yoga sequences and flows to work from and incorporate into your teaching practice
*increased experience and confidence with designing and teaching sequences as well as hands-on manipulation of student alignment
*100 Hours of CECs for annual Yoga Alliance membership requirements
*complimentary 1 year mentorship for guidance with yoga anatomy, class design, and career development
REGISTRATION AND CONTACT DETAILS:
Date: February 20th – March 3rd, 2015
*Thursday 26th (Day off)
Where: Dubai, UAE
Timing: 9:00 am – 5:30pm with one hour lunch break.
5,000 AED Early Bird Fee (expires on February 1st, 2015)
5,800 AED Final Rate
*This rate includes your comprehensive Hatha manual, all assignments, 77contact hours and 23 private homework before and during the course and certificate of completion by Kreg
Pre Requisites: To apply for this course you will need to have had at least a 6-months solid yoga practice or teaching background.
Yoga Alliance and Certification: All graduates will receive a certificate of completion by the end of the course. For Yoga Alliance Registered teachers, this training allows you to add 100hrs CEC upon graduation.
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER, VISIT YOGALATES BLISS IN DUBAI