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Bandha Yoga Scientific Keys to Unlock the Practice of Yoga
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Using the Adductor Muscles in Dog Pose, Tadasana and Urdhva Hastasana

Get a feel for isolating the proximal adductor group first in Utkatasana and Navasana. Once you gain awareness of these muscles, you can use them to refine Dog Pose. Do this by visualizing drawing the upper inner thighs towards one another. This contracts the adductors longus and brevis and pectineus, which adduct, flex, and externally rotate the femurs. You may recall a tip for activating the tensor fascia lata from our blog post, "Strong Thigh Muscles Benefit People with Knee Osteoarthritis.” Co-activate the adductor group with the tensor fascia lata to stabilize the pelvis, flex the hips, and balance internal and external rotation of the femurs.
the adductors and TFL in Dog Pose

Equalize the abductors and adductors in Tadasana and Urdhva Hastasana. Begin by spreading the weight evenly across the soles of the feet. To learn about the muscles used for this, see our post, “How to Balance Opposites in the Foot and Ankle.” Engage the TFL by pressing the balls of the feet into the mat and gently trying to drag the feet apart. Feel how this activates the muscles on the sides of the hips (the TFL and front part of the gluteus medius). Simultaneously contract the adductor group by drawing the upper thighs together. These actions give an alive and springy feel to the asana. Then gradually decrease the muscular effort required to hold the pose. A light sense of stability and stillness remains. To learn the anatomy behind this technique click here.

When you’re combining antagonistic muscle groups, you might experience that the action seems to shift from one side of the hip to the other. With practice, this alternation ebbs away. This is because the unconscious brain quickly forms circuitry to refine the combination of opposing forces and produce stillness.

The ancient Chinese oracle, The I Ching, addresses this concept in sign number 52, which translates to Keeping Still. According to the Wilhelm translation:

The Book of Changes holds that rest is merely a state of polarity that always posits movement as its complement. Possibly the words of the text embody directions for the practice of yoga.”
(Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes, THE I CHING or Book of Changes)

Also, feel free to check out our blog, The Daily Bandha.


Ray and Chris
the adductors and TFL in mountain pose

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