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Questions about Meridians and Hamstrings

 
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1027
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:45 am    Post subject: Questions about Meridians and Hamstrings Reply with quote

I recently was asked the following questions:

    Hi Bernie, I hope you have been well. I hope you don't mind a couple of questions. I don't know if you remember but I asked you about something you said in your book, that the pelvis should tilt forward in seated forward folds. I remember you answered me but I don't think I fully comprehended the answer so I was hoping you would repeat it. Is it actually unhealthy or dangerous for someone with tight hamstrings to sit with their pelvis tilted back? If so why?

    Another question I had was about the meridians. You and Sarah both say that backbends stimulate the Kidney UB meridian, but it seems that the material Paul gave us says that Kidney UB is stimulated through forward folds stretching the hamstrings and spinal flexion. Is this a difference of opinion or am I just misunderstanding Paul's materials?

    Thank you for any help you can give me with this. I greatly appreciate your insight and time!


Hi Doug - hope you are well! I will try my best to answer your questions.

1) I often recommend sitting flexion postures be done with the pelvis elevated slightly to allow a forward tilt to the pelvis for a couple of reasons. One - this allows gravity to be more effective at drawing people forward, especially stiffies who just can't seem to get past vertical. By sitting up on something, they area already tilted and gravity now, rather than their muscles, can create the desired flexion. Two - if people are tight in the hamstrings, the hamstrings will pull the bottom of the pelvis out and forward creating more flexion along the spine: think of it like this - if the pelvis can't flex, the spine must. However, for people who have discogenic problems or sciatica, sitting up on a cushion and/or tilting the pelvis may reduce the flexion in the spine that could contribute to their problem/pain. [For more on sciatica see the article I wrote a few months ago.]

2) Paul and Sarah are both right. The way to "work" any meridian is to stress it and that stress can come through either stretching or compressing the lines. Backbends will compress the Urinary Bladder and Kidney meridians while also compressing the actual kidney organs (which is why Mr Iyengar also recommends these poses to help kidney and adrenal function.) Paul is also right in that forward folds can stretch the same meridian lines. Think of a massage: you get stretched and compressed. In Thai Yoga Massage we use thumbs, palms, elbows and many other body parts to apply a compression (stress) to the "sen lines" (that's the Thai name for the meridians) and then we also stretch (stress) those areas.

I hope these answer your questions.
Cheers
Bernie
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DJ



Joined: 11 Mar 2014
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Bernie, this is perfect! Yes this does answer my questions however I do have another question based on your answer to #1 though.

From the sounds of it, if the student does not suffer from discogenic problems or sciatica and are not in pain, than there is nothing actually dangerous about sitting with a backward tilt to the pelvis. Is this correct? Or is it necessary to try to find some way for the student to tilt their pelvis forward (sit on a block AND bend the knee for instance) in say Caterpillar for them to really benefit and be safe?
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1027
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:04 am    Post subject: Why tilt the pelvis when doing sitting poses? Reply with quote

It is a question of intention, skeletal variations and biomechanics. When the pelvis is allowed to roll backwards while sitting there is going to be more flexion in the lumbar spine. For some people that may not be a problem, but for lots of people the stress can lead to issues. I generally default to the safest option: tilt the pelvis forward.

This is not ideal for everyone though - there may be some students who want to get a bit more stress along the spine so keeping the legs straight and allowing the spine to round may be ideal for them. These people would be in the minority however. They would be people with healthy, strong backs but maybe a bit stiff in the lumbar. Creating a strong flexion in the lumbar may be just what the doctor ordered. For most people however, the spine doesn't need more mobility but rather more stability.

it is a generalization but we can say in general that the spine naturally offers mobility and thus needs more stability (think of the structure of our spine: it is tower of blocks stacked on top of each other - not inherently stable) and our limb joints offer more stability and need mobility (these are ball in socket joints which offer a lot more stability than the stack of vertebrae of our spine). In other words - we need to stabilize our core and increase range of motion in our shoulders and hips. Please remember: that is a gross generalization and what each student actually needs varies.

I hope this helps.
Cheers
Bernie
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DJ



Joined: 11 Mar 2014
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bernie this makes perfect sense and I totally understand that its a generalization, but this generalization is very helpful. Thank you once again!
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EmmaM



Joined: 13 Mar 2018
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is very helpful information. Thanks!
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