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From the Publisher
Anatomy for Hip Openers and Forward Bends
Yoga Mat Companion 2
Ray Long MD
In the second book in the Mat Companion series, Dr. Ray Long shares the art and the science behind hip openers and forward bends. This companion guide takes readers on a visual narrative through the anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology of this ancient art, decoding each pose along the way. Through this scientific approach to hip openers and forward bends, practitioners are able to build a stronger knowledge and awareness of the anatomy of this family of poses and deepen their practice.
Excerpts from: Yoga Mat Companion 2 – Anatomy for Hip Openers and Forward Bends – by Ray Long MD
In Paschimottanasana we flex the trunk and hips. A key agonist/antagonist relationship in this pose involves the psoas (which flexes the hips) and its antagonist, the gluteus maximus (which extends them). Activating the psoas produces reciprocal inhibition of the gluteus maximus, allowing it to relax into the stretch.
Remember to engage the agonist muscles that produce the form of the pose. In Hanumanasana, contract the forward-leg quadriceps and psoas and the back-leg gluteus maximus and hamstrings. This produces reciprocal inhibition of the muscles we lengthened in the facilitated stretch, allowing them to relax more deeply into the pose.
In Krounchasana, press the palm onto the bent knee and then resist as you try to lift the leg into the hand. This activates the hip flexors, including the psoas muscle. Once you get a feeling for engaging the psoas, you will be able to contract it without using the hand for resistance. Note that, in addition to flexing the hip, the psoas also tilts the pelvis forward (anteversion). This draws the ischial tuberosities back away from the knee. See how this cue can be used to augment the stretch of the straight-leg hamstrings.
Supta Padangusthasana A
These actions create a primary stretch of the muscles at the back of the lifted leg, including the gluteus maximus, adductor magnus, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius. The hip flexors at the front of the leg that remains on the floor also stretch, including the psoas, pectineus, adductors longus and brevis, sartorius, and rectus femoris.
Yoga Mat Companion 2: Anatomy for Hip Openers and Forward Bends
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