How to Use Nutation to Refine Uttanasana Part ll – A Fringe Benefit

In our last post, Part I of this series on Uttanasana, we explained nutation and gave a trick for engaging the tensor fascia lata (TFL) and gluteus medius. Contracting these muscles allows us to access movement at the sacroiliac joint and aids to protect against hyperflexion of the lumbar spine

Nutation in Uttanasana

( Drawing on left–Countering external rotation of the
 femurs with the gluteus medius 
and tensor fascia lata.)

Now, when we bend forward from the hips, the gluteus maximus stretches. This produces a pull on the femurs that can externally rotate them and turn the kneecaps slightly outwards. Ideally we would like the kneecaps to face directly forward. An added benefit of engaging the tensor fascia lata and gluteus medius is that it internally rotates the thighs. The gluteus minimus contributes to this action when the hips are flexing. This counteracts the pull of the stretching gluteus maximus and brings the kneecaps to face forward—the optimal form of the pose. Access this fringe benefit by fixing the feet on the mat and gently attempting to drag them apart. Feel how this internally rotates the thighs.

Then try activating the tensor fascia lata and gluteus medius in seated forward bends. For example, in Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend), the cue for this is to press the heels into the floor and try to drag them apart. You can also press the outer edges of the feet or lower legs into the hands for a similar effect. Feel how these techniques deepen and refine your forward bends. Remember to use gentle force with these cues. Train yourself to moderate engaging and releasing the muscles when sculpting the form of your poses.

More yoga basics and yoga anatomy from YogaUOnline and Ray Long, MD, FRCSC

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Author, Ray Long MD FRCSC is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and the founder of Bandha Yoga. Ray graduated from The University of Michigan Medical School with post-graduate training at Cornell University, McGill University, The University of Montreal and Florida Orthopedic Institute. He has studied hatha yoga for over twenty years, training extensively with B.K.S. Iyengar and other leading yoga masters.                 

Chris Macivor3d Graphic Designer / Illustrator Chris Macivor has been involved in the field of digital content creation for well over ten years. He is a graduate of Etobicoke School of the Arts, Sheridan College and Seneca College. Chris considers himself to be equally artististic and technical in nature. As such his work has spanned many genres from film and television to videogames and underwater imagery.              


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