The First Yogi Part 1 (updated)

A very long time ago, perhaps as much as 15,000 years ago, before anyone had heard of Yoga or the Bhagavad Gita or even Tantra, a unique looking man was seen wandering around the upper region of the Himalayas. No one knew his name. No one knew who he was. No one knew where he had come from. As time passed his legend grew. He was seen very rarely but when he was, he was seen in cremation grounds dancing wildly, or he would be sat completely still, his eyes closed. He would sit motionless for many months at a time. At this time only a few million people lived on earth, so the region of the Indian subcontinent was not as populated as it is now. All the people of that part of the world soon bega

The Quadratus Lumborum

The quadratus lumborum or 'QL' is the deepest abdominal muscle and commonly referred to as a back muscle. The ‘QL’ wraps around the lumbar spine and stabilises it. Often ignored in a basic stretch routine, stretching and activating this muscle will ensure that your spine has it's freedom to function fully and is not being restricted. On its own, the function of the 'QL' is to laterally flex the spine, or bend sideways (McGill, 2012). When working alongside other muscles, the QL stabilises the lumbar spine on each side (Nickelston, 2016) much like the cable stays of a bridge. The QL also maintains posture (Marieb, 2015). To visualise the work of the QL, think about holding a heavy object (hea

All about the Psoas Muscle

The following blog on the psoas is generally aimed at our current Teacher Trainee group and forms part of the Teacher Training programme. Those who have already qualified and anyone with interest in anatomy may find this blog interesting. A thorough understanding of muscles and anatomy is not essential for all yoga teachers. An academic knowledge of the body doesn't create the ability to lead and teach which is a far more important skill for the yoga teacher to possess but I have found in my experience, that brushing up on my anatomy and keeping up to date with the latest research does help me offer my students a better rounded service. So if a student asks for a specific hip or lat stretch

The Complete Guide to Headstands (updated)

This blog will take a look at the "king of asanas", the headstand. You will read tips and see images and videos of your favourite teachers along with explanations from world renowned asana practitioners. B.K.S Iyengar (left) in one of the last photos taken of him before his death. Photo credit: Aditya Kapoor from DK books for the Iyengar Institute. The headstand in my opinion is the most important of all yoga asanas. I have written before about yoga helping you to recognise and then embrace the authentic version of yourself. One that is not held back by negative emotions such as anxiety and self doubt. The aim of yoga as B.K.S Iyengar once said (2008), is to integrate the various layers of o

Tree Pose (updated)

The Tree Pose as we know it was originally called Bhagīratha-asana by Krishnamacharya - the father of modern day yoga. Named after the Vedic royal prince, Bhagīratha. Legend says the ancestors of prince Bhagīratha where doomed by a curse from the sage Kapila. "Your uncles O Bhagīrathaa, can only be purified by the holy waters of the River Ganga, which resides in the heavens", said Kapila. When Bhagīratha heard of the great curse, he became determined to force the celestial Ganga to come to the earth and thus give salvation to his ancestors. Bhagīratha went to the Himalayas and performed rigorous penance to Śhiva, standing only on one leg. Image above: The sage Bhagīratha praying to Śhiva. Be

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