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Bowen Technique and Yoga Therapy

About Whole Therapies by Lucy

In this space we hope to share the wealth of Yoga. Not only physical practice but also the mental part of yoga and general knowledge.

Anatomy and trivia existing together in one space.

Besides this you can find regular updates on Bowen Technique news and interesting matters related to this.

Releasing the Sartorius

Physical Yoga Therapy Posted on Sun, September 02, 2018 11:15:06

How to release Sartorius related aches

A simple way of finding first release in the Sartorius muscle is to start with sitting in Hero (Vajrasana) to gradually move into reclined hero.

(pic and video)

Or you could work on practicing extended hand to toe pose (utthita hasta padangusthasana)

(pic + Video)



The Sartorius

Anatomy Posted on Sun, September 02, 2018 10:59:17

Hip Flexors, Part 2
The Sartorius Muscle


Function
The Sartorius muscle is not only the longest muscle in the human body but also the only muscle that stretches over two joints.
Effectively helping in moving the hip and knee. While at the hip, it can flex, abduct(opening the legs), and laterally rotate the thigh, it can only flex (bend) the knee. As all all of its actions are weak, the sartorius is considered a synergist muscle.

Where
Generally speaking he sartorius muscle originates from the anterior superior iliac spine and part of the notch between the anterior superior iliac spine and anterior inferior iliac spine . It runs obliquely across the upper and anterior part of the thigh in an inferomedial direction. It passes behind the medial condyle of the femur to end in a tendon. This tendon curves anteriorly to join the tendons of the gracilis and semitendinosus muscles in the pes anserinus, where it inserts into the superomedial surface of the tibia (shin bone).

Like the other muscles in the anterior compartment of the thigh, sartorius is innervated by the femoral nerve.

There are however known variations in this muscle found in disection. It may originate from the outer end of the inguinal ligament, the notch of the ilium, the ilio-pectineal line or the pubis.

The muscle may be split into two parts, and one part may be inserted into the fascia Iata, the femur, the ligament of the patella or the tendon of the semitendinosus.

The tendon of insertion may end in the fascia lata, the capsule of the knee-joint, or the fascia of the leg.

And the muscle may be absent in some people.

Effects on posture
Due to its location and functions it plays a crucial role in development of knee and lumbar pain.
Activities that make you forcefully push off put a lot of strain on this muscle. Spending a lot of time in Lotus or any cross-legged position (daily meditation in the same position) keeps this muscle in constant contraction. And the muscle can be pulled or strained while jumping and running. Playing sports like hockey, rugby, football or basketball put you at a higher risk of developing a sartorius injury.

If the sartorius is extremely tight it can pull the pelvis forward (down facing arrow) as it will pull the Anterior Superior Iliac Spine down, resulting in a stronger lordosis or the lumbar spine (right pointing arrow).
This could cause lower back pain and pushes the abdomen forward but it can also be a contributing factor to an excessive rounding of the thoracic spine and forward head carriage.

Further down the leg it can create an inward rotation of the leg (knock knees) and cause inner knee pain. Common symptom is pain in the inner knee when lying on the side with the knees together.

If you suffer from any of the above symptoms you might want to jump over to the blog post where we explain what you can do yourself to alleviate your discomfort.Or you could book yourself a Bowen treatment at Valentis Therapy to help your body heal itself.



The Triceps Brachii

Anatomy Posted on Sat, June 30, 2018 14:27:36

The Triceps Brachii
(Latin for “three-headed muscle of the arm)

(red – the long head, yellow – the lateral head, green – the medial head)

The long head has its origin on the infraglenoid tubercle (bottom edge) of the scapula (shoulder blade). The medial head originates proximally from the dorsal (back) surface of the humerus (upper arm bone). The lateral head also originates from the dorsal surface of the humerus, but lateral (further to the outside) and proximal (closer to the trunk) to the groove of the radial nerve.
The fibres come together to form a single tendon which inserts onto the ulna. (The bone on the little finger side of the hand).

The triceps is an extensor muscle of the elbow joint and an antagonist of the biceps and brachialis muscles. This means it straightens the arm when engaged. It can also fixate the elbow joint when the forearm and hand are used for fine movements, e.g., when writing.

With its origin on the scapula, the long head also works the shoulder joint and is involved in retroversion (backwards rotation) and adduction (moving the arm towards the body) of the arm. It helps stabilise the shoulder joint at the top of the humerus

The triceps can be worked through either isolation or compound elbow extension movements and can contract statically to keep the arm straightened against resistance.

For yoga poses that work on the Triceps or that need the muscle to be more effective come back next week to read the next post in this series.

If you have any questions or remarks please leave a comment below and we will answer this as soon as possible.



Releasing the Psoas

Physical Yoga Therapy Posted on Wed, May 30, 2018 21:11:29

As we spend most of our life seated the psoas muscle is almost all the time in a contracted state and rarely ever gets a chance to fully release. This unfortunately often results in lower back ache, hip pain as well as emotional difficulties. When we work at finding release for our mental and physical tensions the muscles we most need to work on are the hip flexors and of those mostly the Psoas.

Today we will give you a series of poses designed to release that big muscle which connects our lower body to the upper and is the one that stores so much tension.

We will start with trying to get you to actually feel and recognise the Psoas muscle through a high Trikonasana (triangle pose)

Take a short (narrow) warrior two stance with the right foot forward

Try to drag the feet together to the centre of gravity which straightens the right leg to anactive(almost) straight leg with a soft knee

Reach the right arm up into the sky to create as much space on the right side as you can. Feel the stretch along the whole right side, from the tips of your fingers reaching up to the right groin area.

Then start reaching forward over your right active leg and place your hand halfway the right thigh. To give yourself a measure of distance. Make sure NOT to press down into the leg but to keep the length in the right side of your body. Then start to increase the distance between hand and armpit, working in the upwards direction with the upper body while the hand keeps the chain closed.

Repeat with the left leg forward

You might not feel, or recognise the muscle to begin with but do this exercise regularly and you will eventually recognise the “tingly” feeling in the lower body from inside the upper thigh to the lower back. To begin with you might feel it as a stretch in the groin mostly.

Moving into the stretches there are a few you will no doubt recognise and already practice regularly.

Anjaneyasana

From kneeling bring the left foot forward to bring the knee above the ankle.

Reach the both arms up

Try to direct the right knee into the earth while the upper body from just above the pelvis reaches up. Almost as if there is a physical division between upper body and lower body at pelvis level.

Press the right hip forward keeping the right knee above the ankle

Reach the upper body, from the waist, over to the left. Hold the hands apart as if holding on to a big beach ball.

repeat with the right foot forward

Bridge

Take the feet a little apart. Knees as wide as your feet and ground the whole feet from tip of the toes to heel

Try to already create length in the spine by feeling an imaginary pull from the top of your head that brings the chin into the throat, lengthening the back of the neck and a pull on the pelvis towards the footed of the mat

Press the feet through the floor and feel the pelvis tilting slightly back but hold on to the natural arch in your lower back. Pulling navel into the belly

Bring the arms alongside the body and scoop the shoulder blades underneath you. Bracing the head of your shoulders to the floor

Press the pelvis up to the sky by clenching the buttocks, pressing the feet down and press the pelvis

Locus

Lie prone with the legs spread and the feet pointing straight back.

The arms in a V-shape alongside the body with the palms ‘glued’ to the floor. Making sure there is a little bit of a bend in the elbows.

Press the hips into the ground by clenching the buttocks.

Try to drag yourself backwards off your mat, engaging the arms, shoulders and front of the body. This will start lifting the upper body but make sure you feel the arch in the thoracic spine!

Roll the shoulders back and draw them away from the ears!

Lift the legs.

These are a few poses you can use to open the front of your body and relax the Psoas muscle from its constant state of contraction.

Practice these and let us know how you feel after and if you’d like to see more poses to release the poses and rid yourself of lower back ache let us know by leaving a comment below.



The Psoas Muscle

Anatomy Posted on Fri, April 27, 2018 16:36:04

The Psoas Muscle

Why is this muscle so important and why do we need to learn how to relax it or suffer the consequences? What consequences you ask yourself? Well, there is lower back ache, hip problems, postural imbalance leading to knee problems, the list is almost endless but don’t worry there is lots we can do to prevent all these problems.

How is it that this muscle gives us so many possible problems?

If you consider that the Psoas muscle originates from the anterior surfaces and the lower borders of the transverse processes of the vertebrae T12-L5

Then note that the muscle inserted at the Lesser trochanter of the femur (a fancy way of saying that it connects at the inside of the top of the thigh bone.

The primary functions of this muscle is to flex the hip joint, give it external rotation and to bend the lumbar vertebral column Knowing this and that we spend most of our lives seated, an action supported by the action of this muscle it is no wonder it affects our lower back to have this muscle in an almost constant state of contraction.

So what can we do to counter the effect of this constant contraction of this most important postural muscle?

Activate its counter muscles! Activate your glutes and open the front of the body. Give the Psoas muscle signals to relax, but that is a topic for another post.

Keep your eyes open for the next blog post and if you have more anatomy questions post them in the comments and we will make sure to address them next time.



Bunion Therapy, Part 6

Physical Yoga Therapy Posted on Tue, April 24, 2018 08:27:06

The past weeks we have been showing you exercises to help you prevent or halt the development of bunions. This week we end the series of simple exercises with a combination of a few of the previous ones rolled into one. You will need your rubber band and a few minutes of your time each day to practice in order for the results to show.

The first thing you need to do is give your feet and toes space by loosening them up through the fingers between the toes handshake exercise. If you can’t remember this exercise jump to the video in the previous blogpost here.

Wiggle the toes a bit to create the feel for your toes and become aware of them as well as stimulate blood flow to the feet and toes.

Then place your rubber band around the both big toes placing the feet parallel on the floor. Keep an equal pressure on the ball mount of the big toes, the one under the little toes as well as the inside and outside of the heels. The feet should both be fully grounded without the slightest hint of inversion.

If you have forgotten where all the different parts of the foot named in this post are jump back the the anatomy section to read up on it again.

Begin with lifting and extending the big toes several times. You might feel the muscle that runs from the inner heel through the inner arch starting to tire. (The abductor hallucis)

To further the strengthening of the whole feet as well as building and stabilising healthy arches and strengthening the outer ankles and shins to help the knees especially if you have fallen arches we will give you this final set of toe exercises.

With the feet parallel and all toes still grounded rats only the little toes and extend them out and down to the floor as if pushing a button infant of the little toes.

And to finalise the exercise keep your middle toes lifted with the toes spread and extend the big and little toes forward and down towards the floor.

This will help you build the arch at the front of your foot, the transverse arch and will strongly work on both the inner and outer edges of the feet. This in effect will energise and balance the inner and outer arches of your feet.

Think of this last exercise as the realignment of the foundation of your body. The feet can be seen as your foundation to build a healthy aligned body on. Aligning the corners of that foundation, big toe mound, little toe mound, inner heel and outer heel, will assist in improving the functions of the feet. Forward walking, standing poses, balancing and giving you a healthier hip and knee alignment.

Incorporate these toe exercises, without the rubber band, into many of your yoga poses to increase both the health of your arches and the strength of your foundation, with added benefits to your knees and hips.

The best thing is that all of this will help slow or even halt the progress of bunions.

In the case of advanced bunions however these exercises might not overcome the diversion of the big toes. If when you lift the big toes in these exercises and they pull further sideways rather than draw more parallel surgery might be necessary. Consult your doctor if the exercises have this effect.

Hopefully you will rediscover your foundation and learn to lift your arches and strengthen your feet.

Have you found this series helpful in any way? Did you discover an effect not described? Leave your comment or questions below and we will address those in future articles.



Anatomy of the Foot

Anatomy Posted on Mon, March 26, 2018 11:02:09

Our feet are our foundation! To understand how important it is to align the bones in the feet we need to know which muscles help us do exactly that and how to activate the right ones while releasing tension in the ones the pull the alignment off.

It would go too far to turn this blog post into an anatomy lesson but still it is handy to know which muscles we need to use to have a steady foundation. That the extensor Hallucis Longus lifts the big toes and the Flexor Hallucis Longus brings the big toe down to the floor is handy to know as those muscles work together to give us control over our stance and can help relief bunions, or even prevent their progression or development.

Our toes are a huge aid in stabilising our foundation if used right. All too often we try to ‘grip’ the floor with our toes which will throw our balance off and engages too much of the toe flexors causing a tightness in the sole lifting the big toe mound rather than grounding that so important part of our foot.

If instead we can learn to balance the action in flexors and extensors we can not only create healthy arch but also avoid or lessen the progression of bunions as well as fallen arches, knee and hip problems.

To read up on how to activate the right muscles in the feet you might want to read the bunion therapy series

If you would like to know more about the foot or other parts of your body leave a comment and we will happily answer your questions to our best knowledge.



Bunion Therapy, Part 5

Physical Yoga Therapy Posted on Tue, March 20, 2018 15:10:22

Bunion Relief
Exercise 2

To help prevent bunions to develop or worsen on of the things you need to do is keep the medial arch of your foot healthy and active.
In order to do that there are a few exercises that you can easily do at home while watching TV! Or even at work! Slip your shoes off and none will realise that you are exercising and in doing so helping yourself getting rid of that flat foot and reducing or even preventing those hereditary bunions to develop or worsen.

The exercise itself isn’t rocket science and only requires you to keep the ball mount of your big toe and little toe on the floor as well as the inside and outside of the heel. Make sure that you do not inver the foot.
What you do next is trying to push a button with the tip of your big toe by lifting and extending the big toe. If you feel that the muscle under the arch of the foot running from the inside of the heel to the big toe starts to feel tired you know you’ve used the right target muscle. (abductor hallucis)
Try this and the previous ones for yourself and let me know how you get on with these exercises.
Do you see or feel any benefit yet?

There is one more foot exercise to come before we move on to the standing postures.



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