WIDE LEGGED FORWARD FOLD 

INCREASE YOUR FLEXIBILITY WITH RECIPROCAL INHIBITION

PRASARITA

a safe approach to increase flexibility

It’s not unusual to feel “stuck” in our yoga practice at times. We may come to a place in our physical practice where we are not experiencing our full potential.  One of the common areas we may feel “stuck” is with our flexibility.  

In one of my  previous articles Healthy Hamstrings I discussed how Matt demonstrated how to create more flexibility utilizing a Facilitated Stretch Technique.  There are, however, more ways than one to create more flexibility within our bodies. We can also achieve greater flexibility with Reciprocal Inhibition.

Reciprocal Inhibition is doing the opposite of what a facilitated stretch asks us to do.  It’s true we are still activating muscles in order to achieve greater flexibility, but we are now activating the muscles that oppose the muscles that are stretching. 

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    EFFECTIVE STRETCH TECHNIQUE

    In today’s video, Matt demonstrates how to explore these actions in Prasarita Padottanasana: Wide Legged Forward Fold.

    In Prasarita Padottanasana (an open hip posture) our legs are in  Abduction while we are also flexing at the hip.  Placing our bodies in this position requires us to find flexibility in our adductors and hamstrings.  There are also key areas for potential strength in this posture and where we can explore activation at different times.  These areas include:  Adductors, Abductors, Quads (including Rectus Femoris which is also a hip flexor), and Hamstrings.

    Activating the adductors and hamstrings would support the facilitated stretch technique, while activating abductors and quadriceps generates the reciprocal inhibition technique.  In this segment of the video, Matt demonstrates how to activate the quadriceps and why:

    PREPARE THE POSTURE

    1.  With your feet spread wide on your mat, turn your thighs slightly inward which will allow your feet to also turn slightly towards one another, 
    2. Place your hands on your hips then initiate an anterior tilt of your pelvis as you tip your torso forward.
    3. Hands come down to the floor in front of you to support (you may also opt to place blocks under your hands) 

    HOW TO ACTIVATE YOUR QUADRICEPS

    1. Activate by energetically lifting your thighs away from your knee caps.  
    2. Feel as though you are drawing your upper thigh bones up into your hip socket.

    Activating your quadriceps helps with reciprocal inhibition because one of the quadriceps is rectus femoris, which is a hip flexor. When these muscles are activated, then the opposing muscles open up (in this case, the hamstrings).

    He describes it as almost “suction cupping” your thigh bones upward, which will help turn on hip flexors and quads.

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    • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

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    WHY TAKE THIS APPROACH?

    We must in a sense be a “Professor in our Postures”  What does this mean?

    It means that there is infinite space for inquiry in our practice. We have an opportunity to examine, and reflect how we approach our practice each time we step onto the mat.  We can take a more informed approach with information like this, that supports our ability to not only realize our potential, but to practice in a way that creates resilient and healthy tissues.  Our approach becomes more calculated and informed.  We are really then tapping into what is available to us in our bodies, by utilizing the actions our bodies are so brilliantly designed to perform. 

    Join Matt in his next immersion and/or upcoming 200 or 300 Hr. trainings.  Take advantage of this opportunity to awaken both mind and body. 

    See you on the mat!

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    Article by Trish Curling

    Video Extracted From: Mobility Immersion

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