Home' Australian Yoga Life : sample issue Contents australian yoga life • december-february 2010 51
junction between the sacrum, at the base
of the spine, and the pelvic structure).
When the femur can't rotate any further
in the acetabulum, somewhere else in the
body has to compensate -- and it's the
sacroiliac joint that makes this concession.
The sacroiliac joint naturally has a
very limited range of motion, and when
pushed beyond its limits, it can easily
become inflamed. A section of the sciatic
nerve runs in front of the sacroiliac joint,
and often becomes irritated when the
joint is inflamed. This is a common cause
of lower back pain and leg pain,
particularly for women.
The sacroiliac joint is also critical in
transferring the weight of the upper
body to the lower body. For this reason,
increasing the range of motion of this
joint can decrease its stability and thus
should be avoided.
A much better solution in Warrior
II is to simply allow the back hip (the left
hip if your right leg is leading) to move
forward until you can ease your right
knee back (towards the little toe side of
your mat) -- until your knee points
directly out over your second toe. Don't
be afraid of giving your back hip plenty
of room to move. Allow it to move
forward until you can position your right
leg with ease. Then, engage the muscles
surrounding your right hip -- particularly
your gluteal muscles (buttock muscles).
This will stabilise the position of your
right leg, and while holding it in position,
you can ease the left leg back until you
find a stretch through your groin or until
you simply run out of room to move.
Lie your warrior down
Another way to explore your mobility is
to practise Warrior II while lying on the
floor. Position your mat so one end is
against the base of the wall. Then, lying
on your back with your feet on the wall
and heels touching the floor, position
your legs as if you would for Warrior II
(see images above).
The floor and wall provide
reference points to check your
alignment, and because you're not
weight-bearing, you can take your time
to explore positioning -- without
exhausting your quadriceps.
First, find the appropriate distance
between your feet so that you have a
right angle at the back of your right knee
(assuming your right leg is your leading
leg) and your right shin is perpendicular
to the wall. Then position your right
thigh: you want the outer edge of your
thigh to lie along the floor (note though
that there might be a very small gap
between the outside edge of your knee
and the floor. Your knee should point
directly over your second toe, not the
Do anchor the outer edge of the back foot down and lift the inner arch. Keep the
front knee pointing directly over the toes, even when this means allowing the
back hip to roll in a little. Gently draw the lower belly in and up, lift the heart,
and extend right into the fingertips.
Don't let the front knee to drop in and the hip stick out. Additionally, avoid
allowing your lower belly to collapse forward.
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