Helping knee pain, hip pain or back pain with simple adjustments that help you stand in a place of ease

This is something simple that you can do with yourself in standing in everyday life. It can help with knee pain, hip pain or even a sore back.

You can also use it in Tadasana (mountain pose) in yoga before you move into something like a sun salutation. I’ve taken some of the ideas from Yoga and Body Mind Centring about yielding to the ground and some ideas about thinking ‘up’ from the Alexander technique.

In yoga we use the word adjustment to mean a movement in our bodies which take us back into something that is true for our bodies.




Yoga Teacher Donna Farhi says that alignment is

“The first, and most important, is that the body should be able to breathe, and by breathe I mean that the subtle yet perceptible oscillation of the breath should be able to travel everywhere: in the floating spaces of the joints, throughout the soft center, along the undulating spine, and through the alternation of tone and release in the musculature.

Second, the structure of the posture should allow a strong and clear movement of force through the body.”

We need to be careful about the terms that we use, if we use alignment as a term that adjusts only your body we could be buying into the idea that our bodies are bio-mechanical entities and end up disconnecting ourselves from our emotions, from our intuitions and from our spiritual selves.

Bruce Fertman, an Alexander teacher, reminds us that

“human beings are not mechanical, we are not machines, alignment is for cars. We’re organic, we’re mammals. The Alexander technique is about learning how we’re best designed to function as homo sapiens”

So, as you begin this exploration, can you invite your whole being to be present? So that you are emotionally present and available, fully connected to your intuition and guided by your spiritual selves.

Is there is a way that you can be in your pelvis that brings you into presence, centredness and ease? What would it feel like? What would it look like? You are exploring a state where you are prepared for nothing and ready for everything.

Then you can bring a simple beginner friendly adjustment into your bodies and your life. I like beginner friendly adjustments, it means there’s a chance I might also understand them!

Do you have
Dog tail – tail tucked forward between your legs, pelvis displaced forward
Duck tail – tail sticking out behind pelvis displaced backwards

Whatever your habit is, you want to move towards:
Dinosaur tailpelvis in neutral with support coming from below and body releasing upwards into space above

Can you be with your habit without immediately interfering with it? Can you be emotionally available for the past you who was hurt so badly that the only way to survive was to distort your body? Can you allow those feelings to arise without being controlled or defined by them? It’s just your stuff again.

Now just invite your pelvis into a dinosaur tail arrangement with your pelvis in neutral. It’s both a definite physical movement in space with emotional feelings of softness and acceptance.

When I’ve taught this to students, some get into the subtler aspects of this movement and they somehow freeze and forget to move. Some see this as purely a physical movement, they go into some very pragmatic version of themselves and they lose the emotional connection. Some over focus on the pelvis / ground relationship and their upper body disappears in their awareness. Some the other way around. Notice your tendency

Once the movement is done, let it work!

Another very common habit of all the students I work with (and sometimes myself) is to second guess an adjustment and try multiple adjustments in a random way in the hope that one of them will be right. Have the courage just to do one, even if it’s the ‘wrong’ one!

Allow this movement to ripple through your body so that it reaches your head, your finger tips and your toe tips.

There’s no right or wrong way to do this, it’s a matter of practice and experimentation. I find that many yoga teachers and students have a very strong connection with the ground (apana or downward energy) but they have often forgotten or disconnected from the upward energy. Can you find a way to bring both into your life? Groundedness creates contact and connection. Thinking up brings lightness, levity, a sense of fun to how you stand.

Most students will then complain that it feels wrong, it feels like they are leaning forward (with dog tailers) or back (with duck tailers). I find that it’s important to acknowledge all our feelings and not dismiss the ones we just think are resistance. So, then I acknowledge that it feels wrong to them and that I’m sorry they’re finding it difficult to find their true balance.

Their feelings are absolutely correct, they are leaning forward relative to their habit.
The feelings are correct, it’s just the interpretation of the feelings that is off (the feeling of leaning forward and the interpretation of the feelings that something is wrong and needs to be corrected).

Invite yourself once again to bring yourself fully present and be alive to the truth about your condition so that your whole self can guide you into a better relationship with the world.

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© Kevin Saunders, Yogaground 2017

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