We hear these common cues every so often and from time to time I follow a cue without understanding it or which part of my body should be moving correctly into the pose.
So here’s what these cues actually meant when your yoga teacher says…
#1 Tuck Your Tailbone
Intention: To neutralize a hyperextended lumbar spine
Problem: Moving the entire lumbar spine to neutral instead of posterior tilt the pelvis without the spine adjusting
The Risk: If you literally “Tuck Your Tailbone”, it may look or feel like you have neutralized your lumbar spine but no! You’re overdoing it by flatten the natural curve of your spine which may cause spinal stenosis, lumbar disc herniation, disc degeneration, arthritis, and chronic low back pain.
Actual Meaning: Move the top of the pelvic girdle backward by tilting your lower belly up (engage your core) and with the flexion of hip joints.
#2 Microbend the Knee or Elbow
Image Credit: American Family Physician and Yogaru
Intention: To straighten for those with hyperextension of knees or elbows and also for those who feel pressure on the knee or elbow joints.
Problem: Straighten your leg or arm may cause over-straighten.
The Risk: If you’ve hyperextension of knees or elbows, when you straighten your arms or legs, you tend to ‘locked’ the joints and ‘dumped’ the weight to it which may cause injury such as dislocation, pain to the knee/elbow/lower back/neck, osteoarthritis and joint deterioration.
Actual Meaning: A slight bend that activate the muscles around your knee or elbows to engage and support the joint.
#3 Shoulders Away from Your Ears
Pose: Adhomukha Shvanasana
Intention: Depression (downward movement) of the scapula
Problem: People tend to increase the tension on the neck and shoulder joint instead of relaxing.
The Risk: Instinctively, you’ll contract your shoulder’s muscle by jamming it down and away from your ears which may cause overstretching of rotator cuff muscles and neck issues as there’s lack of support from the trapezius to also cause shoulder impingement and dislocation.
Actual Meaning: Relax your shoulder blades (scapula), let it slide down your back and feel your collar bone (clavicle) widen.
By discovering the actual meaning of what my yoga teacher says, I understand that these are with good intentions and it’s important to practice with care.
YTT Sep’2017 (Weekend)