Friday, March 16, 2007


I have been looking at pictures of bones on Paul Grilley's website. They are amazing! It's one thing to read an anatomy book and quite another to see, in comparison, how one person's skeleton differs from another's. For example, in the picture below, Grilley clearly shows how the skeletal structure will restrict mobility in the hips:

You can see the hip sockets in the example on the left, because they are oriented forwards, but not those of the one on the right. So if you have a pelvis like the one on the left, your baddha konasana (bound angle pose) will look like this:

Baddha Konasana, originally uploaded by rutke.

And if your pelvis is more like the one on the right, your baddha konasana will look more like this:

Baddha Konasana, originally uploaded by simalay.

And there ain't all that much you can do about it! You can stretch the connective tissue and the muscles, but at some stage you are going to hit the wall. Or rather, the bone. So go easy on your body - maybe the reason you can't get your knees to the ground is that you shouldn't! Not a new theme with me, but an important one.


Regina Clare Jane said...

Hi Nadine- thanks for visiting me! We both like pink I can see!
I was just reading about this very thing this morning in my new Yoga Journal and it really got me thinking- hard. I have never had anyone say to me- "it's not your muscles, it's your bones" and that's why you look this certain way in this pose... it really gave me pause as to my sometimes, well, a lot of the times- critical thinking on my part in my yoga practice. Fascinating... and thanks for posting it!
I am really excited to go through your blog more- and I would like to add you to my yoga blogroll if that's okay with you!

Cupcakes & Yoga said...

My knees definitely come all the way down in this pose. I've been doing this since I was little, before I even knew what yoga was! The downside to me going so open in this pose is that I can't really spread my legs too wide in a seated wide-legged forward bend. While I see other folks bringing their forehead to the floor, I can just get my elbows down but that's it. It's like my hips open up a certain but are totally locked in a different direction. Weird.

Nadine Fawell said...

Thanks for visiting, Regina Clare Jane and Marilyn!

It really does fascinate me: those of us with hip sockets angled forwards can get really deep into forward bends (too deep sometimes) but we hit bone with hip openers, and it goes the other way too. Awesome!

Linda (Sama) said...

namaste, nadine --

great post. I've been studying with Paul for about 4 years now so you're preaching to the choir! I also studied at KYM! Was there in 9/05 and 3/06, heading back to Chennai in Jan. '08. Check out my blog for posts on KYM and India....


Nadine Fawell said...

Hi Linda!

Sounds like you are my kinda lady - and you are v lucky to be in North America - it's hard to get access to good teaching of this sort in South Africa. I am hoping to return to KYM in Aug for Yoga for Women , if it runs. Looking forward to checking out your blog.

KB said...

The question of hard physical limitations is a puzzling one for me because I haven't had the feeling that I'm yet pushing against them. After 10 years of yoga and since the past year, a daily practice, it still changes day-to-day, moment-to-moment, and being open to where I am in the NOW, I get to explore new potentials in nearly every asana.

I'm still gaining flexibility in so many places, and the more regular my practice, the more I gain. But, with that comes a responsibility to myself to practice with greater mindfulness, care, and proper alignment. In the past, I was stiffer and couldn't injure myself easily, but as things change it gets more dangerous -especially back bends. Fortunately, there's the strength that comes with practice to be used in tandem with the openness to prevent injury.

It could also be that I haven't hit bone yet either while I started yoga on the extreme stiff-as-a-board side and have worked from there. And, there's the 35 lbs. that I lost which opened up a lot more room to work with (pun intended).

Anyway Nadine, wonderful blog entry, but one that I'm going to wait to digest until I've finally hit bone and it all stops constantly changing.

Nadine Fawell said...

Hi KB! Sounds like your yoga practice has really been transformative. Amazing story! You might end up being one of those people who develops nice even flexibility. They are out there, there are just more of us, with the uneven bodies!

Kimberly Palmer said...

Thank you for posting this! Sometimes I feel so frustrated, because even after 4 years of yoga I still feel limitations in my hip openings. This reminds me not to compare myself to others and to just do what I can... thank you for sharing!

Nadine Fawell said...

Hi Kimberly!
I am so glad it made a difference - I think this post hit a nerve for quite a few people, so I am planning more along these lines. Funny how we Westerners generally don't have trouble with the effort part of the yoga equation. It's the ease bit that seems to catch us out every time.