Lumbar Spine

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Copra Pose: Extension of the Lumbar Spine:

Also seen in Bridge Pose and Wheel Pose, Bow Pose, Pigeon Pose and Camel Pose.

The degree of back bend will depend on the amount of space between each vertebra of the lumbar spine. The greater the space the greater the degree of back bend. Also the shape of the vertebra also plays a factor as some of the spinous process’ can be bent in angles that either restrict the angle of lumbar curve or increase it.

There are other skeletal differences in the population that will make a difference in how one performs each asana and that is body proportion. Body proportion in some asanas will give some students a structural advantage while others a disadvantage and in some cases some students because
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Not everyone can externally rotate their legs to this great of a degree. This pose can also stress the sacroiliac joint in a harmful way. Caution is advised to prevent injury and it is a Yoga teachers job to teach this pose responsibly.

For people with hypermobility of the sacroiliac joint Pigeon Pose may not be a good idea. They will want to do more poses that strengthen and tighten the joint rather than stretch it. The idea in yoga is not to avoid stress but to stress the joint appropriately for your body. Too much stress can also lead to arthritis.

Summary:

After reviewing the different body proportions and unique skeletal differences among the population it is very evident that placing high value on the aesthetics of asanas is a very unhelpful and dangerous approach. It is important for a Yoga teacher to look for students who may be damaging their joints while in compression as well as to educate their students that the appearing lack of flexibility in some asanas is not always so, and that skeletal differences and range of motion restrictions may be the cause. This is helpful to the student to know since many may feel inadequate in some postures and may apply pressure to their joints that will cause damage. Keeping mindful of these differences in skeletal structures will also help the Yoga Teacher cue appropriately for all students and/or offer alternate

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