Learn from the slouch
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on April 4, 2017

Sandy and Tristin, two South Fort Myers High yogis, demonstrate a steady seat. Sandy has tight hips, and her knees pop. Tristin is flush to the floor.

 Hit the floor and sit cross-legged.

Are your knees flush to the floor and your spine straight?  Or, do your knees pop off the floor causing you to slouch?

If your knees are floating, your hips are tight. Overuse can tighten the hip flexors and glutes, but so can marinating in a chair for hours each day.

Yes, flexible and stable hips are key for athletic performance.  They can also avert knee and lower back pain.

But, what’s even more important is how tight hips throw the entire body out of alignment and impede spiritual development. 

Sitting in Sukhasana is grounding for the lower body energy centers, the centers of security, safety, creativity and will. The thighs and knees, when pressed to the floor, create a perfect base for a seated, meditative posture.

Yet, when the legs and knees lift, the upper body and head drop forward for balance, straining the neck and upper back.

But there is another issue:  energy flow. The pathway of an aligned spine is the sushumna, the energy superhighway.  This current ideally flows unfettered along the spine through the chakras and primes the pumps of liberation and manifestation.

There is more to a slouch than a slouch.

  1. Reverse it.

Sandy opens the front body with the exercise ball.

Lie on top of a large exercise ball.  It will cradle your body in a gentle backbend and create a subtle inversion with your head.

With your feet firm on the floor and your thighs parallel, rock the ball forward and back.  Feel your back muscles and spine stretch, and open the energy centers of the front body to all there is.

2.  Reclined Pigeon with a wall assist.

Sandy opens the glutes with a reclined Pigeon.

Slide off the ball.  Lie on your back, and bend your legs so your feet are flat on the floor.  Be sure your feet and seat are close to the wall.

Cross your right ankle over your left knee.  Lift your left foot and press your sole into the wall.  This will gently coax your right leg toward your body and lengthen the glutes.

3. Reclined Hero Pose.

Both Sandy and Tristin work reclined Hero to open the hips. Sandy uses an assist with folded blankets.

Be careful.

Come to your knees, and sit on your heels.  Open your heels so your seat is directly on the floor.  Try to keep your knees parallel. This may strain the knees, so lay a folded blanket or bolster on your calves.

This will get intense very fast if your quads and hips are tight, so have several folded blankets ready.

Begin to lie back, and use your hands to steady yourself. It may be impossible to fully recline, so stack those blankets under your back.  Feel your hips and front body open.

Practice daily, and enjoy new power in your steady seat.