How do we tell if the quads are too tight or whether they are too weak?
I have a new client who had a baby 6mths ago. She is wanting to come to yoga as she is finding it difficult to get up and down off the floor to deal with her baby. She thinks her quads are too tight. I’m meeting her next week on Zoom.
Answer from Justine
Thank you so much for your question. It is always interesting to meet with clients and see if they are correct in their own assessment of the issues in their body. Adding to the difficulty is working remotely through Zoom, hoping you can see how the muscles are firing without being able to be in the same room for more direct vision than a camera or use touch to feel the tonicity of the muscles. I think the best way to deal with this situation is to work on both stretching and strengthening the muscles. We always want to work at releasing chronic contraction before working on strengthening….if we go straight to strengthening, we can add more hypertonicity to the muscles.
I would suggest this series of poses (in the following link) to work on stretching the low back, loosening the muscles around the hips as well as increasing circulation throughout the musculature of the legs. (See video below). Once the muscles are warm, then you can work on stretching the quads – make sure the student keeps the knee in line with the hip, i.e. not letting the knee move laterally as that is a release valve to fully stretching the quads.
You might be able to do some various asana with her to see if there is an imbalance in her body, such as supta baddha konasana to see if both hips externally rotate to the same degree, telling you if the adductors are much tighter on one side. If one leg opens much farther, prop the other one so it doesn’t open as far, and then work toward balance in the body as the tighter one catches up to the looser one – rather than allowing the looser one to flop all the way open, adding to the imbalance.
My guess is that after pregnancy and mothering for six months, she will benefit from many aspects of Yoga! Adding in Dvi Pada PItham/rolling bridge, standing poses such as Warrior I and II, Chair Pose and various balance poses are all going to help her not only with strength but also with grounding and balancing the first and second chakras. I would also suggest instructing her in using the core with her exhale (during poses but also attention in daily life) by initiating the exhale by engaging the pelvic floor, keeping that engaged as she continues the exhale drawing the abs in from pubic bone to belly button and all the way to the ribs. Then softening the belly from the top down as she inhales and lastly relaxing the pelvic floor at the finish of the inhale.
I am thrilled she is turning to you for help with Yoga. I hope this information helps. Please let us know how it goes!
Aloha and Namaste,
Favorite Knee Health Tip from Justine – Knee Circulation Yoga Sequence
We depend on our knees with every step we take. If bearing weight on your knees causes you pain or discomfort, try this Gentle Yoga Therapy sequence which brings circulation into the knee and entire hip and pelvic area. Circulation brings healing, more freedom of movement and pain relief.
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