SELECTIVE STRETCHING The key to creating the “synergistic” effect. by Guest Blogger David Ross

One thing I use as a Yoga instructor to influence a good class is the concept of arranging the postures or asanas in a way that allows the most beneficial movement of flowing blood as it courses through the body. This is achieved by systematically stretching the larger muscles of the body first, which in turn opens a free flow of blood to the smaller muscle groups. Using gravity to influence a certain direction of blood flow is one of the other ways to enhance the yoga practice. By doing these two things in class the instructor creates the “synergistic” effect.

For example, starting the upper body with a good stretch and release of the latissimus dorsi using a double series of half moon pose will insure that the smaller muscle groups , the trapezius, extended obliques, rib cage, deltoids and neck muscles will all gain a greater benefit from any ensuing stretching. Standing postures with the arms up and extended allows gravity to pour the blood into the torso which can then be followed by a closed twisting type posture for an amazing cleansing benefit to the internal organs like the liver, kidneys, pancreas ,upper and lower intestine, and the reproductive organs to name a few.

In the lower body, the hamstrings are first along with the gluteus maximus in bent over postures with the legs straight.

The rest of the leg can now be stretched much more safely and with less effort. This is precisely why the three legged dog pose is used for gravitational flow of blood toward the upper body which is then followed by bringing that leg through, between the hands and flowing into a warrior two pose.

 In short, simple attention to methodology will greatly enhance the experience for your students and allow for a relaxing and fun journey. NAMASTE…