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Yoga and Forward Flexion

simon341
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Yoga and Forward Flexion
Hello All, Esther, first of all I'd like to thank you for your wonderful book. My question relates to Yoga, a practice I gave up after reading a book by Stuart McGill about the dangers of lumbar flexion for people with disc conditions (herniation L4-L5 and L5-S1). Is there a way to continue the practice while negating the negative effects of these postures? -SImon
Esther Gokhale's picture
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Yes, do the forward bends without any lumbar flexion, i.e. bend forward exclusively from your hip joints leaving your back the same shape it started. This is assuming you are starting with a good baseline shape in your back. If the baseline shape in your back isn't very healthy, then you want to begin there before going into any yoga poses. If you have healthy discs, then a small amount of flexion (or any distortion) in the spine spread evenly over a number of vertebral levels is fine, especially if you do a little bit of inner corset engagement as prep. Most people don't have very healthy discs, muscles, bones or nerves, however, so it is wise to be conservative with forward bends, back bends and twists.
dharmajoy
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09/21/2011 - 6:11am

I continue to be very confused about how Esther Gokhale feels about forward flexion. I have healthy discs overall. Is it okay to do a forward fold one vertebrae at a time? What about rolling up one vertebrae at a time? What if I do this action while kneeling?

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