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Week 7, Agonist/Antagonist

Yikes--How to rotate......?  I  focused on Ustrasana this week and my gluteus maximus and iliopsoas.  The pose seems to stretch the iliopsoas by flexing the hip and trunk extensors, including the gluteus maximus.  The stretch is accentuated by contracting quads as well, though the quads are also lengthening at the same time--a tricky synchronicity!    Since the gluteus maximus contracts, it
it is the antagonist to the stretching muscles of the iliopsoas (agonist) muscles.   I definitely felt the stretching in my pelvis as I pushed my hips forward and squeezed my glutes.   The muscles worked in tandem to help with balance, just as  the backward bend and forward push do.   

Reader Comments (1)

From your drawing I thought the pose you were focusing in was Danurasana/Floor Bow, where the quads are not contracted when you pull up into the pose, but stretching and lengthening, as you said.

I think you might find the same to be true of Ustrana.

The quads feel "strong" but they are not contracted; they are stretching. The glutes contract to hold the lower back stable as you deepen this backbend. As you continue lifting your chest to the ceiling while simultaneously pushing the hips forward, the maximum rounded backbend results in your feeling more and more stable in the pose.

Once you grab your heels, keep stable in the lower back by contracting (not squeezing) the glutes and feel the breastbone being pulled towards the back wall as you simultaneously push the hips forward (glutes are solid but not squeezed/crushed together - just solid enough to hold the lower back stable while allowing blood flow to that lower back) and the Ustrasana maximum backbend becomes ever more effortless.

December 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterRhonda Uretzky, E-RYT

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