Free Download! Understanding Misalignment in Yoga Postures: The Effect of Musculoskeletal Imbalances

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Marlysa Sullivan

Marlysa Sullivan Marlysa Sullivan MPT, E-RYT 500 is an Assistant Professor at Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) where she teaches in the integrative science and yoga therapy departments. Marlysa has developed many courses as well as being the founding clinic director for the Masters of...

Most people come to yoga with preexisting musculoskeletal imbalances. This in turn can limit our practice and the alignment in yoga postures in many important ways.

To progress in our practice, rather than perpetuating bodily patterns that don’t serve us, it is important to understand these imbalances and how they affect alignment in yoga postures, notes physical therapist and yoga therapist Marlysa Sullivan in this free download.

For example, it’s very common for the transverse abdominal muscles in the deepest layer of abdominal muscle to be shut off. When this is the case, the stability of the low back may be affected. Students in this situation will tend to move unevenly in the low back, creating even more imbalance in the joints and muscles of the low back. If people start yoga with these imbalances and don’t learn how to create the necessary stability in the low back, yoga will tend to perpetuate patterns of imbalance and could even predispose people to injury, Marlysa notes.

Marlysa highlights other common muscular imbalances, including those affecting the hip extensors and the hip abductors. She further talks about how we can overcome these issues by learning to engage weak muscles in a way that creates greater stability in both the hip joint and low back and also learn how to let go and relax chronically tight muscles.

Marlysa Sullivan will also discuss some of the most common muscle imbalances of the neck and shoulders that contribute to pain and injury and how they affect yoga practitioners. She talks about how these imbalances often precede musculoskeletal pain disorders and why it is important to address them early on and how to do this through your yoga practice.

Also, check out Marlysa's course on YogaUOnline: Teaching Yoga to Common Musculoskeletal Imbalances: Neck and Shoulders