Yoga and w-sitting?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 06-30-2014, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yoga and w-sitting??

I am trying to get into yoga, taking my 2nd class ever, prenatal yoga b/c I'm 20 weeks pregnant.

I have often felt yoga is just "not for me" and doesn't work for my body. The fundamental "easy pose" is really uncomfortable, and I can't sit like that with good posture with out major pain in my mid-back. Including if I sit on a pillow, etc. if I sit hunched over/curled around my belly it is tolerable but that seems to defeat the purpose of yoga.

It's not about "not being flexible." I am a w-sitter (I attached a photo b/c it's hard to describe). I can sit with my back "straight" with good posture in this position very comfortably. I always figured it was just a bad habit I perpetuated by continuing to do it, but now I have watched my DD become an avid w-sitter, from the moment she could sit, despite our physical therapist's insistence it is evil. My mom is a w-sitter too, I've learned. I have a lot of curve in my low back, and I think that there is just something about the alignment of my/our pelvis and spine that is fundamentally different. When I try to move my daughter from a w to "circle sitting" as they would say in preschool, I can see that it shifts her spine in a way that is very awkward for her. I can feel that in me too.

The physical therapists seem to want to just train/correct the w-sitting away. The yoga instructors seem to want to use props for accommodation as if it is a matter of lack of flexibility. But neither seem to know a lot about this. I am wondering if there is an alternative to the "easy pose" that is acceptable in yoga, or if I just need to realize this is a bad habit and give up the idea that it is anatomical.

Can anyone relate?
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#2 of 11 Old 07-03-2014, 09:24 AM
 
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When I first started yoga, I had a lot of the same problems. Easy pose was *not* easy! Which baffled me because I was a gardener by trade, I was strong, wasn't I??

It took a few months before I noticed that it had started to become easy. A few months to strengthen my back in ways that my lopsided gardening couldn't do.

Maybe you will experience this in prenatal yoga, I don't know. In the mean time, use props! They really will help create a sense of ease. If it's really uncomfortable, you can try pulling your lower legs in parallel to your thighs for a comfortable pose. That has a name, forget what. The prop for that pose is a block under the pelvis. This was an alternate pose in every yoga class I ever took. If it is a matter of relaxing rather than moving into a different pose, then do what relaxes you.

Let me find the name.

And I love yoga props. Love love love them.
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#3 of 11 Old 07-03-2014, 09:25 AM
 
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Here it is: hero pose.
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#4 of 11 Old 07-03-2014, 10:47 AM
 
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One more thought: core work improves the ease of sitting poses. This can be difficult if you are starting yoga during pregnancy. Be patient.

If you choose to continue after baby is born, you should see some improvement. In the meantime (maybe I mentioned this already ) use props liberally or use whatever pose is most easeful.

The reason, I think, your "w" is so comfortable is that it is tipping the pelvis forward. In easy pose, if the legs don't drop easily, it can be difficult to tip the pelvis forward and you wind up using core muscles that are unequal to the challenge, so your back muscles try unsuccessfully to compensate. When you can't develop those core muscles, you can use props to lift the pelvis up, allowing the knees to drop down with gravity below the pelvis, which can then tip forward with the spine stacked on top, rather than curved backwards.

There should be no reason, though that hero pose can't be your position of choice for meditation or pranamaya, etc.

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#5 of 11 Old 07-05-2014, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hero pose would work, it's comfortable for me. Where dies the block go? Under my bum? As opposed to just bum on my heals? (Which is how I sit at home when trying to not be a bad influence in DD). What for props when sitting in easy pose? I have done a blanket or similar under my bum, and blocks supporting my knees, which makes it hurt less in my hips but not my back, which is the more bothersome part. I would probably have to be 12" off the ground to have my knees below the level of my pelvis, would this throw things off otherwise? I'm not sure what props are at the studio for that, but maybe I could bring something in? I tried a bolster thing that was at least 6 in, that didn't so it, although if I slide forward on (like I'm about to roll off the front of it) it tilts my pelvis forward some which is better- but sort of precarious so I couldn't stay there without sliding off.

I have only done daily dedicated stretching when I was in high school & college, doing sports, and it didn't change the " direction" or degree of flexibility. In college I worked at a daycare, so for several hours a week I was a careful "easy pose" sitter, some times with a toddler on eAch knee "enhancing" the stretch, and that didn't change it either. Which is not to say it's not possible, but rather if it is a matter of "undoing" my current muscle build, it's probably not going to happen with yoga, which may not become a daily practice for me. IKWYM about core stuff- I am pretty muscular, do some pretty major construction work on our house regularly (when not pregnant), lifting, squatting, etc, but who knows- that is probably just perpetuating the same-old-same-old. But I don't want to give up on yoga altogether, so accommodations like that hero pose might be just the thing.

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#6 of 11 Old 07-06-2014, 08:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ratchet View Post
Hero pose would work, it's comfortable for me. Where dies the block go? Under my bum? As opposed to just bum on my heals? (Which is how I sit at home when trying to not be a bad influence in DD). What for props when sitting in easy pose?

IKWYM about core stuff- I am pretty muscular, do some pretty major construction work on our house regularly (when not pregnant), lifting, squatting, etc, but who knows- that is probably just perpetuating the same-old-same-old. But I don't want to give up on yoga altogether, so accommodations like that hero pose might be just the thing.
The block or blanket roll is placed under the pelvis. Hero pose the legs are entirely alongside, the heels are not underneath.

As for adjustments in easy pose, you can try sitting up on a block. It sounds like the main tightness is in the hips. Working with hip openers as well as strengtheners will help with this somewhat.

Pregnancy is a good time to work on flexibility. You do not need to be working on it every day to see a benefit, though, of course, more will yield faster results.

Core primarily refers to the abdomen, which is off-limits for the most part during pregnancy (partially for safety but also because those muscle seem to become inaccessible! It was an odd experience discovering how much my abdomen helped with everything since I suddenly couldn't use them anymore.) But it is the muscles that wrap around your middle. Doing work certainly helps, but as I discovered when I was a professional gardener, hard work alone does not= strong core. It helps, but once you start working on it, you'll notice a difference. But that's not going to happen in prenatal yoga.

Thankfully, I don't think your main obstacle here as a core issue. I think first it's those hips, and that is something you can work on in prenatal yoga, in fact, there is no more advantageous time. Take advantage of that! You might never be able to sit in easy pose unassisted, but you might be able to reduce it down to a blanket roll. I know I feel more settled up on a blanket.

In the meantime, just use hero pose for a relaxing pose. Any yoga teacher worth their salt will understand.
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#7 of 11 Old 07-14-2014, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, had a few more classes- my hips are tight but it feels good to stretch, and being up on blocks etc helps.

But trying to just sit like that with good posture us intolerable due to a "tension" I guess In my thoracic spine- just below my shoulder blades. I wonder if there is a stretch I can do that helps there? Sitting in easy pose twisting to one side and the other turns the pain into a stretch sensation which is fine, are there other poses that work this area?

The yoga teacher also suggested the blocks and while I get the benefit, it is not really my problem. I think before I just claim unchangeable anatomy, I need to work on stretching my thorax.
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#8 of 11 Old 07-16-2014, 08:19 AM
 
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Had you tried sitting in easy pose before you were pregnant? You said you are new to yoga, so did you ever notice this before? Even an early pregnancy changes the balance of your whole upper body. It's possible that it's a little bit of many things: thorax, changed balance, and the inability to use your abdominal muscles properly in pregnancy to help out the spot by your shoulder blades. You might see very little improvement during your pregnancy.

Cat/cow is a gentle, non-twisting pose that can help with a little stretch. Downward dog-- focus on flattening the back, broadening the shoulder blades. Eagle pose--- of yeah, that would be a good stretch! Your yoga instructor I'm sure knows far more than I do. Twists would be grand, but they are, unfortunately, mostly off-limits to pregnant moms. You'll have to get by with the small twists you are doing. If that feels good, keep doing it.

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#9 of 11 Old 07-21-2014, 08:18 AM
 
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Hi Ratchett



W- sitting will limit your practice but will never stop it. Rather than focus on what you can't do, put your efforts and intention into what you can do.

In your Yoga practice consider using props such as blanket and blocks, but if you feel that this is not enough for you, practice on a chair on with your back against the wall.

You can adapt nearly all the asanas on a chair: have a look at these short video clips to give you some ideas, or register on the link below to get a complimentary 15 minutes Prenatal yoga class:


https://yoga4mothers.com/class/


- Prenatal Yoga Hamstring Stretch On a Chair

- Prenatal Yoga Standing twist on a chair

- A sample class of Prenatal Yoga for week 31

- A sample class of week 40 of pregnancy

And a special sample of wee 25 of pregnancy as you should be around that time!!



Feel free to contact me if you have any others questions, as I was myself pregnant when I filmed all our prenatal classes from week 12 up to week 40. Every week offers a different class as our baby and body change by minutes.

Congratulations again!

Christelle Donaghy
Yoga4mothers.com
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#10 of 11 Old 07-27-2014, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the link!

Yes, w-sitting versus "Indian style" (as we always used to call it) has always been an issue... I remember being told by a mean neighbor boy that they would have to cut my legs off if I kept w-sitting- I don't recall being particularly scared by that, but it became clear I sat differently than most other kids. I worked at a daycare where I was very mindful of always sitting crossed-leg instead, but it was constantly painful. And I became most aware of it when DD had a physical therapist as a baby since she was in the NICU, and had low tone (sort of). The low tone maybe meant she was more likely to W-sit rather than sitting with her feet under her bum, due to weak adductor muscles, but it's our anatomy (I think) that makes her pretty much unwilling to sit crossed-leg.

We do a bit of twisting stuff in class- I really like that. I find cat/cow don't cause much motion/stretch at the part of my back that is the toughest/painful- lower thoracic. I think I use my abdominal muscles too much in downward dog, which makes it stressful and I'm not doing well with breathing during it,, but I just tried it again now thinking of it as a thoracic stretch, and it did hit the right spot!

One of the things with the classes is that so much of the point of it is the flow of it, which I don't want to interrupt, and I feel sort of whiny with all my nitpicking about things. The conventional modifications don't apply to me a lot (like, if your wrists or knees bother) and the blocks help in standard ways but don't address the fundamental thing I'm fussing about here. I feel like a lot of he time I want to ask "where should I be feeling this?" But I also don't want to miss out on the flow of it all. So I do appreciate being able to pick things apart some here!
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#11 of 11 Old 07-27-2014, 08:09 PM
 
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Flow is something that ...flows.... as you become more at ease. I learned to find poses that I could skip, or if they did 3 rounds, I would work through 2 once I got the flow. It allowed me to stay longer in each pose. Or, if I was hopelessly behind, I would go to downward dog and wait, or prayer pose if I was tired.

For finding ease in downward dog, bend the knees. That will allow you to drop the shoulder blades, flatten the back, and elongate the spine. While you can do a little arch, come back to the traditional pose, which is a flat back all the way to the pelvis, not arched at all. Softening the shoulders, pulling the inner elbows towards each other (which you will feel, not so much see), pressing palms and all the fingers flat into the mat, all will bring the intensity of the pose to the parts of the body that can channel the energy through the body. To get the hamstring stretch, alternate heels down but keep this pose focused on the upper body to the pelvis, that is the focus. At the end of the practice, when I am all hot and stretchy, I spend some time in this pose and can enjoy a little time with both heels down. Also, don't be afraid to narrow the distance between hands and feet until you feel more at ease. Make sure your hands have something to grip if the mat is slippery and sweaty. All this will help.

"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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