Question 1: Hello Candace, Thank you so much for your generosity and everything you share on your lovely blog. I have a question about balancing the flexibility of the body. I have a problem with my knee to chest, either standing or lying on my back. My right knee can go all the way to my chest with me doing virtually nothing, but my left can barely make it pass 90 degree (or hip level while standing). It just stops. I read you mentioning bone compression in previous posts, what is that? I've been trying to work my left hip as much as I can in the past 2 years but it doesn't improve at all. Am I stuck that way? should I stop trying all these poses altogether on both sides? Because my right side is definitively 200% more flexible and I am not sure if it's a good or bad thing. Thank you and have a lovely day.
Answer 1: Aw, I don't think it's a good or bad thing - it just is what it is. We've all got some sort of thing we're dealing with, right? Yours just happens to be a joint issue (I think). I would definitely suggest seeing a doctor to confirm, but what you're describing sounds a lot like bone compression, which just means that the shape of the bones in either your hip or knee joint aren't allowing full range of motion. I wouldn't stop doing the one side altogether though, because you're still getting benefits stretching the leg as far as it can go. If you stop altogether the body will be significantly stronger and more flexible on one side. I hope that helps!
Question 2: I was in your class last week and we did locust pose, or at least tried to, and I really struggled because I have weak back muscles. Could you recommend any excercises that help strengthen back muscles and help to build up strength to be able to do locust pose one day?
Answer 2: Ugh, locust is one of my least favorite yoga poses because it is so uncomfortable and requires a lot of strength that not many of us have. The good news is that you're not alone in struggling with it. The bad news is that, well, I can't think of any bad news. So let's move on. Try the two poses above. Hold for 5-7 full breaths, rest, and then come into them again. Locust also requires strength in the arms so we can press into them and lift our legs up so dolphin pose and warrior two are good to do as well. You'll get there eventually!!
Question 3: I've been working on headstands and I'm able to practice them with ease in my living (on carpeted floor). However, everytime I attempt them in the yoga studio, it just kills the top of my head. Is there anything I can do? Or should I just invest in a different mat? I'm curious to see what your recommendations are. THANKS!
Answer 3: I love headstands! The thing about them, though, is that there is so much going on. I was going to highlight all that's going on by putting the above flipagram on instagram (hence why it is super fast at only 16 seconds long) but I can't figure out how to do it. Anyway, if you listen to it you'll hear me say to press out of the bottoms of the feet, spread the toes, press into the arms, and use the core strength. The majority of the weight should be in the forearms, so if you're feeling it too much in the head that might be an indication that you're "resting" the weight in the head. I would suggest trying it again on a hard surface and seeing where you feel the weight distributed. Double check you're doing all the little things like engaging the leg muscles, and pushing the ground away from you with your forearms. I hope that helps!
Question 4: I am a beginner in yoga, I enjoy a lot practicing so maybe in a future I will consider enrolling in a yoga teacher training. How do you know when you are ready?
Answer 4: That's a tough question. I didn't feel ready when I went, if that helps. Well, I felt like it was the right time in my life to do something, but I was definitely nervous and going into it I didn't feel like I should be there. We all have this idea in our heads about what should be, but the truth is, and this sounds super cheesy, I know, all we really have is the moment we're in. If you're even considering yoga teacher training, then that means that you have a solid personal practice, that you love yoga, and that you'd like to deepen your understanding of it. That's really all that it takes to successfully complete a teacher training. There's nothing that says you need to be a master of all the poses before you can go. So go easy on yourself, and don't overthink it too much. :)
Question 5: Hi Candace, In Surya B I am never really able to move my foot between my hands when going from down dog to warrior. I always end up kicking it forward as far as I can (which ends up being just behind my chest) and then kind of grab my ankle and pull it forward the rest of the way. Is this a strength or flexibility issue? How can I improve this area of my practice?
Answer 5: The problem I see a lot of students have with this is not creating enough space for the lifted leg to step to the front. It gets kind of stuck, which is what you're describing. I made a video explaining what to do, or you can check out the points above. The idea is to create space by lifting the heel of the foot that's on the mat and simultaneously press the mat away from you to round the back. It's also important is to really engage the core and use it to bring the leg forward rather than just swinging the leg forward. I hope this helps!