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If My Heels Don't Reach the Ground, Am I Doing Well?


When you're striking a pose in yoga - like the Downward-Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana - you're giving those muscles a stretch that's been dormant for who knows how long. Think about it, most of us spend our days glued to chairs (no shame, we're all in this together!), and it's only natural for our bodies to forget the art of moving like a free spirit. We become prisoners of our own immobility. If you're moving, but it's like a broken record (same moves, same groove), if you've ever had a mishap, or if you haven't stretched since the days of yore, you've probably got some blockades. Remember, if you don't use it, your brain loses it.

Despite the seeming simplicity, folding forward (that fancy term for bending over) is the move that gives many folks a run for their money - or rather, a reach for their heels. If your back, hips, legs, or feet are feeling as stiff as a board, don't expect your heels to make a ground-breaking appearance. It might also be that your hamstring muscles (those at the back of your thighs) have their own gravitational pull, thanks to your very unique genetic code. But hey, it's not about where your heels end up; it's about the magical health benefits your body enjoys in each stretch. Picture this: your legs are elongating - jackpot! Your spine is standing tall - kudos! Your shoulder muscles are putting in overtime - high-five! Flexibility isn't won in a day; it's a centimeter-by-centimeter victory march. Pinning your mind to imaginary goals that do zilch for your health, only making you feel like a bendy straw that's lost its bend, now that's counterproductive. Is that your idea of a yoga fiesta?

A parade of reasons could be keeping your heels off the ground, but guess what? Your spine says, 'That's the spirit!' So, what's the move? Bend those knees, give your back a good ol' stretch. Legs can totally elongate even when they're playing it low and heels in the air. Priority numero uno: that spine of yours, always. And hey, it's not just about this pose; it's about every bending-over maneuver, especially when you're parked on the floor. Bending your knees is like sending an SOS to your spine, making sure it bends in all the right places. Because, truth bomb, lumbar hernias are more likely to RSVP to a forward fold party (flexion of the spine) than a backbend extravaganza (extension of the spine).

Sure, I'm shaking hands with the ground through my heels now, but believe me, it's a friendship two decades in the making. Yep, nearly 20 years of yoga practice, and these puppies finally touched base. It took time. But more than those heels on the ground, I'm over the moon that my back decided to play nice. The secret to a healthy yoga practice? It's all about adapting and personalizing those poses to make them your own. Treat your body with affection and respect, and you'll be the yoga rockstar you were born to be!


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