“Stack your joints.”
As students, we hear this in every yoga class. As teachers, we offer this reminder throughout our asana practice. But when it comes to forward folds, it seems we forget this cue in our journey toward the floor. Or do we even know what it means to stack our joints?
Examine the joints involved in a forward fold. We flex our spine, pelvis and hips over our stable knees and ankles. Proper alignment in this position would have us stack our hips over our knees and ankles instead of moving our hips posterior and behind our ankles.
So why do we make this shift? Simply stated, it makes the forward fold easier and we feel more balanced. Mechanically, we end up flexing farther forward when we shift our hips backwards. But anatomically, we are no longer stacking our joints in this position.
David Abookire is the founder of Boulder Therapeutics. He has treated athletes and injured clients since 1999, including 12 seasons as the team massage therapist for the Colorado Rapids. He is passionate about educating people on massage therapy, sports performance, stretching and injury rehab and prevention. David is also a national lecturer who teaches functional anatomy classes to yoga instructors.