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Left/right muscle imbalance

core7892010-07-04 22:22:21 +0000 #1

bear with me,

i've been working on a therapeutic yoga programme recently based on those muscle groups i feel are tight and imbalanced.

the muscles on the left handside predominate as being over-tight. they include in main:-

my left hip flexor ( right overstretched i suppose)
hamstrings, possibly both though definitely the left evidenced by a mere glance during a forward bend and a gaze between the backs of legs,
I've done some work on these muscles already and having balanced the hip flexors , the hips have levelled out alot much better thakfully . but i intend to continue.

Now it'c ome to my attention that my left abdominals and left(upper defintely ) trapezius are both tight or what might be termed 'hypertonic', if that's the correct term,as is my lower left back ( which i'm now feeling to start to stretch-yeah!) The upper torso, trunk , in amirror sits to the left, and before i stretched the hip flexors about 2 months ago the left tighter hip was higher than the other(lateral pelvic tilt). This is now largely remedied, as good as, but my trunk still sits to the left of the pelvis
I went to a masseur who focused on my neck and shoulders but on the slack side of my trapzius upper, the right when he should have focused more on the tight left i believe.( i think he just saw a lump of over-developed muscles on the right traps /shoulder which i had been working on trying to tighten and thought to massage that despite me showing him diagram and everything- i just assumed he would know to focus his efforts on the left tighter shorter side/muscles)

but the positive thing about this is it maybe only highlighted the tightness in my LEFT core muscles.

iNOW , what i'mm looking for here is adivce on stretching the left abdominals ( which i can sense are tight ) and shortening/strengthening the right, and i've realized it's not just the rectus abdominus that are invloved.

The seemingly wise website under their 'abdominal excercises' section

said that 'gymnastic' sit-up/crunche exercises tended to focus on the central pillar most RA .( i notice i have to be careful on tightening my abs further but if i'm not mistaken If i did a sit up and i croseed my right arm to the left leg this should shorten/strengthen the right abs? as i think i got the sides mixed up in this respect and leaned left arm to right, as the issue of internal and external obliques probably confused me) I've probably got an athletic body-type which probably does'nt help, but a posture that has now become more aware since my knowledge of anatomy and my own body has improved.

The same goes for my left trapezius which is visibly short and left lower back., the latter i think i can s tretch. The right upper trapezius is the oppiste too slack, .

I now feel i know/understand anatomically-speaking the strucural reasons for the imbalance.

what adivce is there in stetching all my left abdominals period, and stretching the left upper trapezius, thought proably the left traps period are all tight.


i've done this following pracice a few times- and it's taken me 10 months to work it out, as a beginner yogi,(less than 2 years p) only last 2 mo0nths to diagonse specific muscle groups responsible , and the past month to devise it :-i do an oblique pilates type stretch, they called it online, on a physio ball stretching the whole left torso particularly abs,
then abackward bend on the ball , trying to focuson stretching the left abs
Then i counter pose- with a forward bend, seatd or standing, the left lower back stretchs
Then triangle pose ( externally supported)- not bad!!- discovered that recently ,
then Warrior 1 arms outstretched above the head, shoulders down especially left which tends to sit too high ( partly because of tight lefttraps pulling it upwards towards the neck)
Then kneeling warrior 1 pose- HF stretch incl;uding Rfemoris stretch where you grap the foot behiihd leg
i do the lotus prapation thingy (knee to toe?)when you swap from side to side, one leg half lotus the other leg straight/out-stretched/extended, you leaning toward the latter. i feel the left lower back gets a noticeable decent stretch from this, leaning to the right outstretched leg on the isde affected of course.
i also stretch the hamstrings with a belt, lying down, to ease the tightness in the left hip i suppose,counter HF agonists and because, the legs exert a powerful influence ontthe rest of the body.( moderate cylcist)
alternate nostril breathing- (emotinally rebalancing as well as hemisyncing the brain)
agnisara dhauti- could someone explain that provde instruction?- as it might help, or suggest any other breathing/pranayma practice that might help
and a type?? of uddiyana bandha? practised throughout the day during sapre oments when i relax the abs and engage the upper muscles including the repsiratory ones/upper trunk/diaphram to help tone and rebalnce those abs.
i have to be careful with any yoga practice that engages my right abs like chataraga dandasana or symmetrical practice fron-back as it tends to possibly favor the dominant side making my back worse.

I don't know how i'm categorised in ayuvedic terms, vatta imblance or whatever ( that is a a pure guess btw) and i've yet to acquire your book.

If you could focus you answers on the left abs and left traps stretch as i feel they are especially tight. I'm very specifically interested in the left abs, stretching those and strengthening/excercising those right ones. as in theory they determine nearly everything.

I've also borne in mind the three fundamentals of yoga remarked on the website which i've found quite helpful.


2)extension of the spine ( to resist the effects of gravity)

3) movement and stillness from the belly

I've probably got a c-shaped curved to the left spine-wse ( if that's the correct decritpion- my spine curves to the left somewhat- the front of the C on the right handside if that makes any sesnse)), with a compensation at the neck and i'm reasonably fllexible and strong.

Hope all this long-winded stuff/facts help.

i feel i have arrived at a rehabilitative home pratice that mayhelps outlined above . I will add that when myback went last novemebr after being a cured very briefly for a week

it coincided with a terrible coughing/breathing fit for 3 weeks though my own ipinion is this was caused by asbestos in my loft ( i left an air purifier on and the loft hatch door was open at this time i'm referring to, when my back problems began- a strange concindence that, i must say)

i'm trying to work on other areas of practice too, in the braod sense.

thanks in advance for any comments/advice given. any much appreciated

Nichole2010-07-04 22:34:34 +0000 #2
Hello and welcome to Yoga Forums,

From reading through your message, I think this post is directed to Mukunda specifically. I am correct about this?

At this time, Mukunda is not addressing posts in the general forums because of his traveling and teaching obligations. You may contact him directly as he offers long-distance yoga therapy sessions. This is something that you would arrange directly with him. I just took a peek, and there are currently no Structural Yoga therapists in Scotland, but Mukunda is in London quite regularly and training therapists there.

You may be offered something from our membership here that will be useful too. : : Sessions:

Kind wishes,
core7892010-07-04 22:46:36 +0000 #3
Thanks for the warm welcome,

I would be very honoured to receive the wisdom of Mukunda's advice and i might well pursue this line you suggest, a private long-distance therapy session.

I can see how my post might appear to have been targeted at his vast expertise, given the many Q&A posts he has addressed with these types of neuro/musculoskeletal issues, or with reference to 'scoliosis'in the title or text.

My breakthrough came a few months ago when i felt lower back/spine( where i feel no tension which i why i had'nt bothered to examine it before ) , the lumbar region ,and the second or third vertebrae seems to veer to the left but simultaneously also go inwards towards the navel, a 'kink' if you like.The spine the [roceeds upwards and with another 'kink'/bulge turns inwards towards the right to centre itself. AT the cervix region it veers either way ,invariably towards the left though.

But any replies appreciated

core7892010-07-04 23:32:11 +0000 #4
I will add to this above post as it was posted prematurely, having run out of time from a public internet terminal and unsure how to use the 'save' feature ,if there is one.


I believe my left core muslces are too tight. I can sense this and have been trying to work on them, specifically the hip flexors but more recently the abdominals too.

Is this a reasonable or fair analysis? given the muslces i think are tight and the shape of the spine.

I think i'm on the right track now , after months of just mindlessly going through hath yoga routine motions with no assessment of the muscular imbalance responsible for the shape of my back. I never thought muscles could exert sucha powerful influence but i've had days recently where i've felt great as i'm now utilizing theory in my practice. One of my problems is i don't have good (mental) awareness,for reasons i won't go into here, but my knowledge of anatomy and my own body has improved beyond all measure.

I think the yoga is trying to teach me something as i did have a deeper hatha pratice some ten months ago before the misalignement occurred and i'm quietly confident i should be able to retrain and rebalance those muslces.

I#'ve found a asymmetrical yoga practice is best(symmetrical practice tends to favour one side). pretty much avoid flow routines even if it's enjoyable, stick just to plenty of warrior 1's to stretch left HF's and variations therof like kneeling lunge, trikonasana for left abs( so leaning to right), a back bend on the physio ball would appear to be quite effective at stretching the abs as all the muslces can actually relax while the body is supported(nothing engaged- i've heard it takes about 6 seconds for a muscles to begin to relax )The yoga i've been doin past year has not helped me until recently whe i've started to apply useful anatomical theory relating to those areas at issue

anyway i shoudl acquire stiles book. I've heard somewhere i can do a spinal assessment from it.

more later perhaps



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