Flex Your Strength in Down Dog


Flex Your Strength in Down Dog

Find balance between strength and flexibility in Adho Mukha Svanasana.
Rina Jakubowicz downward facing dog

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Adho Mukha Svanasana | adho = downward; mukha = face; svana = dog; asana = pose

Occasionally a body builder will wander into one of my yoga classes in Venice Beach from the famous Gold’s Gym down the block (where Arnold Schwarzenegger trained in the 1970s). These students have powerful bodies, but I’ve noticed that they often struggle with poses like Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) because their muscle mass isn’t balanced with flexibility. Of course, I also have students in class with the opposite problem. I’ve seen acrobatic contortionists from Cirque du Soleil whose joints are so elastic that they often overstretch and have troubling holding the form of the pose.

For both kinds of students and everyone in between, Downward Dog is the perfect pose to observe and correct your body’s imbalances. For some people, this pose is about stretching and opening; for others, it’s learning to stabilize your joints with muscular effort. For everyone, Downward Dog uses the strength of your arms and legs to fully and evenly stretch your spine. It stretches your hips, hamstrings, and calves as it strengthens your quadriceps and ankles. It opens your chest and shoulders and tones your arms and abdominals. It even tones your hands and feet, preparing you for standing poses and arm balances.

The two main movements of Downward Dog are common ones: lifting your arms overhead and stretching your legs out at a right angle to your torso. But when you combine these movements and try to hold them upside down against gravity, they get harder. The pose becomes a laboratory where you observe your body’s patterns. Where are you weak? strong? tight? flexible? Practiced consciously, Downward Dog can train you to balance strength and flexibility in your whole body. To start, focus on your upper body. If your shoulders are tight, your work is to open your chest, stretch through your armpits, and straighten your arms. If you are already flexible here, resist the temptation to press your chest down toward the floor to experience more stretch. This tends to compress your spine and the backs of your shoulders. Instead, engage your arms and upper abdominals, aligning your upper back to lengthen your spine and create an even, diagonal line from your wrists up to your sitting bones.

Next, check in with your lower body. If your hamstrings are tight, they may pull your hips down and force your back to round. In this case, practice with your knees actively bent at first. If you already have open hamstrings, it may be easy for you to lift your hips toward the ceiling. Don’t exaggerate this movement and overarch your lower back. Instead, firm your legs and your lower abdominals to lengthen your spine.

As you practice Downward Dog over the years, perhaps you can develop strong muscles where you never had them before or begin to stretch with the limberness of an acrobat. Whatever your body’s qualities, if you are working with energy and awareness, your inner Self will be aligned, and it will shine through with power and grace.

SEE ALSO3 Ways to Make Downward-Facing Dog Feel Better for You

2-Minute Practice

Even if you don’t have time for a full home practice, do Downward Dog every day for 1 to 2 minutes. Use the pose as a daily check-in: Notice where you are limber, tight, or fatigued, and observe what feels different day by day. Take the opportunity to settle your mind and connect to your breath.

Step One: Child’s Pose

Explore the range of movement in your shoulders by stretching your arms in Child’s Pose.

Set It Up

Begin in Child’s Pose with your big toes touching and your knees wide apart; rest your forehead on your mat.

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1. Stretch your arms in front of you with your hands shoulder-width apart.

2. Press your hands strongly down into the mat and lift your forearms up.

3. Gently roll the outside of your upper arms down and feel a widening across your upper back, establishing external rotation in your shoulder joints.

4. Press your inner hand and thumbs down, to create internal rotation in your forearms.


With your fingers spreading, check to make sure the creases of your wrists are parallel to the front edge of your mat. First, press your hands strongly down and lift your forearms up until you can sense your shoulders connecting to your shoulder blades on your back. Next, from your shoulders, rotate the outer arm muscles down, spreading your shoulder blades apart. You may notice that your inner hand becomes less grounded as you do that. In that case, press down more firmly with your thumbs and inner hands.

Finally, firm your forearms toward each other to straighten your elbows, and press your upper arms out to create a dynamic strength in your arms.


Now press your hands into the mat as if you were trying to push it away from you. You’ll feel a bit more space in your shoulders, and your spine and hips will elongate away from your arms. Take a full breath into this length and then rest.

Step Two: Downward-Facing Dog, variation

Work your legs to stretch and align your spine in a variation of Downward Dog Practice holding your body weight with your arms, shoulders, and core muscles.

Set It Up

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1. Start in Child’s Pose with your arms stretched out in front of you.

2. Curl your toes under and lift your hips up and back, keeping your knees well-bent and heels elevated.

3. Push up and back with your thigh muscles and especially press back from the tops of your thighs.

4. Keep rooting your hands and working your arms, just as you practiced in Step one.


Make sure your feet are about hip-width apart and spread your weight evenly among all 10 toes to keep your ankles well-aligned. Strongly press up and back with the tops of your thighs until you feel your hips being drawn back with them. If your hamstrings are very flexible and you press your sitting bones too high toward the ceiling, you may begin to overarch your lower back. In that case, you’ll need to gently curl your tailbone downward and lift your lower belly to bring the spine back to neutral. If, on the other hand, your hamstrings are tight and you’re rounding your lower back, bend your knees some more and try to angle your sitting bones higher.


Now try “walking your dog." Keeping your arms firm and both hips high, straighten one leg at a time, and try to press your heels down to the earth. Imagine that you could breathe down the backs of your legs to help lengthen your hamstrings and your calf muscles. Bend both legs again and come down to rest in Child’s Pose.

Final Pose: Downward-Facing Dog

Set It Up

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1. From Child’s Pose, curl your toes under and press up and back into Downward-Facing Dog.

2. Place your hands shoulder-width apart with the wrist creases parallel to the front edge of your mat. Firm and straighten your arms.

3. Keep your feet hip-width apart and the outside edges of your feet parallel to one another.

4. Firm your legs: Lift your kneecaps; press the tops of your thighs up and back; press your heels down.


Check in with each part of your body. Root your hands evenly. Lift the forearms up and away from the mat and press the shoulder blades gently into your back. Lift your bottom front ribs up toward the tops of your thighs and firm the front of your torso. Press the tops of your thighs up and back and root your heels down. If possible, straighten your legs, firming all the muscles as if they were hugging your leg bones.


Feel the full length of your spine and take a few deep breaths. Shift your awareness from each of the specific muscle groups to all of them and then to every cell in your body. Steady your attention on your whole being: strong, still, and luminous.

Adjust Yourself

Try these tips to get the most out of Downward Dog:


If you have tight shoulders, place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and angle your hands slightly outward.


Protect your elbows from hyperextension by pressing your inner upper arms away from each other until your biceps engage.


For healthy neck placement, bring your ears in line with your upper arms to align your neck and head along the same line as your spine.


If the backs of your legs are very tight, bend your knees or try stepping your feet as wide as the mat.

SEE ALSOFind Full-Body Joy in Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Elements of Practice

Are you a sensation junkie? You may have learned to love the feeling of stretching, and now you’re in the habit of pushing in your poses until you achieve that delicious sensation of stretch. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting more and more: a deeper forward bend, more open shoulders, or a really big backbend. In reality, it’s more challenging to discern when enough is enough and to find a state of contentment. This is not complacency; rather, it is shifting your intention away from extreme flexibility to well-aligned stability. And it is a great opportunity to take a look at your habit of wanting more and to consider the benefits of an attitude of contentment, both on and off your mat.

Annie Carpenter teaches yoga classes and leads teacher trainings at the Exhale Center for Sacred Movement in Venice, California.


Ask the Expert: How Do I Know I’m Ready to Try Headstand?


Ask the Expert: How Do I Know I’m Ready to Try Headstand?

Before you try any inversion for the first time, prepare your body and practice proper alignment to prevent injury and to reap the benefits.
Rina Jakubowicz Sirsasana

Q: I’m afraid that Headstand will hurt my neck. When will I be ready to try for the first time?

Before practicing Headstand, you should be able to hold Downward DogWide­-Legged Forward BendForearm Plank, and Dolphin for several minutes each. These poses indicate that you possess the proper strength and alignment, such as sustaining external shoulder rotation and having hamstring flexibility.

Headstand can improve upper ­body strength, flexibility, digestion, and perhaps hormonal balance. But this pose also comes with risks, including damage to the cervical spine, if not performed properly. Contraindications include cervical disc and eye issues, and possibly high or extremely low blood pressure.

Alignment is key to practicing safely, so attempt your first Headstand with a trusted yoga teacher. To protect yourself, elongate muscles from your shoulder blades to your fingers to avoid placing weight in your neck; keep proper alignment by not popping out your ribs; and maintain a drishti, or focused gaze, on the wall behind you to balance. After Headstand, take Child’s Pose and then Downward Dog to release back and neck tension.

–Annie Carpenter, Founder of SmartFLOW Yoga, San Francisco

See also Two Fit Moms’ Inversion Preps for Beginners


This Is How the Planes of Movement Can Help You Identify Imbalances in Your Body


This Is How the Planes of Movement Can Help You Identify Imbalances in Your Body

Understanding the three anatomical planes of movement (sagittal, coronal, and transverse) can help you recognize patterns and imbalances in your body, allowing you to move with more intention—in your yoga practice and beyond.

Rick Cummings

As yogis, most of us want to understand how we move—and as we become more aware, we head down a path toward even more curiosity and self-awareness. I see this evolution in my students all the time. The first spark—maybe someone realizes she’s tighter in her left hip than in her right—is often revelatory. Soon after, this student may notice that because of the tightness, she favors her right side. Then she may discover it’s causing her back pain. With each discovery this student makes about her movement, she becomes more conscious, inquisitive, and, ultimately, more knowledgeable about herself.

Understanding how you move your body is key to getting stronger, staying injury free, and feeling more balanced, grounded, and (I would argue) happy. And a great tool to help you do all of this is to look at movement through the lens of the three anatomical planes.

Once you know how to work with these planes, you’ll begin to recognize the ones in which you feel most (and least) comfortable moving your body. Then you may discover you’re missing whole segments of movement in certain planes—knowledge that can then inspire you to start moving in the directions where you need to wake up. In doing this, you’ll ultimately learn how to wake up in your life too, helping you navigate this world more fully. Here’s what you need to know to understand the sagittal, coronal, and transverse planes, and why it’s so important that you do.

The Sagittal Plane

Directions of movement in the sagittal plane.

Rick Cummings

This plane dissects the right and left sides of the body, as if the edge of a pane of glass were dropped down the center of your crown through your midline. Sagittal plane movements take place where this imaginary pane of glass sits—or parallel to it—meaning any time you’re in flexion (for example, forward folds) or extension (such as backbends), you’re moving in the sagittal plane.

It is probably the most familiar, and most used, plane for all of us: When we drive, hunch our heads over our smartphones, sit on the couch holding the remote control, ride a bike, and walk down the street, we’re moving in the sagittal plane. In yoga, any time you take your arms forward and reach them overhead—whether you’re doing Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute) or Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)—you’re moving in the sagittal plane.

Where’s the distortion?

If you’re a teacher and notice something’s off when a student practices a pose but you’re not sure in which plane the problem is occurring, communicating how to correct what’s off may be challenging. Recognizing a distortion in a specific plane is the secret to quickly and clearly helping your students get into their fullest expression of a posture. To practice seeing bodies this way, let’s look at Vrksasana (Tree Pose) with a distortion in each of the three planes. Here are two distortions in the sagittal plane:


Rick Cummings

<<SEE HOW her pelvis is tipped anteriorly and her spine is overarched?

THE FIX She’ll want to bring her pelvis and spine to neutral, lengthen her tailbone, and draw her sternum toward her navel.


Rick Cummings

<<SEE HOW her pelvis is tucked and her spine is flexed (rounded)?

THE FIX She’ll want to press the top of her standing thigh back and press her shoulder blades into her chest.

See also The Truth of Tree Pose

The Coronal Plane

Directions of movement in the sagittal plane. (1)

Rick Cummings

This plane dissects the front of the body from the back. This time, imagine a pane of glass dropping through your midline and dissecting your front body (anterior) and back body (posterior). Coronal plane movements occur where this imaginary pane of glass sits, meaning any time you abduct (move away from the midline) and adduct (move toward the midline). You’re moving in the coronal plane when you step one leg to the side, turn a cartwheel, or bust out your best “Stayin’ Alive” dance moves, John Travolta style. In yoga, think of moving into Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) or Parighasana (Gate Pose).

Where’s the distortion?

Here’s Vrksasana (Tree Pose) with distortions in the coronal plane:


Rick Cummings

<<SEE HOW she is sitting in her standing-leg hip?

She needs to hug her standing-leg thigh in toward her midline.


Rick Cummings

<<SEE HOW one hip is higher than the other?

She needs to press her lifted thigh down (adduction) to level her pelvis side to side.

See also 8 Steps to Master and Refine Tree Pose

The Transverse Plane

Directions of movement in the sagittal plane. (2)

Rick Cummings

This plane divides the body into upper and lower portions—as if the same imaginary pane of glass cuts through your belly button. All movements in this plane involve rotation, either inward (internal rotation) or outward (external rotation). You’re moving in the transverse plane when you turn your head to look out your rearview mirror before merging into another traffic lane, or when you do “The Twist,” à la Chubby Checker. In yoga, spinal twists such as Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose) and Parsva Sirsasana (Side Headstand)—and even rotating one leg out at its hip socket to prepare for Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II)—are movements that happen in the transverse plane.

Where’s the distortion?

Here’s Vrksasana (Tree Pose) with distortions in the transverse plane:


Rick Cummings

<<SEE HOW the lifted knee and pelvis are rolling forward?

She needs to work her lifted leg more here, rotating the thigh out at the hip socket so she can press it farther open.


Rick Cummings

<<SEE HOW one knee is too far back, pulling the pelvis and her spine with it?

If she can press the top of her standing thigh backward, she’ll be able to bring her right knee (and that side of the pelvis) forward.

See also Make It About the Midline: Tree Pose

Why Should We Understand the Planes?

In a word: proprioception. This refers to the body’s ability to sense joint position and movement, enabling you to know where your body is in space without having to look—and to know how much force is needed to create movement. It helps us feel grounded and balanced, and it allows us to move in and out of yoga poses safely. Proprioception can be enhanced over time with mindful, repetitive movements, such as asana.

One of the obstacles to healthy proprioception is chronic, unconscious, habitual patterns in the body. Whether these patterns arise from injury or overuse doesn’t matter; they affect your posture and keep you moving in habitual ways. To wit: Take a moment to think about your highly mobile shoulder joint, which is built to move in many different directions. If you start to favor moving it just one way—say, reaching your arms forward and up in the sagittal plane and avoiding reaching them out to the sides in the coronal plane—that pattern can create an imbalance in the joint, leading to chronic pain and even injury.

One way to wake up from these unconscious patterns is to try less familiar movements and shapes in the planes you tend to avoid, which will help bring flexibility to stuck areas and strength to weak ones. Exploring simple movements in all three planes, especially your nondominant one(s), with an open, playful attitude—frustration and shame are not helpful here!—can help you develop new neuromuscular pathways and more balanced movement patterns. Over time, there’s a good chance you’ll find this leads to more efficient posture, improved balance, and healthier joints.

If you’re a yoga teacher, including poses and cues that take your students through all three planes (whether you name them or not) can help them develop healthy and balanced bodies. What’s more, using the framework of the planes to see distortions and imbalances in a yoga practitioner’s body can help you use more effective cues.

As you try to understand and analyze how you move separately in each of the planes, keep in mind that the goal isn’t to dissect the body. After all, the body exists in all three planes at the same time. The point of this work is to try to bring the body into balance in all three planes, at all times, to create a feeling of wholeness. This, I believe, is one of the keys to feeling more embodied, both on and off the mat.

See also Basic Anatomy for Yoga Teachers: Flexion vs. Extension

Put the planes into practice

Want to get comfortable with these anatomical planes and expand your movement range (or teaching skills)? Start here:

STEP 1 Make lists of your 10 favorite, and 10 least favorite, poses. Consider which poses you tend to practice at home and which ones you avoid.

STEP 2 Determine the primary plane for each of the poses on your lists.

STEP 3 Name the planes in which you seem to be most and least comfortable.

STEP 4 Create a list of poses from your least favorite plane, and plan to practice these poses several times a week. Are these poses challenging for you? Are they easy? How do you feel when you practice more from the plane in which you’re least comfortable? Get curious.

STEP 5 After a couple weeks of practicing your least favorite poses, go deeper with your line of questioning: What has practicing movements you’d been avoiding revealed? (Yes, I am talking poses—and anything else you tend to avoid in life.)

If you’re a teacher, take these same steps when it comes to assessing your go-to sequences: Look at the poses you teach often, as well as the themes that you choose for your classes. Which plane is over-represented? Which one(s), if any, are under-represented? Do you tend to teach the plane that is your personal favorite and avoid the one that’s your least favorite?

Finally, whether you’re teaching or simply moving through your own home practices, commit to creating sequences that include poses that highlight your least utilized plane. How do you feel when you practice (or teach) them? How does your body feel after a few weeks of moving in your less utilized plane? Do you feel more embodied? Are your movements more balanced in all three planes? See if these simple inquiries help you feel more awake and whole.

About Our Expert
Teacher Annie Carpenter is a yoga teacher and teacher trainer in San Francisco. She’s also the creator of the SmartFLOW method, which she teaches in classes, workshops, and her 200- and 500-hour teacher trainings across the globe. Learn more at anniecarpenter.com.


Hand-Positioning Tips to Prevent Injury in Weight-Bearing Poses


Hand-Positioning Tips to Prevent Injury in Weight-Bearing Poses

Learn how to guide your students to bear weight on their hands with mindfulness and hand positioning tips so they avoid injury and gain upper-body strength.
T.K.V. Desikachar, yogis in downward facing dog at a yoga studio

Learn how to guide your students to bear weight on their hands with mindfulness and hand positioning tips so they avoid injury and gain upper-body strength.

Newcomers to yoga are often surprised by how much attention teachers pay to their feet during class. After all, our feet are our connection to the Earth, and the foundation from which our standing poses grow. But what about hands? They, too, form a foundation for poses like Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand), and the other arm balances. Just like the feet, the way your students use their hands will affect their balance and set the stage for the pose to grow from its roots in the Earth.

With a little knowledge about the structure of the hands and wrists, teachers could also inform students about how to correctly use their hands. Not only will the pose’s foundation be more stable, but the whole pose will be better aligned. And probably most important, they’ll reduce their chances of acquiring the nagging hand and wrist problems that are increasingly prevalent with more weight bearing on the hands and arms.

Hands vs. Feet

Hands and feet share similar bones and muscles, and the hands, like the feet, even have arches. There are differences, of course, that reflect the specialized functions of each. The structures of the foot, for example, are considerably stronger and thicker in order to bear weight, and the hand has nothing like the big, strong calcaneus (heel bone) that’s designed to absorb the impact of the heel striking the ground when walking. In addition, the phalanges (finger and toe bones) are short in the toes but long in the fingers, allowing humans to perform finely-coordinated activities like playing the piano and drawing.

See alsoHand Mudras: The Importance + Power of Your Fingers

Most of us can’t readily write or paint a picture with our feet, but we know that with special training, humans can learn. Similarly, bearing weight on the hands doesn’t come naturally, and can cause painful problems in the hands and wrists, especially when students suddenly start spending a lot of time on their hands. That explains why complaints about wrist pain are common after a student who’s relatively new to yoga starts practicing many cycles of Sun Salutations every day. As in any new activity, advise your students to start bearing weight on the hands and arms gradually, beginning with a few minutes every other day. That 48-hour interval allows the body to repair and build stronger structures, including muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Teach Awareness in Weight-Baring Poses

The way you use and position your hands while bearing weight on them makes a difference, too. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) is a good pose in which to work on hand awareness with your students. Begin by asking them to simply notice which part, or parts, of the hand and fingers are bearing most of the weight. Unless they’ve already worked attentively with their hand action, chances are good that they’re bearing more weight on the heels of your hands than the metacarpal heads (base of the fingers where they join the palms). This tendency to lean into the heels of the hands will add more compression, and eventually discomfort, in the wrists.

Then, invite them to come to hands and knees, with the heels of their hands under their shoulders. Prompt them to look down at their hands and spread their fingers so that they have the same amount of space between each finger. Their fingers should be out straight and long from the palm of their hands and be actively pressing down the base of each finger where it joins the palm. (One of the gifts of Downward-Facing Dog is stretching the fingers out of their habitually flexed, or curled, position.) From the base of the little finger to the base of the thumb these knuckle joints form a half-circle of contact points, and inside that arc is the natural arch of the hand, which should be light and lifted off the floor.

See also3 Ways to Make Downward-Facing Dog Feel Better

Instruct your students to keep those contact points pressed down firmly as they lift their knees up and come into Downward-Facing Dog. From the grounded finger bases, remind them to keep stretching each finger out of the palm, and at the same time they should feel that they’re lifting their forearms up out of their wrists. If the bases of the fingers share part of the weight, less weight (and compression) will rest on the heels of the hands and wrists. From the lift of the arch of the hand, it’s possible to lift and lengthen all the way up to the hips, uncompressing your wrists, elbows, shoulders, and spine along the way.

Build upon the Foundation

When your students have learned how to distribute weight more evenly through the hands, they will be able to begin apply that knowledge to more challenging poses like Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog), Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand), and other arm balances. These poses are more challenging than Adho Mukha Svanasana because there is more weight on the hands, and the wrists are at 90 degrees instead of the more open angle of Downward-Facing Dog.

Keeping grounded around the periphery of the palm, and lifting from the arch, can bring a new lightness and better balance to these challenging poses.

See alsoLearn How to Protect the Wrists in Your Practice

Teachers, explore the newly improved TeachersPlus. Protect yourself with liability insurance and build your business with a dozen valuable benefits, including a free teacher profile on our national directory. Plus, find answers to all your questions about teaching.

About Our Expert

Julie Gudmestad is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and licensed physical therapist who runs a combined yoga studio and physical therapy practice in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys integrating her Western medical knowledge with the healing powers of yoga to help make the wisdom of yoga accessible to all.


Not ALL Hips Need Opening: 3 Moves for Hip Stability


Not ALL Hips Need Opening: 3 Moves for Hip Stability

When yogis talk hips, it’s generally about opening them. But your hips CAN be too open… Learn why balancing strength and flexibility in the hips is so important.
alice louise blunden splits

When yogis talk hips, it’s generally about opening them. But your hips CAN be too open. If you fall into the hypermobile camp, learn how to balance strength and flexibility to protect your hips.

Dedicating time during our physical yoga practice to opening the hips can be nourishing, therapeutic—and downright addictive for many of us. (How about that feel-good release in Pigeon Pose?) Let’s consider, though, whether we always need to push for more flexibility in this region of the body or if it may be more helpful for some people to build strength.

Do Your Hips Really Need Opening?

Hip strength is necessary in day-to-day life. Whether we are walking in the park, running for the bus, or cycling to work, the hip joint takes the brunt of the body’s weight and enables all of these fundamental actions. In short: Stable hips are a good thing—they carry our bodies throughout the day.

Of course if you are an athlete, runner, or someone simply born with especially tight hips, hip-opening poses are helpful in maintaining a healthy range of motion and balance between strength and flexibility. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, though, and are naturally quite open in the hips or after years of practicing hip-opening poses now have very open hips, consider whether it’s still helpful to continue increasing the range of motion in this region of your body.

Being ‘blessed’ myself with naturally open hips, when I first started yoga, I never shied away from postures that required increased range of motion in this region of the body. (I’m the person who could actually fall asleep with my legs wrapped behind my head in Yoginandrasana.) But was it therapeutic? I certainly looked like an advanced yogi in these postures, but unfortunately my lack of knowledge and understanding of the hip joint meant that I could have been doing more damage to my body than good.

hip joint anatomy

Understanding the Hip Joint

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint composed of two bones. The femur sits in the acetabulum, which is part of the pelvis. Covering the bones of the hip is the articular cartilage. The articular cartilage is important for providing a cushion and a smooth surface when the bones move on one another. Surrounding the acetabulum is additional cartilage called the labrum, which forms a lip around the cup-shaped bone to provide additional stability in the joint.

While it is helpful to understand the anatomy of the hip, what may be more even important (if a bit frightening) is knowing that one of the deepest layers of the joint, the cartilage, does not have any nerve endings. This means you may not be aware of any damage to the cartilage until it is too late. Although cartilage doesn’t have nerve endings, the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments do, which is why yoga can be helpful for tuning into the body to find a balance between strength and flexibility for health of the muscles and the integrity of the joints. By listening to our bodies with this sense of mindfulness we can begin to notice our strengths and weaknesses, which enables us to develop a nourishing practice that our bodies truly need.

See also5 Common Myths About Athletes’ Tight Hips

3 Moves for Hip Stability

If you already enjoy the benefits of more open hips, modifying your daily yoga practice by including certain exercises to strengthen hips can be helpful for maintaining the integrity of the joint. Here are three yoga-inspired exercises that you can add into your daily practice to increase hip stability.

Psst: Yoga Medicine founder Tiffany Cruikshank will teach at Yoga Journal LIVE San Francisco, Jan. 13-16. Get your ticket today.

About Our Writer
Alice Louise Blunden is a Yoga Medicine senior teacher and assistant to Tiffany Cruikshank. She is currently completing her 500 hours and working toward her 1000-hour advanced Yoga Medicine teacher training. As well as teaching yoga in studios across London, she is the founder of The Yoga Project UK, a company that connects yoga teachers with schools across the UK. Learn more at alicelouiseyoga.com.

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Yogi Sophie Jaffe Shares Her Inner Beauty Secrets


Yogi Sophie Jaffe Shares Her Inner Beauty Secrets

Sophie Jaffe, yoga teacher, certified raw food chef, superfood entrepreneur, and mom of two boys (with a baby girl due this summer), defines inner beauty as honoring your inner wild woman—all your amazing gifts—and being true to them.

“To me, not being perfect is what’s so beautiful,” she says. Below, Sophie shares her secrets for feeling beautiful every day, with the help of yoga, inspiring mantras, and products that make her feel good from the inside out.

My Daily Beauty Rituals

Morning: I oil pull every morning. It offers me a time to relax and ease into my day, and keeps my mouth clean and fresh. I also feel a little extra confident with a bright, healthy smile. Next, I start my cleansing routine with Weleda Gentle Cleansing Milk. It’s pure and nourishing, and never strips my skin or irritates it. I follow with their nourishing Hydrating Day Cream with jojoba oil and witch hazel, which is a beautiful and balancing combination.

Midday: All day long, I use Weleda Wild Rose 24H Deodorant Spray to help me go from meetings to hot yoga to after-school activities without missing a beat. After an intense yoga session (usually while the kids are at school), I love lathering up with Weleda’s Lavender Creamy Body Wash–it instantly hydrates and relaxes my body. I also apply Weleda’s Muscle Massage Oil all over to help my muscles wind down.

Evening: Weleda’s 2in1 Gentle Shampoo + Body Wash helps us save time at bath time, and it’s delicate enough even for a baby’s sensitive skin. I also can’t wait to try their soothing Calendula Diaper Care Cream on my baby girl! Before I get into bed, I use Weleda’s Relaxing Body & Beauty Oil with lavender oil, which helps me calm down and gets me ready for the deepest night’s sleep.

What Makes Me Feel Beautiful (Inside & Out)

My boys and my husband make me feel beautiful in our day-to-day family dynamic: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yoga allows me to bring it ALL to the mat and greet every part of my true self. To feel all my woman power and light it. I also meditate and set positive affirmations for my day, such as “I am a goddess.” Since I’ve been pregnant, my daily mantra has been, “I am growing life. I am full of love.” Whenever something comes along that throws off my energy or makes me feel negative, anxious, or upset, I return to these affirmations and reflect on them for a bit before moving forward. I’ve also set an intention to look at life through a positive lens. If you go through life with optimism and sincere gratitude, you’ll see that beauty reflected on the outside.

How I Stay Body Positive

Maintaining healthy body positivity is so difficult in this digital age, and the pressures of social media can make us feel “less than.” It look a long time, but I’m finally in a space where I love the body I’m in. It all came down to finding balance. I can also see beyond the physical and know that I’m not just this body—that it’s actually a spiritual experience to be a parent, a woman, a human being. When I feel frustrated that baby girl is making me sick or tired and so unlike myself that I want to cry and scream, I think, “Wow, I’m growing a baby and a healthy baby at that. Some day she is going to take on this world and I’ll be the one to lead her there, and that’s pretty amazing.”


Is Your Phone Getting in the Way of Your Practice? Here’s Why You Need to Turn It Off


Is Your Phone Getting in the Way of Your Practice? Here’s Why You Need to Turn It Off

Master teacher Aadil Palkhivala says technology overuse has physical, social, and emotional consequences, and it’s taking away from the self-exploration we do on the mat. Here’s what you can do about it.
Aadil Palkhivala

Tony Felgueiras

Want to align your asana and transform your life through yoga philosophy? You won’t want to miss Aadil Palkhivala’s upcoming six-week online course. It’s all part of YJ’s year-long Master Class mentorship program, which gives you access to 9 online courses and live webinars led by world-renowned teachers. Sign up today!

Be honest: Do you ever check social media when you’re with the people you love the most? Or even stop during practice to Instagram a yoga selfie? B.K.S. Iyengar-trained yoga teacher and Purna Yoga co-founder Aadil Palkhivala, who leads YJ’s upcoming Master Class online course, says this modern malady has physical, social, and emotional consequences, and it’s taking away from the self-exploration we do on the mat.

The Problems with Technology Overuse

“Technology was designed to serve us, but we have taken it to the extent where now we are serving it," he bemoans. “The upper back and neck have taken a huge beating in the past 10 years as people have started to use cell phones more and more. I don’t use my cell phone, but when I do I hold it up at a high height so I’m not looking down. Even metaphorically, looking down is very different than looking up. Looking up is aspiration, looking down is dejection. If you look down long enough you will become depressed; therefore, these devices are actually creating a malady."

The social and emotional consequences of technology overuse are just as bad if not worse than the physical consequences, he adds. “To think that someone would use a cell phone under the dinner table shows how out of touch we are with our nervous system. When you use a device like a cell phone, your mind has to become sympathetic, which means it goes into active [mode]. You can only digest food in a parasympathetic response; therefore, if you are using your cell phone, you are not digesting your food [properly]. It is patently absurd and evidence of our complete lack of awareness of our own bodies when we do something as stupid as use a cell phone while eating, and yet I see it all the time. I was at yoga conference last week and I saw entire families sitting around the table all on their cell phones. That is pathetic. We are no longer making eye contact with the people we love or claim to love. On social media, people say they have “friends" they have never met or touched, whose voices they have never heard. Friends whose energy they have not shared in the same room. That’s not a friend. Very often I’ll see teenagers who would rather be on their cell phone on Facebook with alleged friends than look at their family and talk to them. No wonder so many psychological problems are popping up in our society. We are insecure; we want more friends, more likes. It relates to svadhyaya (self-reflection or self-study), which is one of the niyamas: because we don’t know ourselves, we want others to know us.

What You Can Do on the Mat: Turn Off Your Phone!

Palkhivala says students need to stop texting and pay attention to the moment…and the first thing you can do to make this happen is to turn off your phone. “I just came back from teaching 250 people at a yoga conference in Hong Kong," he shares. “The first day I was stunned, because everybody had a cell phone and brought it to class. They took videos of everything I said, and they were texting while doing practice. Some were on Facebook during class. I could not believe it so much that I didn’t say anything in the first class. The second class I said, ‘No cell phones—turn them off.’ You should have seen the response—it was almost as if the phone had become an extension of their hand, like they were trying to dislodge a digit. Finally they got it. I want students to pay attention to what is going on! This is your body—your life is happening now, not in the future."

What You Can Do off the Mat: Give Yourself a Moment Without Your Phone

Off the mat, take a moment to connect with friends and family and enjoy nature without your phone, Palkhivala suggests. “Put the phone down and look up. Look into the eyes of the people you claim to love. Look into the eyes of the friend you have. Hold their hand. Feel in your heart compassion and caring for other human beings. A cell phone is in your mind; physical touch and eye contact are in your heart, and yoga is about waking up the heart, not enhancing your already over-busy and overstrained brain. I’m sitting here surrounded by trees and nature…it makes my mind peaceful. Take a walk without your cell phone, and turn it off when you’re doing your practice. Don’t let your cell phone interfere with your self-exploration."

Inspired to learn more? Join Aadil Palkhivala’s six-week Master Class to align your asana and transform your life through yoga philosophy. Sign up now!


Kundalini 101: What Is the Aquarian Age, Anyway?


Kundalini 101: What Is the Aquarian Age, Anyway?

It’s more than a chart-topping song. Find out what the current astrological era means for you.

Are you ready to discover your life’s purpose and activate your fullest potential? Kundalini Yoga is an ancient practice that helps you channel powerful energy and transform your life. And now there is an accessible, easy way to learn how to incorporate these practices into your practice and life. Yoga Journal’s 6-week online course, Kundalini 101: Create the Life You Want, offers you mantras, mudras, meditations, and kriyas that you’ll want to practice every day. Sign up now!

Topping the Billboard charts in 1969, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, the iconic opening tune from the 1967 musical Hair, heralded the arrival of the Age of Aquarius and introduced audiences to the concept of a new astrological era. This new age delivered strong energy shifts, but what, exactly, does it mean? You might be surprised to discover that Kundalini Yoga offers valuable insights.

Around the same time, in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Yogi Bhajan—who brought Kundalini Yoga to the West—began speaking about the Age of Aquarius and said that the the transition to the new era would begin in November 1991 and end on November 11, 2011. Then humankind would remain in the Aquarian Age for roughly 2,000 years. He predicted this transition would create a world beyond our imagination, expectations, and understanding. It would mean leaving behind the rigidity of the Piscean Age so we could begin living with greater awareness and sensitivity.

The Misguided Facade of the Past: The Piscean Age

In the previous era, mental intellect and information equalled power. The Piscean Age was ruled by competition, masks, and ambition. For so long, humanity was mesmerized by status instead of character. People endeavored to create an impression. They worked under the zero-sum paradigm that one person’s gain meant another person’s loss. Also, in this age, people were told what to believe and whom to follow.

Today, You Are the Guru: The Aquarian Age

The Aquarian Age ushered in dramatically different principles. Where we reside now, we are learning to trust and love ourselves. Loving ourselves creates unconditional love for others. After all, it was Yogi Bhajan who said, “The other person is you.”

Many people are tapping into an inner voice telling them to shine their own truths into the world. We are called to be a guiding force for change. We are called to value wisdom over intellect, love over fear, and connectivity over separation. In order to create change, we need to come together as one.

Whereas in the Piscean Age people observed and followed others, now in the Aquarian Age we observe our own consciousness and follow it religiously. We are here to live life and use our words and actions as our personal consciousness dictates.

Where Yoga Comes In

Kundalini Yoga helps us connect to our inner light, which becomes the guiding beacon for our lives. In the Aquarian Age, identity connects the mind, body, and soul. In order to be an integrated being, we must aim to live a life that merges outer words and actions with innermost values. Kundalini Yoga dissolves the energy blocks, like fear and trepidation. Free of these, we can step into alignment with our own consciousness. This is where true oneness exists.

The old paradigm of lying and hiding is not working anymore. The old way was to do it for you. The new way is to do it for all. It is time to accept our truth and step into our fullest potential.

There has never been a time like this. Are you ready?

Want to learn how to tap into your innate kundalini energy to transform your practice and life? Join Karena in Kundalini 101 today!

Kundalini 101 with Karena Virginia: About Our Expert

Karena Virginia has 20 years of experience as a powerful healer and highly acclaimed yoga instructor. Based in the New York City area, she conducts workshops in the United States and Europe and is a pioneer in bringing positive change to the world through fierce love. She’s co-author of the 2017 book Essential Kundalini Yoga and released the DVD The Power of Kundalini in 2015. Her app, Relax and Attract with Karena, has helped thousands of people around the world to find inner peace and healing. Karena’s work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Bravo TV, and the Oprah Winfrey Network.


Can’t Sleep? Try This Smiling Practice for Insomnia


Can’t Sleep? Try This Smiling Practice for Insomnia

For nights when stress + anxiety get the better of you, try this simple smiling practice to peacefully drift off to sleep.
sleeping girl

Do you struggle with sleep from time to time, whether it’s falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting enough sleep? You’re not alone in your tossing and turning. More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep (at least seven hours per night) on a regular basis, according to a 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

For quality, consistent sleep every night, it’s critical to develop a healthy bedtime routine, as well as lifestyle factors such as proper nutrition and physical activity, all of which affect your sleep patterns. That said, there are some nights where anxietyjust gets the better of you despite all of your best efforts.

So, the next time you find yourself in “mind overdrive" (incessant worrying, ruminating, and thinking about things like work and to-do lists) when you should be snoozing, try the following technique. I like to call this practice The Smiling, Sleepy Buddha. It’s one of my favorite methods to peacefully fall asleep or fall back to sleep when anxious thoughts wake me up in the middle of the night. It incorporates mindfulness, a breath technique, body temperature regulation, and a tiny smile.

See also Can’t Sleep? Try These 6 Restorative Poses Right in Bed

The Smiling, Sleepy Buddha: A Mind-Body Practice to Help You Fall Asleep

Step 1: Ease into Savasana.

Roll over onto your back (so you can effectively take long, deep, full breaths) into Savasana (Corpse Pose).

Step 2: Smile and relax.

Add an-ever-so slight and comfortable smile to your face. Use just enough pressure to gently engage the muscles around the lips without straining or overly forcing. (If someone were to look at you, they might not even notice you’re smiling.)

The mind can influence the body (hence the mind-body connection), but the reverse communication linkage—body to mind—is also true. The body can inform the brain and, in this case, it’s a small brain hack meant to signal to the brain and nervous system that everything is OK, that you’re safe and you’re content. Your nervous system darn well knows you wouldn’t be smiling if you were in actual danger. The smile helps both the brain and the body to relax (and you’ll resemble a peaceful, happy, meditating Buddha!).

Step 3: Practice diaphragmatic breathing.

Picture a Buddha figure with a nice round belly. This breathing technique calls for “soft belly,” or diaphragmatic breathing, where the belly rounds, fills, and puffs up on the inhale (imagine that Buddha belly!), and contracts and empties on the exhale (remember “e” for exhale and empties).

Many of us simply aren’t breathing correctly. Adrenaline in the system often leads stressed, overworked adults to take shallow, chest breaths (rather than full belly breaths), which isn’t as effective at oxygenating the blood. Additionally, something I’ve learned in my various health, mindfulness, and yoga trainings is that shallow, sharp breaths from the upper chest area (and not from the belly/diaphragm) may lead to neck stiffness and pain over time.

When the body’s stress response has been triggered, engaging the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)—the “rest and digest” system that allows the body to reset and recuperate—signals to the brain that you’re OK and safe. One way to actively engage the PNS is through effective use of the breath.

Lying on your back, inhale (filling the belly) to a count of 3, and then exhale (emptying the belly) to a count of 3. You can experiment with 4-count and 5-count breaths as well (and don’t forget to add that tiny smile!).

Continue breathing in this manner. Use the breath as the mind’s anchor. When you notice your mind wandering, recognize that it has drifted, detach from the distraction or thought (imagine it floating or passing by like a cloud in the sky), and return to the breath count. Every time your mind drifts, return to the breath again and again.

See also Six Different Views on Breathing in Yoga

Step 4: Regulate your body temperature.

Anxiety and stress may have an effect on your body temperature, according to the CDC. Normal body temperature is approximately 98.6°F, but bouts of stress and anxiety, or a panic attack may cause the temperature to fluctuate somewhat in either direction (an increase or decrease in body temp, depending on the person).

To help regulate body temperature, place a slightly damp washcloth—using cool or slightly warm water depending on how you want to adjust your body temp—over your forehead. Keep a bowl or tray on your nightstand, and when you feel yourself drifting off to sleep, simply place the washcloth in the bowl.

Continue practicing this technique until you peacefully drift off to sleep.

About Our Writer

Founder of High Vibe Office, Shelby Wayte is a Holistic Health & Stress Reduction Expert for busy women who are ready to break the destructive cycle of stress + burnout—to live a more energetic, vibrant (high vibe!), happy, and healthy life.


9 Spinal Stretches to Ease Back Pain


9 Spinal Stretches to Ease Back Pain

Twists can be heaven for a bad back—if you don’t push too hard. Learn how to do these 9 stretches for the spine to ease pain in your back.
Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose, parivrtta janu sirsana

Twists can be heaven for a bad back—if you don’t push too hard. Learn how to do these 9 spinal stretches to ease pain in your back.

For Elise Miller, a longtime Iyengar Yoga teacher who was diagnosed with scoliosis—abnormal lateral curvature of the spine—as a teen, twisting poses are pure bliss. “I love moving from gentle twists into deeper variations," she says. “I think twists can be the most cleansing of all the poses." She’s referring to master teacher B.K.S. Iyengar’s “squeeze and soak" theory: The action of twisting the spine squeezes the muscles, spinal disks, and abdominal organs. When you release, blood floods back into those areas, bringing nutrients and improving circulation.

Still, Miller can understand why many people don’t enjoy twisting. The problem, she feels, lies in an overzealous approach. “You see people doing twists, and they just go for it. Then they feel stuck, like they have nowhere else to go—and they don’t, because they haven’t allowed an opening to happen." Her remedy for this common problem is twofold: First, she says, you must elongate your spine and create space in it before twisting; otherwise you exert pressure on the disks and leave yourself open to injury. Second, she uses props in her twist sequences to gently prepare the body for deeper poses. Being mindful of your alignment and using props will prevent you from powering through the poses, so you can enjoy a spiraling action up the spine and reap the benefits that twists offer.

See alsoGet a Great Turnout in Twists

9 Spinal Stretches + Twisting Poses

The first three poses in this sequence are often taught to people with hip or back stiffness, sacroiliac imbalances, degenerative disks, arthritis, or sciatica. With the exception of Paschimottanasana, do each pose in this sequence for five breaths on each side.
1. Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s Twist), with chair

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Sit sideways on a chair with your right hip facing the chair back and a block between your thighs. The chair will stabilize the lower back, pelvis, and legs, allowing you to safely rotate your upper spine. Place the hands on the chair back as you inhale and lift the spine. Exhale and twist, pulling with the left hand and pushing with the right. Allow the head and neck to follow the twist of the spine.

2. Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle), with chair

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Place a chair in front of you and put your right foot between its front legs. Step your left foot back about 4 feet and turn it in 80 degrees. Place your hands on your hips and square them. Inhale, lift your torso, exhale, and fold forward, placing your left hand on the chair seat, in line with your right big toe. Place your right hand on your sacrum and twist to the right, bringing the right shoulder toward the ceiling and the left ribs forward. To go deeper, place the left elbow on the chair and raise the right arm.

3. Marichyasana III (Marichi’s Twist III), with chair

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Place a block on a chair, then put your right foot on the block with the toes facing forward. Place your left hand on your right knee and your right palm on your sacrum. Inhale and lift the spine, then exhale and twist to the right, allowing your neck and head to follow. Keep the hips even and twist from the upper spine. Press the right hand into the back waist to turn the torso more deeply.

4. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

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Take a wide stance. Turn your right foot out and your left foot in 80 degrees. Square your hips toward your front foot, then bend your right knee directly over your ankle. On an exhalation, bring the left side of the body toward the right leg. Rest the left armpit to the outside of the right knee and press the palms together. Lengthen the spine and twist the ribs and torso to the right. To go deeper, bring the left palm to the floor or to a block and reach your right arm over your right ear. Gaze at your right fingertips as you lengthen your entire right side.

5. Parivrtta Dandasana (Revolved Staff Pose)

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Sit up tall with your legs strongly extended on the floor in Dandasana (Staff Pose). Draw the flesh of your buttocks back in order to sit directly on your sitting bones. Roll your thighs inward and maintain a natural curve in your lower back. Bring your left hand to your outer right knee and place your right fingertips on the floor behind you. Inhale and lift the spine, then exhale and twist to the right. Keep the heels even and stabilize the inner left thigh.

6. Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s Twist)

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Sit in Dandasana. Bend your knees and bring your feet next to your left buttock. Place your left ankle on the arch of your right foot. If the left hip is higher, place a blanket under the right hip. Exhale and turn your torso to the right. Place the left hand on your right knee. Press your right fingertips into the floor (or on a block) behind the right buttock and breathe as you turn the spine. Draw the tip of the right shoulder blade in and turn the right shoulder back. Keep your torso upright without lifting the left thigh.

7. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

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Sit in Dandasana. Bend the right leg and step the right foot to the outside of the left knee. Bend the left leg and place the foot to the right of the right sitting bone. The foot should be resting on its side, with its inner and outer edges parallel. Press the right fingertips into the floor and draw your torso up. Move the back ribs in. Exhale and turn to the right. Bend the left arm, and press it against the outside of your right knee to help you twist.

8. Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose)

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Sit in Dandasana. Bend the right knee and press the right heel against the perineum. Twist to the right as you lengthen your torso over your left leg. Reach out and hold the inner side of the left foot with the left hand, thumb pointing toward the floor and left pinky pointing up. Stretch the right arm overhead and hold the outer side of the left foot. Bend and widen the elbows away from each other to spiral the waist, chest, and shoulders. Extend the spine and rest the left ribs on the left thigh.

9. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

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From Dandasana, reach your arms overhead, exhale, and fold forward, grabbing the feet, shins, or thighs. Inhale and lengthen the torso up. Exhale, bend the elbows out, and take the torso toward the legs as you extend the front, sides, and back of the body toward the feet. Breathe deeply and steadily. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths.

See alsoGive Your Back a Treat with This Series of Twists

After You Finish


Do Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand) and Halasana (Plow Pose) or Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose)—important if you have previously practiced Sirsasana.


Lie in Savasana (Corpse Pose) for 5 minutes or longer.


Sit in a cross-legged position and rest your mind on your breath for 5 to 20 minutes. For closure, bring your palms together in Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal), honoring the inner light within you and extending that light to all beings.


《 Lindsey Webster – Love Inside (07:20) 》

《 Lindsey Webster – Love Inside (07:20) 》


#上毛電鐵 #デハ101號車 #デハ104號車 #鐵道




















除此之外,位於大胡的車輛基地,更有許多夢幻的鐵道文物,例如1928年跟著上毛電鐵一起開業的維修工廠,內部的馬達區鋼架,使用的材料居然是俄國所興建的東清鐵道(中長鐵路),曾經使用過的鋼軌,至今已有122年以上的歷史,鋼軌上還刻有ΚЖД(東清鐵道)1896 VI. Н. А. Д. ЕЖД等字樣,十分珍貴。










《 Lindsey Webster – Those Three Words (06:25) 》

《 Lindsey Webster – Those Three Words (06:25) 》

【小農食宴室】養育土地上的生命 米飯飄香自濕地


【小農食宴室】養育土地上的生命 米飯飄香自濕地





消失的稻田  消失的棲地
























※ 本文轉載自《台灣濕地網



《 Lindsey Webster – On Our Way (05:15) 》

《 Lindsey Webster – On Our Way (05:15) 》

兼顧農民生計、農地環境人文價值 百年國民信託組織有一套


兼顧農民生計、農地環境人文價值 百年國民信託組織有一套

作者:許惠婷(台灣環境資訊協會 專案執行、國際國民信託組織 執行委員)



國民信託的佃戶Neil Heseltine和他的牛。圖片提供:National Trust
國民信託的佃戶Neil Heseltine和他的牛。圖片提供:National Trust。

國民信託在1998年的《全國策略規劃》(National Strategic Plan)首度列入一系列的環境原則;2000年時則制定了《千禧年農業政策》(Agiculture – 2000 and beyond, A Policy for The National Trust),在其中勾勒出了他們的「農業願景」,包括:供應足夠的食物、維護環境、增進生物多樣性、有價值的地景、歷史意義、對文化和社會的益處等;同時期也制定了《土壤政策》(Soil Policy)及《土壤保護策略》(Soil Protection Strategy)。




  • 訂出基本的環境標準,並鼓勵現有的承租農地的租戶採納;
  • 出租目前閒置的農地時,僅考慮對環境負責任的農法;
  • 探索新形式的農地出租或「國民信託與佃戶」關係,以推動較友善環境農業管理方式;
  • 維護生物多樣性;
  • 支持在地農產與鼓勵有機農業。



  1. 施行「保育邊行」(conservation headlands),在農地的周邊留下一道區域,減少用藥,增加雜草及昆蟲的種類與數量,這有利於鳥類的生存。鳥類的族群數量是評估英國鄉村環境健康狀況的一項指標,國民信託也用此來判斷不同農法對守護生物多樣性的成效。
  2. 保護個別的特殊地形,例如池塘與湖泊;樹林不受到放牧干擾。
  3. 調查並以地圖紀錄農場中的野生物及其棲地;積極保護繁殖期中的鳥類。









  1. 確保物業裡的土壤可以維持各種多樣的功能。例如生產食物、纖維或其他物質、保護環境,並且確保不會減損未來生產的潛力。
  2. 將「保護土壤」整合入國民信託的物業入手、管理政策中。不僅提供物業管理者及農地佃戶土壤保護的指南、教育訓練、技術支援以及獎勵,並和佃戶明定彼此對土壤保護的責任,納入佃戶租約及農場管理計劃中,也實地對各物業的土壤進行調查、監測與記錄,評估每個務業的管理如何調整以保護土壤,並找出特別珍貴或需要保護的土壤,也在田間作物間種植綠色覆蓋作物避免土壤流失。
  3. 在國民信託的環境教育以及環境保護倡議中納入土壤保護。


田間土壤。圖片來源:Andy Rogers(CC BY-SA 2.0)。
適當的管理有助於保護田間土壤。圖片來源:Andy Rogers(CC BY-SA 2.0)。










英國國民信託全面採用符合動物福利的放養雞蛋。圖為國民信託的佃農Spencer家族,每年供應國民信託餐館150萬顆雞蛋。圖片提供:National Trust。
英國國民信託全面採用符合動物福利的放養雞蛋。圖為國民信託的佃農Spencer家族,每年供應國民信託餐館150萬顆雞蛋。圖片提供:National Trust。



國民信託也希望能發展出對農民、經濟和環境都好的新的土地管理模式;他們和智庫「Green Alliance」在2016年共同提出並倡議「自然基礎設施方案」(Natural Infrastructure Scheme, NIS),使農夫出售「避免水患」、「乾淨水源」等生態系服務給水公司或公家機關,同時幫助受到英國脫歐衝擊的農夫以及需要承擔水患以及品質不佳的水源帶來的高成本的部門,進而對社會大眾以及整體環境都帶來益處。他們估計,這個市場規模達數百萬英鎊,國民信託和Green Alliance未來將一起努力測試及推動這項新的概念。


  1. 國家資金應用於確保公眾利益,除非施行的農法有助於環境保護或野生物保育,否則農場不應該取得政府依照土地面積發給的基本收入補貼;應該讓對環境最有益的農戶獲得最多資金,而非如現行制度讓擁有所大面積農地的農戶取得最多補助。
  2. 新的體系應支持自然保育,確保全國各地的民眾都能親近及接觸自然環境。
  3. 從長遠與更大的尺度思考,因為大自然不會受到人為劃設的農場的界線拘束,政府應和地主、農夫們一起合作,從地景的尺度而非單一農場的尺度思考農業發展與補貼制度。
  4. 公眾資金應投資有益於自然保育的科學研究、技術研發以及市場機制,鼓勵研發能夠儲碳、預防水災、增進生物多樣性的作法,而不是能提升單位產量但有害環境的技術或產品。







《 Lindsey Webster – Back To Your Heart (05:17) 》

《 Lindsey Webster – Back To Your Heart (05:17) 》

夢幻湖「聲景」盡收耳際 《在湖畔傾聽》新作發表


夢幻湖「聲景」盡收耳際 《在湖畔傾聽》新作發表











聲景即為生命的聚合 是過去也是未來








《 Lindsey Webster – You Change (05:29) 》

《 Lindsey Webster – You Change (05:29) 》




轉載自:研之有物,採訪編輯:莊崇暉 ,美術編輯:張語辰

地殼因斷層活動,無時無刻皆在變化,與地震、海嘯、山崩等現象更是環環相扣。「地殼變形」遂成為地震學家無法忽視的觀察標的,就像地球展露情緒的跡象。中研院地球科學所的許雅儒研究員,其研究主要利用全球衛星定位觀測系統 (GPS)、地震及井下應變儀觀測資料,綜合分析陸地及隱沒帶斷層在地震周期中不同時段之地表變形。


原先碩士畢業後並無進修打算,然而,來到中研院地球科學所當研究助理那年,恰巧碰上 921 地震,親眼目睹斷垣殘壁和慘重傷亡,許雅儒步上探索地球科學奧秘之路,一路成為研究員,成為能看懂地球情緒起落的人。

從地殼變形 觀察地球情緒

發生地震時,避難是當務之急。對許雅儒而言,第一件想到的事則是:全台超過 400 個 GPS 固定觀測站往哪個方向位移。因為台灣位處隱沒帶,地震頻繁,地球的「情緒」時常在地表數十秒震動、板塊幾公分的移動間,展露無遺。

位於台灣汐止的 GPS 固定觀測站。半圓形遮罩為避免蟲鳥、外力等因素造成天線損毀。圖片來源:許雅儒提供

GPS 衛星定位係經由衞星量測地表測站的座標,測站座標隨時間的變化可計算速度,推測地底斷層的活動情形。台灣目前設置超過 400 座 GPS 固定觀測站,測站的選址需具備良好透空度(仰角 10°以上無遮蔽物)、地質穩定、遠離電磁波干擾源等。GPS 固定觀測站大抵沿著主要斷層帶擺放,與斷層垂直及平行方向皆有設置測站。

日常 GPS 導航的量測精度頂多是「公尺」,而藉 GPS 觀測地殼變形卻精準至「毫米」。


分析全台各地 GPS 測站的座標變化,得出 2003-2010 年間台灣地區的地殼變動。圖片來源:台灣地震科學中心


GPS 測站的座標時間序列。縱軸的 U 為垂直分量、 N 為南北分量、 E 為東西分量。線條錯開處為地震造成的不連續。資料來源:許雅儒提供

斷層滑移 ≠ 地震



同震滑移、震後滑移、間震期滑移,可描述斷層累積及釋放能量的歷程。資料來源:Scholz, 1998


上部地殼一般為脆性變形,下部地殼因為溫壓的關係產生塑性變形。板塊運動會造成地殼不斷變形,下部地殼變形行為像年糕,會一直變形,但一般不會發生大地震。下部地殼會推擠上部地殼,不像下部地殼,上部地殼可以積聚能量,當上部地殼承受不住便引發地震。若下層每年推進 5 公分,假設 100 年後地震能量才一次釋放,便會產生位移 5 公尺的地震。



為了更了解地震滑移的特性,許雅儒近期也著手研究「山崩」。她說,研究斷層難度高,因為斷層較深,訊號傳到地表已經很微弱了。而山崩的滑動特性和斷層活動有部分類似,山坡滑動面淺、在地表可以接收足夠的訊號,能藉此了解滑動行為隨時空如何演變,間接了解地震孕震的過程。相關研究成果也支持許雅儒獲得 2017 年台灣傑出女科學家「新秀獎」。



海底監測同樣透過 GPS 定位系統,不過因為衛星訊號無法穿透海水,所以必須藉由聲波定位。陸地的 GPS 站先跟船的位置做一般 GPS 相對定位,船的位置再跟海床聲波回應器做聲波定位,由此得知海床聲波回應器相對陸地 GPS 站的位置及位移速度。


許雅儒說,隱沒帶地震規模驚人,如 2004 年蘇門答臘地震和 2011 年日本 311 大地震。許雅儒在蘇門答臘隱沒帶的研究成果(註一),也是首次有近海溝的 GPS 觀測資料,驗證隱沒帶淺層之摩擦性質為速度強化,亦即隨著斷層滑動速度增加、摩擦強度也增加,並有顯著震後滑移。

此外,台灣鄰近海域還有許多大型隱沒帶海溝值得觀測,包括琉球海溝(長約 2200 公里)、馬尼拉海溝(長約 1100 公里)。她說,雖然自 16 世紀至今未見馬尼拉海溝有大規模地震的紀錄,但仍需持續監測,因為無法排除未來發生的可能。如同蘇門答臘過往也沒有相關紀錄,地震發生後破裂卻超過 1000 公里。


相較於陸地監測可以隨時驅車前往測站,許雅儒說海床監測工作礙於台灣研究船少,有時只能搭漁船。不僅要搶船期,還得避開海象洶湧的冬天與颱風季。一年出海二次,一次一星期,研究人員 24 小時輪班,而且海床監測的定位誤差比陸地監測大,所以監測海床更需要長時間的觀察累積精度,平均需要五、六年才有研究成果。


GPS 測站守護者的野外挑戰













「就像這棟樓不久前才測得傾斜 2 公分啊」許雅儒手指天花板表示,中研院地球所頂樓就有一個 GPS 測站,後方新建大樓挖地基,在尚未建造連續壁時,頂樓的測站資料顯示地球所向南傾斜 2 公分。她說,若不曉得測站附近施工興建大樓,可能會誤判為其它因素。



許雅儒的研究不只紙上談兵,更深具社會責任。善用 GPS 和其他方法覺察地球的情緒起伏,雖仍不足以全面「預測」,卻已能掌握地殼如何變形及斷層活動的情形。她也將量測方法應用至了解滑坡、降雨及地下水位之關聯(註二),藉以瞭解大規模崩塌潛勢區域之滑坡活動,供防災與避難疏散之用等等。

訪談末,想到正身處傾斜的中研院地球所之中,我的眼神似乎透露出「傾斜 2 公分頗嚴重」的訊息,許雅儒連忙笑說:「還好啦,已經建造連續壁,不會再傾斜了」。對這件事的輕描淡寫不是忽視,而是許雅儒長期觀測地殼變形培養而來的淡定。因為她慣於感測隨時隨地都在變動的地球情緒,靠的是準確定位、細心觀察,再下結論的紮實研究功夫。

※ 本文轉載自《研之有物》《地球情緒測量師 許雅儒》




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