Principles of the Yoga Practice - Dual Action

This is part of 3 of a 6 part Principles of Yoga Practice series. You can see the first post here and second post here . I highly recommend you read those two first.

An opposite action must balance every action.

Dual action occurs when we deliberately apply energy in opposite direction during a yoga posture (asana).

Why use dual actions?

1.       Neutralizes the law of compensation

2.       Creates stability

3.       Results in muscular engagement in the body

4.       Keeps you more present in class by hijacking your attention span

Remember, Stability VS Flexibility

Let’s explore this concept with Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog Pose


  • Lift shins up and away from tops of feet (Makes wrinkles in front ankle skin disappear)

Counter Action

  • Lengthen top of calf muscles to bottom of heel.
  • Lift skin and muscles at front thighs upwards toward front hip bones (Will lift knee caps)

Counter Action 

  • Lift hamstrings upwards from top of knees to buttock bones

This simultaneous co-activation of opposing muscle groups creates strong isometric contractions in the body allowing us to both strengthen and stretch soft tissue at the same time. From a Western anatomical perspective we are attempting to make muscles that are normally antagonists to one another operate as synergists.

Let’s take this concept off the Mat

Does the word Yoga (union) shed light on creating balance between the dualities present in the body and the mind? How about the word Hatha? Is Ha (sun) Tha (moon) an analog for Yin Yang? Do opposites attract? When do you feel pulled in diffrent drections at the same time in your life?

We may ask ourselves if balance is what we are looking for in our lives - what needs to happen in another part of my life for me to stay balanced? Write it down. 


With love and gratitude,


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