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Ask the Expert: Aadil Palkhivala

Practice for deep and sound sleep.

By Aadil Palkhivala

Is it unhealthy if your back cracks when doing twisting poses?

It depends. The cracking sound you hear often means that the alignment in the vertebrae is off (called a subluxation). In this case, when you do asanas and hear cracking, you are realigning the spine. This is a healthy cracking. Unhealthy cracking is when the same portion of the spine keeps cracking again and again over many months. This indicates that other activities in your life are causing that particular part of your spine to go out of balance, and you must make changes in the way you stand, sit, or walk.

The important thing to do is observe what effects the cracking has on your body. Do you feel more centered or calm? Have you released something that was tight and tense and now feel your energy flowing more freely? Or does the area feel sore, painful, slightly distorted? The first case is the release of a subluxation. In the second, you are causing one! Just as a good crack at a chiropractor's office can remove the numbness from a finger, so a good crack in a yoga practice can promote energy flow in the nerves. This may then assist in the enhanced functioning of many organs and muscles in the body.

Aadil Palkhivala ( began studying with B.K.S. Iyengar at age 7 and received an Advanced Iyengar Teacher certificate at 22. Devoted to Sri Aurobindo's yoga, Aadil founded Purna Yoga and The College of Purna Yoga in Bellevue, Washington. He's the author of Fire of Love: Teaching the Essence of Yoga.

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Reader Comments


There is a student who has pain in her spine after doing the combination of shoulder stand, plow and fish. It is when the student lies down on the back, the bones of the spine factually hurt and it takes a while for them to settle. I, myself experience this pain so I do legs against the wall. Can you explain what is going on that causes this?


I have a loud ringing in my ears. Are there yoga positions that will help this noise?
Thank you


Hi, I am a beginner to yoga and I was just wondering how to properly get the most benefit from my practice. I typically practice at home but I have been taking a class which ends unfortunately next week. My question is how much should I practice per week and how should I mix it up? I typically practice about 30-50 minutes about 6 days a week, some are more intense and some are gentle, depending on my moods or how my body feels. I am thinking the gentle is just as important as the intense..rt?..I would love to hear from experts and fellow practitioners..namaste♥

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