This month’s newsletter article comes out of a recent trip to the Midwest. I was at a new studio with new students and hosts. This piece is actually a request from one of the hosts, Evan at Tapas Yoga Shala. The question arose; Should we squeeze or not squeeze our butt in upward facing dog? As always on the first day of practice, I mostly watch and get a sense for what I want to work on with any of the students over the course of the 5 days of mysore classes.
I’ve now taught the basic workshop over 100 times since 2000. It is the foundational workshop of all the others. Over 12 hours, it lays the foundation of information that then gets applied in all the other workshops I teach.
One of the most important skills a teacher can have is the skill of observation. Being able to see what a student is doing and or not doing during a class can make all the difference in a particular pose or in the level of sharing possible by a teacher. Therefore a major component of this weekend will be the development of observation skills. This workshop is both a stand-alone workshop and part of the larger advanced anatomy course. Observation is a key component …
Adjustments to yoga poses come in a variety of forms including physical, verbal, and even energetic. The basic workshop and the observation workshop support good intelligent adjustments that address the individual as just that, an individual in the moment and what they need to be aware of or adjust in their practice. Safe and intelligent adjustments should always begin with a good experience of actually doing the pose, followed by an understanding of what the intention or quality of the pose is. where the student …
The advanced anatomy course is is the synergy of all the other workshops I teach. In understanding my own process of development, I first understood the practice and philosophy of yoga. On top of that layer was the understanding of how the human anatomy functions and dysfunctions, distilled in my basic anatomy course. This lead to the ability to observe other people’s anatomy and gain information that could then be fed back into their practice. Last but certainly not least is the way in which …
The foundation of our bodies and our yoga practice lies at our feet. In order to incorporate both physical and energetic foundations, we must examine our body’s center of energy, movement and balance which begins near the psoas muscle– the pair of deep muscles extending from the sides of the spine to the femur that are activated in yoga postures like forward bending (paschimottanasana), Boat pose; and lengthened in poses like Warrior I and Bow.
The basic goal of all the asana practice is finding and maintaining a comfortable padmasana (lotus pose) for meditation. There are a few key anatomical components and principles to finding this comfort. The foundation of the pose is the crossing of the legs and “sit bones” comfortably on the floor. With a firm foundation we find an upward energy and lift in the spine, which eventually becomes effortless.
In Part 1 of this article we left off looking at the deepest, most intrinsic structures that make the knee function as it does. In this part of the article we’ll continue to look at another deep structure, the meniscus and also talk about some of the soft-tissues (muscles and ligaments) that affect this joint and how it all fits into our yoga practice.
In our last article, we looked at the part of our anatomy that grounds us, literally, the feet. Making our way up the body, the next major joint we come to is the ever elusive and sometimes tricky knee. This knobby pair of joints are often an enthusiastic topic of conversation amongst yogis as it seems everyone knows somebody who’s either injured a meniscus or torn an ACL, or done “something” to it.
Those wonderful glorious feet, unfortunately, kept in containers (shoes) most of the day. Poor things have quite a responsibility in both our everyday walking/living life and particularly in our yoga practice. The foot foundation is useful in both. As a therapist, the feet are one of the first things I look at as it’s important to see what someone is standing on all day.