Yoga asana, when practiced properly, can contribute greatly to the maintenance of healthy, strong bones. Research has repeatedly shown that weight-bearing exercises like yoga stimulate bone growth through appropriate stresses placed on the bones.
In this workshop we will:
- Practice specifically designed sequences of postures to promote bone health, especially in the thighs, pelvis and spine- common areas where bone density decreases and fractures occur
- Review what poses you may want to avoid or have caution with when dealing with bone related issues such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis
- Learn about bone function, anatomy, physiology and the most current research on bone health
The Breath in Asana
When the breath flows evenly and smoothly, the mind remains calm. Peace and harmony can be experienced even in physically challenging postures. When the breath is compromised, tensions arise and the ability to concentrate is diminished. We will attend to the breath as the central point of focus in our asana practice and explore the following:
- Prana vidya (awareness of the breath without manipulation)
- The relationship between movement and breath
- The effect of the breath on the spine and surrounding structures
- The psychological and energetic effects of inhalation, exhalation and retention of the breath
- The use of ujayi, nadi shodana and kapalabhati in fundamental asanas
Deep Relaxation, Healing and Yoga Nidra
When the innate healing capacity of the body is supported through restorative positions, relaxed breathing and guided imagery, positive changes occur in the body and mind.
The restorative postures put the body, brain and entire nervous system into a deep state of receptivity. We can then effectively send positive suggestions and images that penetrate the conscious, subconscious and unconscious levels of the mind.
In Yoga Nidra, ultimately we are invited to discover who we are at the deepest levels by recognizing what we are not. The practice of Yoga Nidra help can help us awaken to our true nature as open spacious awareness.
The Hip Joint
- Using techniques from yoga including movement, asana, mindfulness, visualization and experiential anatomy we will explore these questions:
- What are the capacities for movement at the hip joint and what restricts movement in different directions?
- How can we enhance both the flexibility and stability of the hips?
- What’s significant about the relationship between the hips and legs?
- What psychophysical issues can arise as we work in these areas to open or stabilize the hip and pelvis and how should we approach them according to yoga?
Low Back in Asana
The low back can be a vulnerable area for many yoga students and should be understood in relationship to the whole body. Get deeper insight into how to recognize and avoid potential problems that can arise in practice. We’ll look especially at basic forward bends, backbends and twists
Course content includes:
- What is meant by “neutral spine” and it’s importance in back health
- Which basic yoga poses can be challenging for the low back and why
- Using sequencing, counter poses, and props effectively
- Principles of back stabilization and how to apply them in basic asanas and transitional movements between positions
- Frequent patterns of low back postural imbalance and how to work with it in your practice
The Lower Extremity
- Explore the anatomy and basic mechanics of the ankle, knee and hip and how this relates to asana
- Practice sequences and ways of moving that enhance the mobility and stability of the ankle, foot, knee and hip
- Learn to recognize and correct lower extremity misalignment and over-stretching
- Learn to modify postures to avoid pain and strain in the ankles and knees
- Understand the energetic importance of “leg and foot work” in overall health
No Pain in the Neck
The neck can be an area of great vulnerability in our yoga practice and many students are prematurely given inverted poses. This workshop is for students who suffer neck pain in or out of the postures or for teachers working with students with neck pain. No inversions will be practice in this course but preparatory work and assessing readiness for inversions will be discussed.
Course Content will include:
- Gentle movements to alleviate tension in the neck muscles without creating strain
- Which postures are most likely to trigger neck pain and how to avoid it
- The importance of working on the axis and how poor postural habits can stain the neck
- Effective ways to modify and sequence postures for people with existing neck problems
In Restorative Yoga, we assume restful, comfortable postures for several minutes at a time. Most of these postures are practiced in a supported position using the floor, blankets, bolsters and belts, so that we are capable of remaining in the posture with ease and comfort. We take the time to relax deeply into our experience of body, breath and self in every pose.
With it’s emphasis is on being rather than doing, this practice brings us into harmony with the body’s inherent rhythm. Restorative Yoga soothes the nervous system, supports immune function, calms the mind, deepens our breath and enhances our capacity to experience well being and our true inner nature.
The Shoulder Joint
- Basic anatomy of the bones and joints of the shoulder girdle
- Causes of movement restrictions in the shoulder and safely increasing mobility
- Posture sequences designed to develop strength and stability in the shoulder girdle
- How to modify your approach to asana practice when there is shoulder pain or injury
Strengthening the Core with Asana and Bandha
Understanding the Science of Vayu
According to yoga and ayurveda, there are five main wind like energies (called prana vayus) which are essential to the healthy functioning of our entire physiology. Understanding the science of Vayu helps us to see, correct and skillfully work with the subtle energetic body as well as the physical body and its systems. Prana and Apana are two of the most important and will be covered extensively.
The conscious application of bandha and breath during asana and breath work serve to enhance and appropriately direct these energies and will be explored within the context of a complete practice. We will discover how the true transformational power of yoga occurs through an alchemical reversal process in which the energies of prana and apana are brought together to meet in the belly.
Yoga and Your Dosha
A personalized, regular yoga practice can be a highly effective tool for bringing your body and mind into a harmonious state. But, there are so many different options and limited time, how do you choose what to practice? Knowing your dosha (or basic natural tendencies) can be very valuable in this process.
We will cover:
- The three primary doshas (vata, pitta and kapha ) qualities associated with each and how to tell when they’re “out of whack”
- Asana and breathing practices that can be used to bring your doshas back into balance
- General approaches to practice and teaching that will be most effective when you or a student demonstrates an imbalance in one of the three doshas
Yogic Cleansing for Spring
Sweep out the cobwebs and air out the dampness of winter. Spring is a time for new growth and the birth of dormant potential. According to Ayurveda, if we enter this transition from winter to spring out of balance (kapha dosha), we can have difficulty harnessing and expressing this natural energy. Colds, coughs, allergies and excess phlegm can frequently occur at this time. Learn how your yoga practice can be adapted to harmonize with these seasonal changes for optimal health.