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UNIQUE you

YOU ARE UNIQUE

 

There is no one alive that is Youer than You - Dr. Suess

 

Your biology (dictated in part by your genes and the environment you live in) + Your biography / experience (all of the things you have done and been exposed to in your life) = unique you.

 

We express our thoughts and feelings through our physical bodies, the way in which we experience various postures provides wonderful material for introspection. Aim to guide your yoga classes to encourage self -reflective awareness  in :

 

  • Each asana, 

  • Each moment within and between asanas,

  • Every breath,

  • Every sensation, 

  • Every thought,

  • Every feeling.

 

When we understand human differences — skeletal variations — and teach functionally, the aesthetics approach takes a back seat and classes become more accessible to a wider population. Not everyone can do every pose in yoga, and each pose will be difficult or impossible for some students. 

 

‘Each person has different proportions of body segment lengths, muscle insertion lengths, muscle to tendon length ratios, nerve conductance velocities, intrinsic tissue tolerances etc etc. Imposing a stereotypical ‘ideal’ technique will often prevent an athlete from reaching their full potential.’ - Stuart McGil

 

NORMS  & AVERAGES

 

Scientists and medical researchers use ‘the norm’ to measure human variation. They consider people inside the norm normal and apply this term to 95% of the population. People outside the norm — the remaining 5% — are considered by definition abnormal. If you are teaching a yoga class with 20 students on average, at least 1 will be abnormal. It’s not that simple. Studies vary so do humans. 

Practically every human being is a deviate in some respects -Roger Williams

 

ALIGNMENT RIGIDITY

 

There is no universal alignment cue — that is, there are no alignment cues that work for everybody. That is not to imply there are no principles of alignment. There are individual principles of alignment. In the asana labs we will be looking at specific alignment principles for individual asanas. 

 

Alignment rigidity is a consequence of TT programmes trying to make it simpler to mass produce teachers,…At any time an art is constrained to mass production it will be simplified, codified and rigidified. Simpler is easier to teach and absorb, but it also leads to inaccurate generalisations, and intolerance of individuality… We cannot teach effectively with out some generalisations, but we haven’t reached maturity until we have outgrown generalisations and can completely focus on the unique needs of every student in every pose….The onus of continuing growth is on every yoga teacher to reach their full potential.- Paul Grilley

While you can teach your students technique and provide them with sound biomechanical alignment principles in the individual asanas along with kinesiological principles of movement, the quality of balanced integration is one that your students will begin to feel and develop through their personal practice. 

IMPROPER ALIGNMENT

 

Stress is required for the health of our tissues, including our ligaments and our joints. Many aesthetically prohibited alignment positions that look awkward can actually provide healthy stress to a joint. Refraining from those alignments may rob students from healthy stresses.

 

OUR edge

 

What stops us in going further in a yoga pose could be something : Physical / Emotional / Psychological /Spiritual. Physically, unless we’re holding ourself from going deeper, we reach our edge when;

 

  • Our tissues can stretch no further (tension)

  • Our body is hitting itself (compression)

 

TENSION + COMPRESSION

 

In any given pose TENSION Is felt in the side opposite from the movement. It can be changed over time with diligence. COMPRESSION Is felt in the direction of the movement. Only changed by going around the point of compression. Otherwise we’ve  reached our ultimate limitation. 

BALANCED body

Like stones on a beach, both stacked and perfectly balanced, which is more aligned? What is ‘correct posture’?

 

 

TENSION - skin, muscle, fascia, tendons, ligaments, joint capsule

SOFT COMPRESSION - flesh in contact with flesh

MEDIUM COMPRESSION - bones compress our flesh

HARD COMPRESSION - bone hitting bone

 

Understanding these factors will help you determine if and how a yoga posture can be improved. 

 

OUR ULTIMATE LIMIT

 

Once we’ve worked through all tensile restrictions, bone hits bone. Our ultimate range of motion is dictated by when our bones hit each other. Not acknowledging bone on bone compression and wanting to go further, whatever the cost, will only result in injury. It’s ok to feel compression, but it should never hurt. The body will generally warn you if you are going too deep or holding a stress for too long. Avoid stressing the body if feeling pain: even little tweaks are to be avoided because little tweaks lead to big tweaks. Regularly practising your full range of motion helps you to maintain this full range of motion. So, by all means, find your boundaries, it is important to understand where our challenges lie, what is possible for us, grow to the limits available to us and recognise and honour the limitations when we meet them. 

 

GOLDILOCKS POSITION 

 

All parts of the body need an adequate amount of stress to be healthy: too much is not good, and neither is too little. All exercise is to stress tissue so the body will respond by strengthening it.

 

  • Too little stress - atrophy, tighten, loose ROM

  • Too much stress - degeneration, lead to arthritis, hyper mobility. 

  • Not too much/little - optimal health GOLDILOCKS POSITION

 

We will investigate the nature of our tissues gather more understanding of how yoga affects us and how different tissues contribute to a reduced range of motion. Where we meet tension and compression in the body will vary depending on the body.

HUMAN body

TISSUE

 

The human body starts out as one fertilised cell. Cell division occurs to create more and more cells. Each of these emphasises one of the functions shared by all cells in general; secretion, conduction, contraction, or support. The specialised cells combine into tissues, organs, organisms and societies, all working together and communicating with each other.

 

We can identify 4 basic classes of cells : 

  • MUSCLE TISSUE - Produces movement, maintains posture (balance) and generates heat to maintain body’s temperature. 

  • NERVOUS TISSUE - Specialises in transmitting electrical and chemical signals throughout the body.

  • EPITHELIA TISSUES - Are the linings of the body such as our skin, blood vessels and digestive tract. Absorbs nutrients and secretes chemical products such as hormones enzymes and other messenger molecules.

  • CONNECTIVE TISSUE - Combines to form bone, ligaments, cartilage, tendons and fascia. Act’s as a scaffold to keep tension in all our tissues and alignment between all cells. This material becomes a shared and communicative environment for all our cells shaping us and allowing us directed movement.

 
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