Fabric of Awareness: Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga
This year we will begin with the upper body — the neck, shoulders and arms — to explore the fascial lines or ‘sutras’ that govern them, and variations in poses that promote the health of the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck.
the proper alignment and actions are in ALL classes of poses, both weight-bearing and non-weightbearing (always a source of controversy among teachers and practitioners)?
the most common therapeutic problems in these areas, the anatomy of and obstacles presented by these problems, and ways to address them to support strengthening and healing in asana
This approach will be especially useful to teachers for providing effectiveness and clarity in their instructions, and for practitioners who want to more deeply understand and address pain problems they are encountering, or simply want to become stronger and better aligned through insightful practice.
Following the work with the shoulders, wrists, elbows and neck, we will turn to sacral and hip stability, along with problems in the low back. Issues surrounding the sacrum will be more deeply explored, and we will go through all classes of poses — particularly twists and backbending — with a focus on actions that bring greater stability of the sacrum and hips, while also addressing students who are very stiff.
Friday evening, 6:30p to 8:30p
Threads in the Fabric of the Arms: Beneficial Alignment and Action for the Shoulders
In this asana practice we’ll explore the threads of connection from the hands through the wrists, forearms and elbows to the shoulders. Effective alignment of the shoulders in asana, as well as variations for students who are either tight or hyper-mobile, are best understood by knowing and understanding these ‘sutras’ and how they function in asana.
We will explain these sutras and how they function in supporting the bones and movement, and will cover all types of poses — from the different arm positions in upright or non-weight-bearing poses and stretches to those that are weight bearing, from Downward Facing Dog to simple backbends and forward bends — and cover the best hand, elbow, shoulder and shoulder blade alignment from the perspective of these sutras.
Saturday Early Afternoon, 12:30p to 3:30p
The Bandha Connection: A ‘Cranio-Sacral’ Understanding of the Bandhas in Asana Practice
The sacrum is the one bone in the body named after the ‘sacred,’ and it provides the foundation for both our embodiment in movement as well as a subtle pathway to self-awareness. Sacral stability and freedom are becoming key concerns in yoga, especially as injuries arise from both hypermobility in asana practice as well as tendencies to ‘push’ against our inflexibility.
The bandhas connect the actions of our head, neck and shoulders to the movement of our low back and sacrum, and yet this connection is overlooked in asana practice.
This active practice will establish the connection between head and neck movement (and variations), freedom in the shoulders, and the health of the low back and sacrum as well as openness in the hips. It will be a very practical approach to reestablishing this connection in our everyday life as well as in our asana practice!
We will specifically cover sequencing for greater sacral stability, and specific work with proper actions in all classes of poses — particularly twists and backbending, as well as forward bending — that maintain sacral stability. We will keep an eye on the relationship of actions in the neck — both helpful and unhelpful — to sacral movement and pelvic and hip stability.
Saturday Late Afternoon, 4:00p to 6:00p
Breakthrough — The Emergence of the Deeper Yoga In Which Yoga and Christian Mysticism Merged
The 14th century saw the emergence of a new and deeper yoga, one that drew upon physical practices of old as well as incorporating elements of action, breath, sound and meditation developed within tantra from techniques borrowed from yoga. These appeared in and evolved through the texts of hatha yoga, and represented a deeper vision of the experience of yoga and its relationship to participation in the world — and of the experience of awakening that brings us to it.
In the same centuries, there emerged a vision of Christianity and of the inner awakening represented especially by Meister Eckhart as well as by other Christian mystics. This vision and its development ran parallel to the developments within yoga in its understanding of the mystic’s spiritual vision, and even contained elements among some of the mystics that resonate with the idea of the chakras. At the heart was Eckhart’s articulation of the ‘Breakthrough’ within to the Divine, which transforms our outer life.
From our perspective centuries later we can begin to grasp how each development illuminates the other. From a discussion of this we can come to appreciate our yoga more deeply — including a deeper exploration into the chakras and the role of yoga nidra in relation to yoga and the chakras — as well as add dimensions to our spiritual perspective rooted in the Christian mystical tradition represented so well by Eckhart.
The first part of the session will be a talk on this topic, followed — after a break — by guided yoga nidra, pranayama and meditation.
Sunday afternoon, 12:30p to 3:30p
Foundations for Flight: The Lower Body, with Secrets of the Hamstrings and Extra Love for the Knees
Just as the first session explored the muscular connections through threads of the arms and shoulders, with their foundation in the hands, this session will connect to foundations in the feet, knees and hips. We will expand our perspective to include the effect of better actions in the hips and pelvis upon the health of the knees — giving special attention to the knees and the factors that influence their health. And we’ll see how the hamstrings are not just there to be ‘stretched’ in our practice, but also can be used to help us with our low back and knee issues!
The practice will flow through asana, with practical tips for self-awareness and emphasis on actions that bring the greatest positive benefit as well as protection from injury.
Cost: $210 for the entire weekend – a la carte registration available