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Showing posts with label anatomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anatomy. Show all posts

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Exciting times!!

This week saw the end of our first yoga Teacher training one-month intensive course in Joburg!
The course was offered semi-privately, and one awesome student has been transformed into a fantastically promising teacher!

I'm so proud. And so excited to be starting the next two courses next week! Keeping busy with training teachers properly in anatomy and teaching, to give them the understanding required to adapt to a vast array of student levels, in hundreds of poses, in virtually any setting, in a professional and well-equipped manner.

Well done, Idelette, and thank you for being such an awesome first student of the Joburg-based off-shoot of the Wellness Connection 200-hour teacher training course!



Contact us for more details on said TT course - spaces fill up quickly! :)

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Thursday, 8 February 2018

A new year, a new... me?

A very happy (and very much belated) new year to everyone! =)

In the build up to the start of the new year, I spent a lot of time reflecting back on the events of 2017. It was a pretty spectacular year. Spectacularly awful, as well as spectacularly awe-full. But through all the ups and downs, I do feel like a very, very different person starting 2018, compared to when I unsuspectingly, and happily entered into 2017.

But I've sort of found, perhaps, maybe, that the less prepared you feel for a lesson, the greater that lesson is? Or the more you grow during it? Or just the more completely it catches you off guard and knocks you down. But the only really bad thing about being knocked down is if you don't get back up again, isn't it?

So, like, in that sense it's very similar to standing balances in yoga (or arm balances, too, I guess; but let's stick with the slightly simpler analogy for now...). If you're frowning with intense concentration, I bet you you'd be more likely to not be able to keep a balance like Vrksasana. At the very least, you probably wouldn't be able to keep your balance for as long as if you were smiling merrily and allowing your body's natural balance mechanisms to do their thing *. I always encourage taking balances lightly, and taking oneself less seriously in balance poses. Yes, you need to engage muscles and focus, have proper drishti and so on. But more importantly, I think, is laughing at yourself when you fall over. And then getting back up and trying it again. After all, yoga is about the journey, not the destination.

So, without further rambling... go make 2018 the year for you. Your growth. Your discovery. Your love. Fall down, learn lessons, hard lessons, easy lessons. But get back up again. And keep smiling.

What the heck is going on with my shoulder??! And my hands are skew.
But either way, this is Vrksasana in a pretty tunnel


* No, I'm not saying that balance is all about your body taking over and you can just be blissfully unaware. You need to have your standing leg engaged. Engaging abdominals can help in some situations, too. I'm speaking more of the over concentration that takes over and makes your body rigid. 


There's much more to balance
Source

Also, check out this link for more on the muscles that are used in Vrksasana



anatomy blog classes mindfulness new beginnings teaching yoga

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The bright side of pain

Sigh. The past two weeks have been horrid. Or, at least, the pain has been horrid. Which kind of makes the day horrid. Which makes a week horrid. I'm sure you get the picture.

I am, once again, on the verge of being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylosis (Ooh! I found out: spondylosis refers to the disease state, while spondylitis refers to the inflammatory flare, or specifically to the inflammation of the joints). My most recent scan shows severe inflammation in my lumbar spine, and, to a lesser degree, in my cervical spine, hips, SI joints, and knees. On top of that, I've been in a wrist brace to immobilise my wrist, so that it hopefully heals from an injury that I sustained two months ago, whilst ice skating. Or, more accurately, whilst falling, while ice skating :-p



On meeting a new client, I explained to her about my injuries (I had the brace on and she asked), and I also explained to her that, while several of my injuries are yoga related, I feel that that has contributed to making me a better teacher. My non-yoga related injuries have done the same in the sense that I know very well what to look out for, how to modify, and when to back down. I realised, while explaining this to my client, that being a chronic pain sufferer myself, puts me in a unique position to relate to people in similar situations. I know from experience that no amount of explaining or empathy can fully reveal what someone in chronic pain is experiencing, so it's super useful to have an instructor who already knows first-hand what you're likely experiencing.

While my pain and awareness of injuries may make me a little hyper cautious, I have overcome so much in the process of dealing with my own pain that I have grown my determination and confidence in my ability to help others with the same problems. Coupled with my thorough understanding of anatomy, I help people get into those show-off-y yoga poses too. Because I'm a pretty awesome yoga instructor, for people on a broad spectrum of levels and abilities.

And that is my bright side of pain!

Laughter is the best medicine. As is movement.



anatomy blog mindfulness pain posture private rehabilitation yoga

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Teaching and fear

Last week I was teaching a class, and there were only two students. So I asked them if there was anything in particular that they wanted to do. The one requested shoulder stand (Salamba sarvangasana), and the other wanted to deepen her backbends... not the best combination of poses to sequence for 😁 We decided to focus on the shoulder stand for that session.

...I was scared! For me, personally, Salamba sarvangasana is a horrid pose. I think it's because of my prominent C7 vertebra, but I get dizzy and see stars and feel nauseated very quickly in that pose. Similarly, but to a lesser extent in Halasana. Anyway. Besides not enjoying shoulder stand in my own personal practice, I also learned on my teacher training course that several prominent teachers and higher-ups had decided that teaching it unpropped, should not be done. Which makes perfect anatomical sense.

The cervical vertebrae are way smaller than your lumbar vertebrae, which are made to bear weight. Now you want to put close to your full body weight on your comparatively tiny cervical vertebrae, at a severe angle... with poor little C7 getting smooshed into the floor... So I was happy to not teach Salamba sarvangasana. Because I didn't like it, and because the propping takes a long time. More on that at a later stage.

Comparison between the three different types of vertebrae, showing the size of cervical vs. lumbar vertebrae.

BUT. I had asked the students what they wanted to do, and teaching Salamba sarvangasana became unavoidable. Which was fantastic for my growth as a yoga instructor. Because I forced myself to step way out of my comfort zone to sequence that class into a safe, properly activated and executed shoulder stand. Yes, I gave very many warnings about not feeling any pressure on the neck and properly engaging the shoulders, abdominals, back, and legs. Even more cautions than I would normally give 😁

And it worked!! I faced my fear, and I got both my students into beautiful, and completely safe propped Salamba sarvangasanas! I was admittedly relieved by the end of that session, but I felt like I had accomplished something. Like I'd gotten over a long-standing fear of mine. And you know what, I actually feel less scared now of including it in my own practice. Which I think is a fantastic thing. Of course, I would never do it unpropped, but I'm much less nervous about doing and teaching that pose now. And it feels good.
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