by Zephyr Wildman
at Inner Seed in Abu Dhabi –
October 16-20, 2018.
Yoga refines our movement and breath. In its therapeutic applications, asana and pranayama become the tools by which we address patterns of movement, breath and being that are at the root of chronic pain, limitation and even disease. Because of the way we’re built, and the lives we live we all face challenges individual in our life and practice, often with chronic pain. Our own structure and patterns of movement often lead us directly into these problems, unless we recognize and change them. Even when we exercise regularly or have a regular practice, we allow some muscles to dominate, leaving others weak and unused. This can eventually lead to pain and injury, even for the experienced practitioner.
Each morning will involve an exploration of the structural alignment, anatomy, muscles and function of the area that is the days’ focus plus time to review the prior days learning. In the afternoon we will apply the morning’s tuition through practice, utilising yoga asana, pranayama, kriyas and basic massage techniques.
The way we physically carry ourselves, our posture, our gait and our physical alignment sends a message to the world conveying our mood, attitude and our perspective of how we experience our quality of living. Those that are trained to recognise how the body is moving and what kind of (mis)alignment one possesses and how to correct it, can be incredible healers for those that suffer with pain. Using Yoga as therapy and addressing the underlying causes of habitual misaligned postures, the management of chronic pain and reeducating our bodies for greater well-being is one of the focuses of our upcoming workshop: Applied Yoga as a Therapeutic Tool to Heal.
In this workshop we will focus on our Flexion Addiction. An example of flexion addiction is illustrated by our modern human tendency to sit too much and for too long which causes movement syndromes leading to chronic back pain. This ‘flexion addiction’ creates a state where our body experiences amnesia and forgets how to contract or release, creating conditions for greater imbalance. The main objective for this workshop is to inform students on how to create pain-free movement by restoring postural balance. We will learn how to preform postural assessment and use yoga-asana and simple movement based techniques to therapeutically address the imbalances. Using the information gathered from the workshop we can start recovering from this amnesia, re-connecting and support this ongoing process of healing.
Day 1: Foundations and Introduction to the 5 Koshas
A.M.: Students will be introduced to the concept of the “Middle Path” through a lecture on the philosophical and practical approach to working therapeutically with people’s injuries, ailments, mental health, chronic pain and addiction. Using the modality of the Koshas, we will dissect each sheath individually with applied philosophy to treat an individual or class effectively. The emphasis for Day 1 will be on creating the foundations to be referenced throughout the 5 days and include an overview of;
- common structural problems
- patterns of movement
- Ayurvedic imbalances
- Pranic problems in the body and mind
P.M.: The afternoon will continue with a customised sequences inspired by the Koshas to start to gain tools to treat common imbalances and pain.
Day 2: Postural Integrity and the Spine
A.M.: With a thorough comprehension of the Koshas and a holistic approach, we will now begin to look at specific alignment issues and causes of pain with a focus on the spine and postural integrity. Evaluation of posture will be our focus for the morning, however it takes more than just “good” posture to maintain “good” health and balance. We will explore methods of assessing problems with movement, the three diaphragms and we will also discuss the myofacial planes. We will assess techniques for dealing with Flexion and Extension Syndrome, while putting a special focus on understanding the focal points of weakness and stability and how they are affected by our lifestyle and genetic predisposition.
P.M.: After a morning of theory and observation, we will put into practice some application techniques that have been effective in reducing chronic pain and common conditions of the spine and posture.
Day 3: Feet, Knees and Hips.
A.M.: Working from the ground up, we will learn to see the body in action and how the interconnected lines of intelligence inform our patterns of movement and pain. Literally the foundations of our bodies health and balance, we will evaluate the alignment of the feet and legs and discuss how to assess alignment highlighting common problems, misalignments and causes of pain.
P.M.: The metaphor for the Middle Path as our centre of balance is well illustrated in the application of techniques for this afternoon’s session. By looking at the feet, knees and hips as the foundation for the spine and the connections the spine has to the rest of the body, we understand that this foundation is critical to supporting that well being and balance for the entire body.
Day 4: Pelvic Girdle
A.M.: We will discuss and develop techniques for assessing problem areas and imbalance within the uniqueness of every pelvis. A keen attention to detail will aid the student to look at the alignment and observe and identify misalignment. We will discuss common problems and causes of pain, and most importantly how the pelvic girdle influences structural alignment for the rest of the body.
P.M.: Hands on practice of applying the mornings lecture and developing techniques that build alignment, flexibility and stability of the pelvis to alleviate misalignments and pain due to every day lifestyle problems.
Day 5: Shoulder Girdle
A.M.: We will observe how improving range of motion can ease chronic pain in areas around the shoulder, neck and head, especially when the individual has experienced injury in these areas. We will pay close attention to evaluating posture and what it tells us about the state of the shoulder girdle. Observing the alignment and correctly ascertaining the causes of imbalance are crucial to this area as its range of motion and susceptibility to injury make it one of the more complex areas of focus.
P.M.: Applying yoga asana and basic massage techniques that help to extend the range of motion with a specific injury related approach (e.g.,frozen shoulder, rotator cuff injury) will be unique to this afternoon’s application.