Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Leslie Kaminoff Workshop Part 2: The Spine as Nature's Masterpiece of Sthira and Sukha

I had the opportunity to attend an anatomy workshop lead by Leslie Kaminoff, author of Yoga Anatomy, during the week of Aug 3-6,.   This was one of my first yoga anatomy books and it remains a great resource.  This is day two of the workshop.

I found day two to be more engaging than day one, and  it definitely built upon the lessons of the day before.  As I review my notes, I'm struggling with how to describe day two - again, it was that non-linear structure of the class.  There was dialog about the spine itself, there was a soap box rant about Desikachar, there was some personal discussion about what people were experiencing in their bodies...lecture was kinda all over the place. 

So I'll start with a couple definitions:
Sthira - to stand, be steady, stable;  as relates to the spine, protection for the nervous system
Sukha - suk - space,  ha - good,   good space;  as relates to the spine, range and freedom of movement

We again began class with a practice, and this time we did move - it wasn't a lot of movement, it wasn't through a whole slew of postures.  It was a very simple, and very challenging warrior sequence.  Check it out - I think you can probably find it on YouTube.  I will maintain, some of the best asana/vinyasa classes I've been to are the ones who keep it simple.  This was simple and challenging.

Again, practice was followed by lecture.  Some key points from Tuesdays session were:
  • THERE IS NO NORMAL from which we all deviate.  Asana doesn't have alignment, people have alignment.  
  • Alignment is a clear transmission of weight through the bones, though balanced joint space, and this will be different for each person. 
  • If your joints are talking to you, something is unbalanced and needs to change. 
  • Use a little movement from a lot of places; ie, it's not "square the hips", it should be turn the torso (shoulders, sternum, ribs, waist...).
  • The spine is a neutral seeking mechanism due to the compression and tension inherently built in. 
  • Working toward a neutral spine is working to uncover the obstructions that already exist. 
  • There is evidence of wear and tear on the spine as young as 20 years old(!)
  • Restriction in the thoracic spin is there to protect our heart and prevent us from ripping our organs apart. 
  • Roll down the posterior spine, roll up the anterior spine. 
 As I review my notes, more is sinking in.  There was a lot of good, practical, information in this session.

Next,  Part 3 - Our Articular Selves:  Limbs of Locomotion and Evolution

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