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


Grace Caird said...

Hey Kristin,

So good to read this. Sounds like you learned a lot. I am currently in Brisbane, Australia and am thinking about attending a two day Leslie Kaminoff workshop. Would you recommend it??


Kristin said...

My apologies for the slow reply, I have been remiss in checking for comments. You've probably already made up your mind whether to go or not...

But, in case someone else is thinking if this might be worthwhile, there were aspects I enjoyed in Mr. Kaminoff's class (all the anatomy), and aspects that I struggled with (his personality and teaching style).

If you're interested in more anatomy, I would say go. If you can take one thing from each days lesson, then the workshop is worthwhile.