Friday, August 14, 2015

Leslie Kaminoff Workshop Part 3: Our Articular Selves: Limbs of Locomotion and Evolution

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 three of the workshop.

On Wednesday of the workshop we started with our feet.  I finally got a better explanation of the difference between tadasana and samasthti - more so than just mountain pose and pose of equal balance with hands at namaste.

Tadasana (mountain pose) - with feet together, hands beside hips
Samasthti (equal balance) - feet apart (hip width or rooted under the sit-bones), hands at heart or hands at hips.

Though, in all honesty,  I think the definition remains variable depending on who the original instructor was.  In this case, it was Krishnamacharya to Desikachar to Leslie.  Doesn't get closer to the source than that. 

Wednesday's practice involved identifying the three points of contact at the bottoms of the feet and the lines between them:  the ball of the big toe, the ball of the pinkie toe and the heel.  The lines are the medial arch, the lateral arch and the transverse arch.  These three points and the accompanying lines create a tripod.  It is these three points of contact with which you want to firmly root on the ground in standing asana.

I really enjoyed the feet exercises.  I have maintained for years in my classes that our feet are undervalued and we need to stretch and move our feet as much as possible.  And we did just that with a few very basic exercises that focused on moving between each of those points of contact.

One underlying message was:  We've living in an industrialized world; at some point all of us will have some issues with our feet.  TAKE YOUR FEET OFF ROAD!  Ie, move your feet, go barefoot, go barefoot outside!

Another message:  when your feet start working better, everything above will feel better.  

From our feet we moved up our body to the hips, hands and shoulder girdle, spending the most time at the shoulder girdle and the hands.  This also was interesting, and I'm finding lots of tidbits now that I've had time to reflect upon my notes.

For example, to bear weight on the hands (weight bearing meaning bone to bone) the energy/weight transference must move through:
  • wrists
  • radius and ulna
  • elbow
  • scapula
  • acronium clavicular
  • clavicle
  • sternoclavicular joint
  • sternum
  • to the thorasic spine.  
By comparison, to bear weight on the feet:
  • ankle
  • tibia and fibia
  • knee
  • femur
  • hip
  • SI joint
Remarkable.  Lots of little bones and smaller joints have to support us in our hand balances, compared to the solid foundation up which we already stand. 

The days message again was HEALTHY MOVEMENT IS WELL DISTRIBUTED MOVEMENT.  Use more than just one part of your body to move you into your pose.

Next,  Part 4 -Hands On Assisting Lab

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