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Practicing With Injuries

Practicing with injuries
Yoga’s enhancement of balance and flexibility helps decrease the chance of
various injuries. And there is good evidence that yoga strengthens the immune
system, helping to protect us from disease. But every active person is occasionally
bound to strain, break or wear-out something or fall victim to minor or serious
illness. And we do so to a degree that makes us first think that our yoga practice
is out of reach or provides some mental excuse for neglecting our daily yoga
routines.
But maybe we should consider such infirmities as opportunities for deeper
practice. From this perspective, injury and illness can be a blessing in disguise,
allowing the increased awareness of your body gained through yoga to be used to
send relaxation and metabolic balance to all affected areas and to allow full and
free functioning of the powerful healing functions that the body is constantly
generating. Until you die, so many more things are going right in your body than
are going wrong and that regenerative energy, enhanced by asana and breathing
routines, can assist and accelerate both physical and mental recovery.
The secret is just first to make it to your mat and then approach everything slowly
and mindfully. More than ever, this kind of practice is not a competition, with
others or yourself. Use asanas and your breath to cautiously (and perhaps
repeatedly) examine the problem areas and investigate how your yoga motions
and bodily attention might assist the natural healing functions. You might be
surprised by what you find!
If you let them know you have an issue, the Inside/Out instructors are always glad
to suggest alternatives to your normal routines. And remember, no matter what
the issue, 10 minutes of vinyasa, alone or in a class, is always a good thing!
Kerry Wilson 6.21.22

How About The “Simple” Cross-legged Pose?

Fellow pilgrims: How about the “simple” cross-legged pose? If you want to sit comfortably for extended periods, perhaps to work on your pranayama techniques or to practice any of the many forms of meditation, you are faced with the question of what to do with your body. Lying on your back or stomach may work, but there is a tendency to fall asleep. Standing has some merit, but you’ll soon find that takes a lot of energy and is hard to hold for a long time. Alternatively, “sitting” has been the choice of many meditators down through the ages, allowing both comfort and extended awareness. This may be performed on a comfy chair or bed (apparently, the Dalai Lama prefers the latter, with lots of pillows), but many serious meditators have chosen variations of padmasana, the “Lotus Pose”. For many reasons, including injury and inflexibility, strict padmasana (with both feet on top of opposite thighs) is not available comfortably to most persons who have sat in chairs all their lives. However, the simpler variation, sometimes called sukhasana, or “easy posture”, is available to almost everyone.

 

Fundamentally, sukhasana is a balance pose. Like all balance poses, the keys are alignment, strength and attention. Comfortable alignment starts with placing the weight of your upper body on top of the ischial tuberosities, the prominent, rounded portion of bone that forms the lower and back parts of the pelvis. To sit upright on these parts means, for most people, tilting the top of the pelvis forward to maintain the natural, multi-curvature of your spine rather than a single C-shaped curve (flexion). You want look like a toddler first sitting up (butt jutting backward) rather than an old witch hunching over! Again, for most people, it is essential that your knees and upper thighs are lower than your hips with the knees also touching the floor or an appropriate cushion. This often means sitting on another cushion to elevate the hips. Once stacked properly, the body is stable like a triangle, the spine is in a congenial position and, most importantly, the other muscles forming your core do not have to work so hard, thus allowing you to maintain this position, comfortably, for a longer period. Don’t misunderstand. Those core muscles will still be working and you’ll find a strengthened core makes sitting much easier. Keep doing those planks!

 

Once fundamentally aligned, you can work on your balance. Pay close attention to find your most effortless balance. The top of the bowling ball called your head might feel like it’s light and pulling your spine upward. Where best do your shoulders fall to release tension in your neck? Where do your hands feel most comfortable? Once you find better balance, can you maintain your attention so that you maintain a most unworried position? Maybe focus on a spot two fingertips south of your navel. Feel your spine solidly sinking into those tuberosities and the cushion and earth below you. After a while, you might find sukhasana most akin to mountain pose or tree pose. There are magic spots of balance.

 

One important side note: Most meditators are seeking stillness, quiet, best to hear God, feel the love flow, manifest inter-being with self or others, experience not just imagine non-attachment, or simply to pray and/or lessen the “fluctuations of the mind.” But if you try to stay perfectly still, you soon notice that there is this large muscle, your diaphragm, constantly moving up and down in your body, changing the shape of your spine, chest and abdomen, and thus affecting your balance. If you try to stop that movement, you’ll soon suffocate or at least feel a lot of tension generated by this natural movement and your goal of stillness. Incorporating this breathing into the alignment, strength and attention you train with sukhasana is worthy of much practice and may be the greatest gift you can give your spiritual self. 

 

Why Do Asana?

Hello, yogis, and welcome to the first of many questions. I raise these questions not to provoke doubt about your postural yoga practice, but rather to strengthen your personal resolve based on answers well thought through. You might call them “yogic koans” — questions that you should face and either answer with your entire being, or just thoroughly drop as you reach for your second glass of wine.

Today’s question is “Why do asanas?” Asanas are of course the bodily poses and postures we perform in class and in private, whether they be warrior poses, forward bends, seated twists or others of hundreds which have now become popular. We know by now that nearly all these poses are essentially inventions of the twentieth century, first created in Mysore, India by Krishnamacharya during the 1920’s and 1930’s, and then sown, grown and magnificently fertilized by his students (like B.K.S. Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar, Pattabhi Jois and Indra Devi). And then by hundreds of teachers residing mostly in California. I say this not flippantly, nor to minimize postural practice, but to make sure you don’t think that half-moon pose, for instance, has been practiced for 4,000 years. (The seated meditation poses (asana means “seat”) are of course another story.) Because asana practice is not ancient, however, does not mean that it is less important or effective. In fact, you might decide that its modernity and rapid international spread means that it has been proven and much improved over the last 100 years.

Does asana practice make you healthier? It would seem to and there is good evidence thereof. But so does playing basketball and intelligently lifting weights.

Does asana practice, particularly a more aerobic vinyasa routine, make you happier? Lots of evidence for this, though any good exercise program seems to do the same.

Why is assuming and maybe holding a seated twist, like Lord of the Fishes, beneficial? Does it touch and activate some spot in your body that has a particular healing power? 

Does returning to the same posture each day, the same arrangement of bone and muscle, whatever it may be, provide some more effective way for you to check-in with yourself or test your bodily health or demeanor?

Is asana practice, as some teacher once said, simply a beneficial method of learning how to breathe in difficult positions?

Do certain postures make you taller, more flexible, expand your range of motion or just make you temporarily feel taller, more flexible with a greater range of motion?

Is it some magical shape in space, some cosmic configuration of human angle, that melds you physically with Love, the Universe or maybe God in some special way?

Most importantly perhaps, does your posture practice promote what the Patanjali aphorisms long ago stated was the goal of yoga, that is “the calming of the fluctuations of the mind”?

Questions, questions, questions! Come join us for more at Inside/Out!

Kerry Wilson 1.27.22

1) If you have any doubt about this history (and there are many subtleties to the story), read Mark Singleton’s revelatory work “The Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice” (2010).

Events

Living Health with Lee Albert

Do you want to make informed decisions about  your health and happiness?

Do you want to have less stress and more peace and calm in your life?
Do you want to know why you can’t sleep at night and how to rectify that?
Do want to live with less pain and stiffness?
Do you want to be be able to enjoy your favorite activities even as you age?
Do you want to know the secret to happiness?
Of course you do!
Your body’s ability to heal is far greater than anyone has permitted you to believe. Your birthright is to be happy and joyful most
of the time. In this workshop Lee Albert will combine the best of ancient techniques with the best of modern techniques. The
workshop suggestions are all backed by numerous scientific studies. This workshop will teach you to take charge of your
biology so you can stay active, healthy and happy….and best of all the suggestions won’t take a lot of time. Just a small
commitment starts to bring forth the results.
In this workshop you will learn a 5 step program that will help you have:
• Less pain in your body
• Less stress and anxiety
• Better, restful sleep
• Reduced risk of chronic diseases
• Better quality of life
• More energy
• Reduced inflammation
• A better functioning immune system
• Stronger bones and muscles
• A healthier brain and improved memory
• More happiness and joy
• Better control of your weight
This class is suitable for everyone who wants to learn a Master Plan to meet their individual needs -physically, mentally,
emotionally and spiritually. All it takes is the knowledge that will propel you one action step at a time.
Cost: $95

Lee Albert, NMT is a national presenter and popular Neuromuscular Therapist and yoga
instructor at Kripalu Center. Dedicated to helping people help themselves, Lee created,
practices and teaches Integrated Positional Therapy (IPT), -protocols to reduce and
often eliminate chronic pain. He is the author of the Amazon best seller "Live Pain
Free: Eliminate Chronic Pain without Drugs or Surgery” and the gold award winner
in health/fitness for 2018 "Yoga for Pain Relief : A New Approach to an Ancient
Practice."
As a pain specialist, Lee is the host of the PBS special “3 Steps to Pain Free Living”
and his new show “Joyful Pain Free Living” to be released in 2021.
Lee is trained in neuromuscular therapy, orthopedic massage, positional therapy, yoga
therapy and myofascial release and has conducted seminars with thousands of people
from all over the world. People from every walk of life have learned from Lee how to live
a pain free life.

BEND and BREATHE into BLISS

TEACHER: Kathryn

LIMITED TO: 10 students

DESCRIPTION
This class will include an all levels physical yoga practice, an introductory session of pranayama (breathing techniques), and a guided meditation. Our meditation can be practiced seated on the floor or in a chair to allow a comfortable seat for all participants. We bend to center the body; we breathe to calm the mind; and we meditate to find a peaceful state of bliss. Then we experience Yoga.

Crystal Bowl Sound Bath with Buffy

Join Cosmic Sound Healer, Buffy La Roux as she facilitates a high vibratory journey of Sound through time and space. During this deeply meditative and transformative experience, Buffy guides us inward through a sound bath of deeply shifting vocal toning, singing, frequencies and quartz crystal singing bowls. Each Crystal Sound Bath is a unique symphony and a dance of the collective energies present for the Well Being of All and the Amplification of Love.
Buffy La Roux is an Intuitive Empathic Healer/Channel of Divine Light, Energetic Hacker, Cosmic Shamanaut, Cosmic Sound Healer, Ordained Minister of the Light (Pnematikoi), Reiki Master/Teacher, Licensed Massage Therapist MA80893 and all around goofy, lovable eclectic human. Buffy’s journey of energetic awareness began as a child, but kicked into high gear in 2007 with an abrupt awakening, a sort of rapid fire spiritual boot camp that drastically shifted her perception of “reality”. Through her own healing journey and extensive hours spent in the service of helping others she is a powerful conduit for the updated paradigm of consciousness and awakening energies. Spirit works through Buffy in the form of singing and speaking in multiple celestial languages. This one of a kind experience deletes programming, density in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies, activates ancient dormant DNA and moves participants into the expansive state of clarity, growth and purpose.