Body of Knowledge™

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Body of Knowledge™ distills and synthesizes the most relevant anatomy and biomechanics knowledge for practicing students and teachers of yoga asana. The class atmosphere is one of experiential playfulness and inquiry. Hands-on, movement-centered learning governs the majority of time you spend studying anatomy and biomechanics in Body of Knowledge™. In order for this knowledge to stick and be applicable, it must be explored in an embodied way.

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Align how you practice and teach with the intelligence of body science.

Zooming Out on Series One : The Scope of What You Will Learn

Anatomy and biomechanics are different branches of body science and knowledge of them both is essential to understanding the body. Anatomy is the study of the names and locations of body structures. Biomechanics is the study of the effect that loads have on the way theses structures adapt or maladapt.

  • Gain an internalized understanding of the major tissues of the knee, hip, spine, shoulders, elbows and wrists – and the function (and possible disfunction) of these structures in practice.
  • Enhance your practice through embodied exploration and posture assessment labs. Each module, you will explore anatomical and biomechanical concepts and their relevancy will be targeted toward several blueprint asanas.
  • Develop scientifically-informed critical thinking skills to clarify movement cues so that how you practice and teach aligns better with the intelligence of body science as well as the unique needs of individual bodies.
  • Gain insight into underlying causes of common injuries and conditions that you or your students suffer from and learn ways to help mitigate and prevent them through movement.

Who Can Take this Series?

This series consolidates, reviews and then goes way beyond anatomy introduced in yoga teacher training. No anatomy or teaching experience is necessary, although I recommend that you have at least a year of dedicated movement practice, like yoga, Pilates, fitness training, martial arts or dance.

How to Take this Series?

Modules can be taken together within the series or ala carte, as your schedule permits. Home study assignments are given as optional work to continue internalizing the concepts you spend learning experientially each module.

Recommended Books

The information in these books will help you to continue to digest and more deeply understand the information imparted in class. If your budget does not permit purchasing them at the time of the workshop series, it should not prevent you from signing up.

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Recommended Books: Kinesiology, Joseph E. Muscolino; Trail Guide to the Body, Andrew Biel; Trail Guide to Movement, Andrew Biel

Optional Homework & Test

In addition to suggested reading, optional homework will be assigned between modules to help you apply knowledge and habituate the critical thinking skills each module imparts.

Additionally, at the end of the series, there will be an optional test that you will be able to take online. This test will serve as a method for you to get perspective on what information you retained and what information you could benefit from continuing to review and understand. Taking the test is optional, like doing the homework and purchasing the books.

Students who complete all of series one will be eligible to take series two. Students who do not complete all of series one will be encouraged to take the test as a means to make sure that current understanding is adequate for progressing to series two.

Certificate of Completion and Continuing Education Credits

Students who complete all of series one will receive a certificate of completion. Each module counts toward 4 continuing education credits for Yoga Alliance.

Zooming In on Series One : Each Module Topic by Topic

Disarticluated Spine 600x400Hard Tissues: The Bony Fit of Your Skeleton

  • Study the body’s hard tissue structure – its bones and bony prominences – through a playful bony landmark scavenger hunt and disarticulated skeleton assembly.
  • Hands-on explore major joint architecture to learn the significance this architecture has in determining joint mobility and stability.
  • Through better attuned senses of sight and touch of the body’s hard tissues, hone postural assessment and hands on adjustment skills in the asanas.
  • Foster key awareness of common joint structure variation across individual’s bodies and lay the groundwork for more skillfully tailoring asanas to meet individual needs.

Soft Tissues: Mobility, Flexibility and the Science of Stretching

  • Explore the key biomechanical concepts of load and tissue adaptation to better understand the ways our body’s tissues – namely our tendons, ligaments and cartilage – change in response to the physical stresses and strains we place upon them.
  • Gain a more scientifically complete understanding of what the terms ‘flexible’ and ‘inflexible’ actually mean as well as the implications hypo and hyper-mobility have for pain and injury.
  • Learn about the challenges an asana practice can present for the soft tissue health of hyper-mobile students, as well as some strategies for helping hyper-mobile students improve strength and stability within the practice.

Hip Joint Vira II 600x400Compression: What You Can’t Feel Can Hurt You

  • Get perspective on possible structural variations of the hip, knee and shoulder joints, and the implications behind these variations with regards to their tendency to become impinged or compressed in the asanas.
  • Apply foundational understanding of osteokinematics (movement of bones at a joint) and arthrokinematics (movement of bony surfaces inside a joint) to understand how certain positional goals in poses can cause compression and impingement in the hip, knee and shoulder.
  • Learn practice and hands-on strategies for avoiding compression in the hip, knee and shoulders.

Muscle Structure Micro to Macro: Key Muscles of the Lower Extremities

  • Gain a beginning understanding of how the micro and macro anatomy of muscle contraction contributes to the wider body systems that govern mobility and stability.
  • Take a closer look at the joint mechanics of the ankle, knee and hip and explore the tissues that contribute t0 them.
  • Experientially tour the key muscles of your legs and hips in a playful practice to embody understanding of their structure and function and its relevance to movement.
  • Strategize more skillful sequencing techniques to better prepare the muscles of the lower extremity for force output (contracting) and allowing joint movement (stretching.)Sliding Filament 600x400

Muscle Function in Movement: Key Muscles of the Upper Extremities

  • Physically explore the 3 different ways muscles contract through playful practices targeting the shoulders and arms.
  • Take a closer look at the major joints, soft tissues and muscles of the shoulders, elbow and wrists.
  • Discuss and think critically about yoga asana, a movement format that predominately asks the body to push rather than pull against its own weight, or external loads and learn some practice strategies for balancing the effort of pushing with pulling.
  • Reconceptualize the asana practice in order to ensure it meets the body’s needs for more diverse loading.
  • Strategize more skillful sequencing techniques to better prepare the muscles of the upper extremities for force output (contracting) and allowing joint movement (stretching.)

Core Rapport: Mobility, Stability and Breath

  • Explore the force of breath to learn its influence on the tissues of the core, and conversely, the tissues of the core’s influence on the mechanics of breath.
  • Take a closer look at the major joints, soft tissues and muscles that move the torso including the spine and rib cage.
  • Participate in a creative, novel practice to explore spinal mechanics and map the muscles of your torso.
  • Practice postural assessment skills to better understand the sophisticated and often misinterpreted concept of core stability in movement.