Body of Knowledge™
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.
Body of Knowledge™ comprises the following 2 comprehensive series
Whole Embodiment includes the following modules:
- Hard Tissues: The Bony Fit of Your Joints
- Soft TIssues: Flexibility, Hyper-mobility and Stretching
- Joint Compression: What You Can’t Feel Can Hurt You
- Hip Musculature: Muscle Attachments and Line of Pull
- Shoulder Musculature: Ways Muscles Contract
- Core Rapport: Mobility, Stability and Breath
Joint Play includes the following modules:
- Feet, Ankles and Knees
- Hips and Knees
- Hips and SI Joint
- The Thoracolumbar Spine
- The Shoulders and Neck
- The Shoulders, Elbows and Wrists
Modules are between 3-4 hours in length and can be taken a la carte or as a part of the whole series. Dip your toes into the topic that most excites or interests you or deep dive into the whole series. Each module is complete in and of itself and no background knowledge of anatomy is necessary. When modules are taken together, knowledge compiles with each previous module setting the stage for a deeper, richer understanding of the the next. You will spend the majority of time applying concepts experientially. Optional home study aids provided.
About Whole Embodiment
Anatomy is the study of the names and locations of bodily structures. Biomechanics is the study of the effect that forces, like mechanical stress, have on the ways our structures adapt or maladapt. Knowledge of both anatomy and biomechanics is essential for understanding the effects that movement practices like yoga have on our tissues. The Whole Embodiment series will empower you with a foundational understanding of key anatomical structures, clarify sophisticated biomechanical concepts, and help you gain an inspired understanding of your whole body’s co-ordered intelligence.
- Explore anatomical structures and biomechanical concepts through practice and hands-on engagement.
- Develop scientifically-informed critical thinking skills to make smart movement choices for your body and work more skillfully with your students in both private and group class settings.
- Position yourself as an anatomically-informed teacher to grow your client base and attract students who are seeking your help in better understanding and addressing their specific injuries.
This series covers and then goes beyond anatomy introduced in yoga teacher training. No anatomy or teaching experience is necessary.
Whole Embodiment module by module
Module 1 – Hard Tissues: The Bony Fit of Your Joints
- 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.
Module 2 – Soft Tissues: Flexibility, Hyper-mobility and 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.
Module 3 – Compression: What You Can’t Feel Can Hurt You
- Learn about structural variations, or, the inherent differences in bony architecture that makes every body unique. Learn why structural variation matters as a movement teacher or student who takes group classes, specifically when approaches to teaching fail to account for these variations risking impingement and compression of soft tissues.
- Get a 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.
Module 4 – Hip Musculature: Muscle Attachments & Line of Pull
- Learn the major muscles of your hips, their attachments, and actions at the joint. Then experientially tour the key muscles of your hips in a playful practice to embody this understanding.
- Gain understanding of how the micro and macro anatomy of muscle contraction contributes to the wider body systems that govern mobility and stability.
Module 5 – Muscle Function: 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.
- Strategize more skillful sequencing techniques to better prepare the muscles of the upper extremities for force output (contracting) and allowing joint movement (stretching.)
Module 6 – 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.
About Joint Play
While nothing in the body is separate from anything else, when seeking to understand the whole, it’s helpful to look at the parts. Joint Play helps you do just this by putting each of the body’s joints into a ‘petrie dish’ to zoom in on the major structures involved and how they coordinate to allow movement.
Joint Play module by module:
- Module 1: Feet, Ankles and Knees
- Module 2: Hips and Knees
- Module 3: Hips and SI Joint
- Module 4: The Thoracolumbar Spine
- Module 5: The Shoulders and Neck
- Module 6: The Shoulders, Elbows and Wrists
Systematically explore each group of joints to sharpen your understanding of how each plays an important role in movement. You will be guided through the following explorations:
- Explore the joints predominate structures and surrounding tissues through diverse modes of engagement like movement and palpation.
- Learn the joint’s major muscles of influence and ways to strengthen and stretch them.
- Gain awareness of the most common musculoskeletal injuries affecting the joint and best practices for managing, preventing or alleviating these injuries in yoga.
- Learn common structural variations of the joint, and how these variations might affect a student’s approach to common asanas.
- Discover the ‘why’ behind optimal position strategies for this joint in asanas.
- Apply the wisdom of biomechanics to understand how the joint is commonly over or underloaded, and explore fun, novel movement experiences to vary the load and diversify ‘load nutrients’ to the tissues.
Who Can Take the Body of Knowledge Series?
Body of Knowledge consolidates, reviews and then goes way beyond anatomy introduced in yoga teacher training. No anatomy or teaching experience is necessary, although having a dedicated movement practice, like yoga, Pilates, fitness training, martial arts or dance is helpful.
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.
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.
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.
Certificate of Completion and Continuing Education Credits
Students who complete each series will receive a certificate of completion. Each module counts toward 4 continuing education credits for Yoga Alliance.