The Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga
The training will be a news-you-can-use approach to asana for the health and well-being of the sacroiliac joint, low back, knees, shoulders and neck — the whole body from head to toe in an integrated approach that incorporates insights into our fascial understanding of health combined with deep insights from the long tradition of yoga!
All meals are optional and are $25 each if you’d like to participate.
The Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga
- Date: Friday 26th July, 2019 from 4:00 PM until Sunday 28th July, 2019 at 5:00 PM
- Location: Abhaya Yoga Gowanus
Doug Keller’s background reflects a lifelong commitment to the vast field of yoga. After receiving degrees in philosophy from Georgetown and Fordham University and teaching philosophy at a college level, he pursued a practical experience of yoga at the ashram Gurudev Siddha Peeth in India — which in turn also led him to the practice of hatha yoga as part of his overall experience of yoga. From years of study, practice and teaching, he has produced widely used and highly respected books on asana, yoga as therapy, pranayama and yoga philosophy, and he teaches hatha yoga workshops and trainings in both North America and Europe. He was a regular columnist for Yoga International Magazine for three years, and has also written on therapeutic topics for Yoga Journal. His popularity as a teacher comes from his ability to deepen people’s experience of yoga through clear, simple and direct instructions that are easy to practice and remember. And he does it with lightness and light.
4pm: Arrival / Snack
5-6:30: The Evolution of ‘Prana’ and its Relationship to our understanding of Fascia: Key Therapeutic Insights for the Modern Yoga Teacher — an Introduction
8-9: Yoga Nidra and Guided Meditation
9am — 11:30: The Lower Body: Sacroiliac, Low Back and Neck Health: Working with the Layers or ‘Koshas’ of Feeling in the Fascia of the Spine — With Implications and Applications in the Teaching of Asana
11:45 — 1:15: Applications in Asana Practice
2:30-5:30: The Lower Body: From the Feet to the Knees and Hips (more details below)
9am — 11:30: From Hands to Heart: Spiraling into Shoulder Health through the Arms — with attention to the health of the wrists and elbows, and their impact on shoulder opening (more details below)
11:45 — 1:15: Applications in Asana Practice
2:30-4:45: The Upper Body: Upper Back and Neck, and Their Effect Upon Shoulder Health (more details below)
Saturday, 9-11:30: The Lower Body: Sacroiliac, Low Back and Neck Health: Working with the Layers or ‘Koshas’ of Feeling in the Fascia of the Spine — With Implications and Applications in the Teaching of Asana Traditional approaches to therapeutic applications of yoga have focused on the ‘Koshas’ or ‘Sheaths’ of energy. These layers were described functionally — and the more deeply we come to understand the functions of fascia, the more deeply a practical correlation can be drawn between fascia and the Koshas. The fascia of the low back provides a concrete example of this. Beginning with a focus on the influence of the deepest muscles of the spine — the multifidi — which influence the movements of the sacrum, and are a central factor in sacroiliac and low back pain, we will expand to look at the sheaths of fascia and muscles nested within them that profoundly influence low back health. At this point, research into low back pain is looking beyond trying to isolate factors in low back pain, such as individual muscles, and instead to the thoracolumbar fascia as a matrix of interrelated layers. This has very concrete and practical implications for our understanding of asana and the dynamics of asana. This will include not just the health of the lumbar spine and sacroiliac joints, but will also include an exploration of sciatic pain, which radiates from the gluteals down through the leg and sometimes into the foot. It is one of our most ancient pain problems, appearing even in the literature of the Greeks, and is as prevalent today as low back pain.
Saturday, 2:30-5:30: The Lower Body: From the Feet to the Knees and Hips Knee health and knee problems is an especially important topic for active (and previously active) people, and yoga practice poses its own challenges and cautions. And knee health usually includes all of the major considerations of the lower body: the feet and health of the arches, including challenges such as bunions; plantar fasciitis, hamstring and quadriceps tightness or imbalance, the IT band and imbalances in the many muscles surrounding the hips, including the gluteals. The feet provide the foundation; and the actions of the feet profoundly affect the 3-dimensional movement of the knees as well as the hips. We’ll begin with the feet, and the fundamental actions for maintaining the integrity and stability of the feet as a foundation — and how this is applied in the many different forms of poses in yoga. From there we’ll expand into assessment principles for the knees and knee problems, awareness of the most common kinds of knee problems and injuries, and principles for safe and helpful practice in yoga poses that will improve the condition of not only the knees, but the feet and hips as well. This will also include introduction to self-care techniques relating the traditional marma system of Ayurveda with contemporary fascial understanding — which can be incorporated simply into practice, especially for people experiencing joint issues, neuropathy (numbness) and other common problems — for the knees, as well as for the hips and feet.
Sunday, 9-11:30:From Hands to Heart: Spiraling into Shoulder Health through the Arms — with attention to the health of the wrists and elbows, and their impact on shoulder opening Shoulder work in asana practice, with refined actions that spiral from the hands deep into the shoulders and heart, helps us to keep the shoulder joints aligned and free from damage and irritation, while maintaining the space of the upper body. Just as the feet, with the actions maintaining their arches, support the health of the knees and hips, our hands likewise have arches — and actions practiced to maintain the health of the wrists will also support the health of the elbows and shoulders, facilitating the opening of the shoulders while protecting the health of the rotator cuffs. Shoulder ‘opening’ is usually treated through stretches emphasizing external rotation of the arms, and moreover they focus on the action of the arms at the shoulder joint itself. But practice of both internal as well as external rotation is vital for freedom in the shoulders, and these rotations can be practiced more organically as ‘spirals’ which flow from the hands and wrists up to the shoulders. We will cover the most common forms of movement problems, injuries (rotator cuff, cartilage and ligament injury) and pain syndromes involving the shoulders, elbows and wrists together, and will work with exercises and asanas for improving the ‘spirals’ by which we achieve greater freedom of movement, support healing from injury, and freedom from pain. This will include self-care techniques based in Marma, which will be a complement to the focused practice of variations in arm and shoulder actions that can be introduced into yoga poses, as well as remedial exercises for improving shoulder health. Pain assessment as well as principles for working with different levels of pain and injury will be included, especially with regard to rotator cuff injuries and related limitations and pain problems arising from the AC joint and collar bone restrictions. The emphasis is on simple actions that can be applied in the poses, as well as self-care exercises related to marma that can be incorporated into your practice, and used to maintain the benefits of practice.
Sunday, 2:30-4:45: The Upper Body: Upper Back and Neck, and Their Effect Upon Shoulder Health Neck and head alignment — and our own subtle habits in using our neck — have a great impact upon the health of our upper back and shoulders, and are the root of a great deal of our upper body pain. This includes jaw alignment and tension, as well as tension arising from postural shifts beginning in the lower body. Yoga has plenty of principles for the head and neck, including bandha and mudra, that are related to the breath as well as asana, and which can be applied simply and effectively to address upper body pain problems, including neck stiffness and headache pain as well as breathing and functional disorders that affect our everyday health, including sleep. Self-care techniques of marma will be especially helpful for neck, jaw, facial and shoulder pain, and applications will be covered in pranayama and relaxation techniques as well as asana.