Advanced Teacher Training
Learn how to describe in greater detail yoga-anatomy. How each posture works anatomically and how to better access those areas to not only practice the postures properly but to avoid injury. Explore how to recognize students with special needs and to address those needs. For Example students with knee issues need to be mindful of certain postures that involve deep knee bends. Especially if the student is over aggressive. The teachers need to monitor these moments.
Knowing how the body works in regards to flexibility for example:
Why be flexible? What are our limitations in achieving flexibility?
• Compared to gaining strength, the yang of our yoga practice, achieving flexibility seems more complicated (That’s because it is!).
What are the limits to our flexibility?
• Connective tissue- (compression or tension)
• Nervous System- (NOT the nerves themselves)
• Biology- shape of joints, orientation/proportion of bones
• Biography-injuries, emotional trauma, lifestyle
Anatomical Limits to Our Flexibility
There are two basic concepts regarding limitations to flexibility; both are important.
Connective tissue limitations: bones, tendons, fascia, etc.
Nervous System limitations: reflexes built into the muscles to protect them
Connective Tissue Limitations
The shape of your joints is largely inherited and yoga doesn’t usually affect the shape of your bones. (Viva la difference)
In yoga we think of stretching our muscles, but the real story is bigger. The connective tissue is the REAL issue. Bone, blood, fat, tendons, ligaments, and fascia are all connective tissues. Some think it would be more aptly named “meridian tissue”.
• Connective tissue is the organizational and scaffolding system of the body
• Our flexibility can be limited by compression of connective tissues (bone on bone), or tension on connective tissues (stretching fascia in a muscle)
• Ground substance: The fluid that bathes, lubricates, and protects our connective tissue. Every muscle and organ in our body is built on the scaffolding of fascia, and enveloped, lubricated, and protected by ground substance.
• When we stretch a muscle we stretch other things that are not connective tissue. Blood vessels, nerves, etc. In general these are not limits to our flexibility.
We often think of yoga as lengthening muscle, but it does not mean just the lengthening of muscle itself. Rather it refers to the lengthening of substances in the muscle. We know that muscle fibers can be stretched to more than twice their length before tearing. So what limits us? Not the muscle tissue but the connective tissue in and near the muscle. Specifically, I am referring to ligaments, tendons, and fascia.
Tendons attach muscle to bone.
• They can stretch 3-4% before they lose their elastic properties. Beyond that, it gives us a hyper-mobile muscle to bone connection, and we don’t want that. This doesn’t mean that tendons will never achieve more than 4% of their initial length, but that at any given point in time, during any specific posture, the tendon should not be asked to stretch more than 4%.
Ligaments connect bone to bone at the joint.
• They can stretch a little more, maybe around 5%. If these stretch too much you can actually destabilize the joint itself. (This is what happens when you injure a knee ligament. The leg bones move too much around each other, and the joint is unstable.)
Fascia is what’s left! (What IS Fascia?)
Fascia is a sacred subject. From the time we are a just two little cells, we have area around our cells that form pathways for energy movement. As we grow in the womb, the flow of electrons, or energy, actually directs an extremely complicated process of folding and unfolding that results in the exact placement of organs, limbs, blood vessels, etc.
These pathways of energy flow eventually become meridians, highways of energy movement throughout the body. This energy flow occurs outside of cells, organs, and muscles, along a special substance called fascia. You can imagine fascia as the foundation of all the tissues of our body. It is coated by a liquid called ground substance, a nearly perfect conductor of electrical impulse. The fascia and ground substance are what we affect so positively in yoga, because in addition to working the fascia in our muscles, we also work the fascia in our internal organs, glands, nerves, and blood vessels.
• In any muscle, about a third of its bulk is made up of fascia. 40% of a muscles restriction to stretching is due to the fascia. However, it can be stretched safely! If muscle is elastic, fascia is plastic. Unlike muscles, which occur in discrete, well-defined bundles of tissue, fascia is continuous throughout the body, connected in long lines along any long axis in the body.
• A snag anywhere along the fascia results in tension in the entire line.
So what happens to our connective tissue when we perform an asana?
• If you are sitting in Janushirasana, the agonist muscles along the front body pull, shorten, and contract to pull your torso over your leg. The antagonist muscles are lengthening, and with them the connective tissue that is knitted throughout the muscle.
• Gradually, with time and repetition, the connective tissue stretches, breaking any cross-links that have formed from disuse, allowing the muscle to lengthen more fully.
Time and repetition are both necessary. The muscle must be gently brought to its maximum stretch
Learning how the Body & Breath works in regards to Asana, Pranayama, Kriya, Bandha and Mudra. To integrate these more advanced concepts in our teaching. Concepts not covered in detail in level I (200 hour) training.