Friday, February 17, 2006

Tenth Class

[Most of the class was a combination of visuals and related discussion, so my notes are pretty thin.]

Readings from Job’s Body, by Deane Juhan, and The Alexander Technique, by John Gray.

Be aware of tensions – a skeleton wouldn’t hold together without the tensions and connections created by soft tissue.

Bodies – bones, muscles, and all – adapt to form and posture. Don’t expect an adjustment to feel right the first time. The body will accommodate stresses, whether the stresses come from proper alignment or not.

Get students into an aligned position a few times, and they’ll remember it from long ago when they were more flexible.

Start with small adjustments in the right direction, and that will open the doorway to further changes down the road.

The most work is done by the largest muscles, and the largest muscles connect to the largest bones – the pelvis, the femurs, the spine. From that core of large muscles, both muscles and bone extend out, getting increasingly smaller, enabling finer movements.

Yoga aims to create efficient body structure. Erosion of bone can happen through life, but so, too, can bone growth happen.

Bones only go where muscles pull them. Muscles pull in response to nerve signals.

In postures, seek to minimize muscle effort. One muscle relaxes when its opposite pulls.

Yoga seeks to make life a conscious habit, rather than an unconscious one.

A pose shouldn’t start at the “end point” and work back. There is no end point. Try stepping back from the end, and work alignment in safer, less extended positions.
Get the alignment right first. Extension can come later. Convey that to students.

Congenital body structure issues exist. So, too, do age issues, and lots of injury issues. But that needn’t be the end of the thinking. Don’t agree with your students’ belief that it will just get worse over time. Some conditions can be overcome, others managed.

Bones can be affected by movement and positioning – to erosion of bone tissue or the growth of new bone tissue. Stress and resistance strengthen bones. Stress to any tissues makes them stronger. Going to the edge increases stress and development.

Books to consider: Anatomy of Movement and Anatomy of Hatha Yoga.

Consider opposing muscle groups in working or adjusting a pose. Usually, one set of muscles needs to relax so the other can flex.

Work each pose meticulously – holding it for from several minutes to an hour. Notice which muscles work at the beginning of the pose. Notice which muscles become involved as the initial ones become exhausted.