Archive | Anatomy

Leslie Kaminoff Addresses NY Times Piece

I love this guy – Leslie Kaminoff. Very knowledgable and funny. I met him in May at the Yoga Journal conference in New York City. I hope to study more with him. He runs The Breathing Project and also written a great book on Yoga Anatomy and teaching anatomy to yoga students through his Yoga Anatomy web site.

Here’s a video – his “2 Cents About How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.”

Yoga, Sex and Orgasms (for Men Especially)

A provocative headline on a popular news blog, Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast.

Are Yogasms Real?

Touch is an integral and important aspect in teaching yoga but the intent behind the touch is what is most important and needs special caution. The purpose of touching a student is threefold:

  1. for bringing awareness to a part of the body or
  2. to support the body in a pose or
  3. to adjust an alignment.

If the touch feeds the teacher’s ego instead of the student’s practice, then the intention is wrong. And, no matter how subtle, this intention is conveyed and felt. And it’s pernicious because it can undermined so much that is so valuable and helpful about yoga.

So I’m uneasy about this focus, and especially the feeding of the ego teachers in particular.

Yoga brings awareness to the breath and the body. And help people inhabit and feel their body. That is inherently beneficial to sex.

And yes, it has once happened to me.

But what I found most interesting about this piece, and worthwhile if not redeeming, is the coverage of men and yoga and orgasms.

Alan Finger, founder of ISHTA (Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra and Ayurveda) Yoga argues:

that men actually benefit sexually from yoga more than women. “The man starts at a disadvantage because his orgasm is outwards, which makes it briefer and shorter than a woman’s.”…one can experience an intensely meditative (and arguably spiritual) full-body orgasm. “It fills your being rather than just being something that happened in your genital boundary,” explains Finger.

I came to yoga because of a man. After we broke up, I missed his emotional strength. I discerned he gleaned that strength from his daily yoga practice. I had already been a dancer, so I took a few classes with him and I was interested, but not won over. Until I missed those certain qualities about him. so I walked into a local class here in DC. And thusly, another love affair began.

Comments? What do you think of this sort of coverage? Are you comfortable with touch in teaching yoga?

On Balance

Yoga Journal features his terrific article on balance and balancing postures, called Plumb Perfect. I highly recommend the piece.

I met the author, Roger Cole, during my restorative training class. He is very knowledgeable and presents information clearly.

When we balance, we align our body’s center of gravity with the earth’s gravitational field. Quite literally, we place ourselves in physical equilibrium with a fundamental force of nature. But we can’t achieve this harmony by remaining absolutely still. Instead, we must refresh our balance moment after moment. The sustained effort to center and recenter, when successful, brings not only our flesh and bones into balance but also our nerve impulses, thoughts, emotions, and very consciousness. Hence, we feel calm. Equilibrium brings equanimity.

I’ve heard balance described as a dance with gravity – a dance which requires responsiveness and sensitivity to your partner.

He breaks down the success of balancing into three components

  1. Alignment
  2. Strength
  3. Attention

It’s worth the time to read the full piece.

A Women’s Book of Yoga – Book Review

Women’s Book of Yoga by Linda Sparrowe and Patricia Walden

This resource is newly available and invaluable. Sparrowe is a former editor of Yoga Journal and Walden is a long time Iyengar teacher; their experience and knowledge, generously conveyed, is this book’s best feature. There are others.

The picture quality clearly shows the poses, with attendant props. Even new yoginis can recreate the set ups and glean benefits. I also like how the chapters are organized.

Various body challenges are loosely categorized into different periods in a woman’s life. Chapters address subjects such as eating disorders, back pain, immune support and headaches. Each opens with a general discussion of basic biological and anatomically background to inform your personal practice and then a series of poses are proposed. A good index can direct you to a specific pose.

Tips offered very adequately address common problems. And one of the best restorative yoga gurus in the US Judith Hanson Lasater penned the foreword. (Judith Lasater trained me to teach restorative yoga)

Find Out More to Purchase

Your Back – the Upper West Side of the Body

Before Olmstead ever laid out Central Park and created an East Side and a West Side in Manhattan, an east side and west side divided the human body. The east side in yoga is the entire front of the body. The west side is the entire back of the body. These designations presume that you meet the rising sun and face east. The sun sets in the west, on your back.

In yoga, you always look forward to the new day.

Note that even the word “back” is a flexible word. In English the word “back” can act as a –

Noun: backbone; turn your back; on your back; back of the crowd
Verb: Back up; back your allegation; backed by supporters
Adjective: back draft; back pack; fullback
Adverb: stay back; roll back; sit back

Just as in language, the back of the body is often taken for granted though it’s very versatile.
Also never really seen, the back is essential. The central nervous system is central to all the systems of the body. The spinal cord carries messages through out the body and is protected by the vertebrae of the back. Further, the back comprises the largest and most dense area of muscle in the body. A healthy back is a vital part of vitality and yoga increases muscular strength and flexibility of your upper west side.

Seated forward bend is a basic pose in yoga. Health clubs commonly use this posture to evaluate flexibility. In yoga, seated forward bend is called Paschimottanasana, which translates as intense west side stretch pose:

paschima = west;

ottana (uttana) = intense stretch;

asana = pose

Properly done, the entire west side of the body is intensely stretched. Popular activities such as running and lifting weights make us strong but often at the expense of a flexible posterior. Yoga complements and balances the results of these actions.

In sports the fullback is a defensive player. Taking care of your back with yoga is an affirmative defense against illness. A strong and flexible back

  • Ensures the health of your vertebrae,
  • Protects your spinal cord, and
  • Lubricates your central nervous system for the smooth running of your entire body.