Friday, March 25, 2011

Yoga And Anatomy

The most amazing Dr. Robert Baker, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, enlightened students of Bamboomoves with his knowledge of the human body. Dr. Robert is a student at Bamboomoves, and has displayed a tremendous love for the practice of yoga, and was not at all timid to admit how many osteopathic injuries are results of poor yoga practice. What is a poor yoga practice? Perhaps, a practice that is driven by the ego, that is determined to get into the poses without any mindfullness to the concept of breathing into the pose. A practice, that pushes and grunts into poses, without the effortless mind-body-spirit connection that is found from floating with pranayama.

The main pose that is the culprit in question, is the beloved Headstand, Sirsasana. While Headstand is the King of Poses, and a wonderful way to decompress the spine, when we kick up to a wall, we risk injuring our cervical spine, which is a fact that many yoga teachers, unfortunately tend to overlook. Originally the headstand is meant to use "Uddiyana Bandha" the abdominal lock, and gracefully float up. Here in the west there is a obsession with just getting up, and while it is wonderful to get up in headstand, 8 months later when you are visiting the chiropractor you may have a different opinion. In my case, when I go up into headstand I tend to feel dizzy, nauseous, and pain on my skull, which was the result after a car accident/head trauma that I was in, this was not always the case in my life. Thus, I have tended to avoid the pose, because in order for me to get closer to God in my practice, I don't think I need to feel uncomfortable in the process. This was a topic of controversy for some NYC Yogis, and I just let it go, because I knew I had to listen to my body. Dr. Robert confirmed my suspicions and observation, and noted that my skull is actually in need of cranial sacral therapy, to realign my skull. WOW!

Special note to all yoga teachers, every student has a unique body, and body history, it is important for us to never assume that every pose can be done by each student. We must respect the practice itself, and teach to the needs of the student. While it is great to inspire progress in the practice, make sure it is done in a safe way. It is also important to respect pranayama and anatomy of the body to ensure proper alignment in poses.

Dr. Robert further analyzed other poses, and the anatomical benefits and contradictions. Myself and students were very blessed to learn from this wonderful expert and fellow student. He took time to do some spinal therapy on all who were in attendance. Thank you Dr Robert Baker for your wisdom and precious time!

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