“We teach beginning yoga for all fitness levels. Our classes focus on strength, flexibility, and stress relief for all people, not just the super bendy and athletic! If you haven’t exercised in a long time, we can help you get going again on a road to better health."
"We create a fun, safe, and supportive atmosphere without competition. Wherever you are in your journey, there is a place for you in our community. Signing up on-line is easy! There are no monthly commitments and you can take different class times each week.”
- Becca Hewes, Owner
Throughout history, yoga has always adapted to meet the needs of its practitioners — from ascetics in the early days to the people of today. Yoga has evolved, finding applications of yoga practices — both therapeutic and spiritual — that have gone far beyond what the original yogis had ever imagined for the practice.
This therapeutically inspired yoga workshop with Doug Keller honors that evolution with news-you-can-use insights into applications of yoga for your own well-being.
The workshop will cover practical, accessible approaches to common physical challenges tied to modern lifestyle, including pain problems such as sciatica, low back and sacroiliac pain, and neck and shoulder pain. These insights will be incorporated into enjoyable, challenging (and doable) flowing practices of yoga’s fundamental poses — with deeper insights into doing the poses well and beneficially.
What is covered in the workshop will also include self-care techniques of fascial release and marma that you can incorporate into your warmup for practice (or everyday activities) for your feet, wrists, low back and hips, and more.
The ‘sankalpa’ or intention of the weekend is that you leave refreshed, renewed and inspired with practical tools to meet the new year, and a deep appreciation of yoga!
This practice will explore the experience of the ‘Core’ in asana. Though the idea of a strong ‘core’ has been popular for some time now, too often it focuses simply on abdominal and spinal stability (and in yoga, on the ‘bandhas’ alone), in isolation from the role of the arms and legs. In this practice, we will play with asana and vinyasa as functional movement, with the arms and legs incorporated into the integrity of the ‘core.’
This is something that can be experienced, enjoyed and benefitted from at nearly any level of ability: the ‘core’ is not reserved for the realms of ‘fitness’ alone!
Traditional approaches to therapeutic applications of yoga have focused on the ‘Koshas’ or ‘Sheaths’ of energy — from the gross, physical layers or ‘Annamaya’ Kosha to subtler layers expressing the energy and influence of breath, thought and spiritual insight. These layers were described functionally — and the more deeply we come to understand the functions of fascia, the more deeply a practical correlation between fascia and the Koshas — especially as fascia indeed works in subtler and subtler layers that influence every level of our being. The fascia of the low back provides a concrete example of this. In last year’s workshop, we focused 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.
This year, we will build upon that, looking 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, which will be the focus of Friday afternoon’s session — with applications in all classes of asana. We will be reinforcing and building upon what was covered last year, expanding our understanding of low back health through 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.
These and related pain problems can be handled through simple yoga routines that recognize and respect our own individual structure and movement patterns; and in our practice we will emphasize actions that are important for overcoming and/or preventing such pain patterns.
The afternoon will be a combination of lecture, experiential exploration of these ideas, and some asana.
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.
These are more than simply physical actions: the subtle and empowering energies of Prana and Apana Vayu — receiving and drawing in, balanced with letting go and expanding — can play a profound role in going deeper into these actions, especially when joined to the breath. We will focus 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 your practice even when there are gaps in your opportunities for practice. These practical actions will be threaded together through the theme of receiving, centering and expanding — Prana and Apana.
The evening will finish with meditation and relaxation based upon a contemplation of these two energies, discovered through breath and body.
This asana practice session will include special attention to — and self-care techniques for the fascial health of — the knees. The knees often suffer from disputes between the hips and feet, as well as body-wide postural habits that yoga can help us overcome.
The morning practice will be an opportunity to explore a range of poses, with attention to how the actions and limitations of the hips and feet influence the health of the knees, and to explore the different possibilities for approaches to practice that keep the knees as well as the hips and feet happy!
The idea of the ‘Koshas’ has become standard in approaches to yoga and yoga therapy — and although it wasn’t referred to in hatha yoga texts until the 17th century, it has been adopted and used more and more because of its usefulness for exploring our experience. We’ll trace the history of the idea back to the Upanishads and how it has appeared in various ways, and their relevance for our own practice and understanding the levels of self-care available to us through yoga.
And yet while the ideas of the Koshas have increasingly been used to describe the levels of experience in yoga, something is yet lacking: positive empowerment. The ideas more regularly emphasized by the hatha yogis to empower us through the practices have been the ideas of the ‘Vayus.’
When we put the two sets of ideas together, they give us not just a road map, but directions for taking us deeper. The ideas of the Vayus especially are quite practical in connection with pranayama, and we will explore these ideas experientially as a guide to the inner territory of spiritual experience — from pranayama through deep relaxation (yoga nidra) and meditation.