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Thread: Incorporating Primal into Yoga? Or just general personalisation. page 3

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by YogaBare View Post
    Where did you do this training? It sounds amazing. I did mine in India, with a really, really Traditional old Tantric. The training was much more philosophical and spiritual than anything else. I do enjoy that aspect obviously, but I appreciate that what the West has brought to Yoga is the enhanced physical conditioning.
    Where I lived at the time. The local yoga teacher was one of 3 yoga teachers in the area. She apprenticed me after I took classes with her for one year, and also the local iyengar teacher helped as well. I apprenticed for 4 years.

    Then I moved, and i went to another local studio, where I apprenticed for another 3 years (which included a hot style), and then after that I just went to several favored teachers in NYC about once a quarter until I left for NZ.

    I do something similar. Do you mean that you incorporate movement into certain postures to ease the transition to the next one?
    I use specific postures to help develop areas of other postures.

    Again, I do something similar. Out of interest, what verbal cues do you use to guide your students through the mental states?
    I usually start just by describing and identifying the states over time. Just saying things like "focus" or "this posture takes concentration" -- people really get these things on their own. It doesn't require much cuing. Sometimes, I describe the process out-right -- usually while people are in a long quiet hold of a posture (say, a 2 minute hold -- since my classes are a vinyasa form).

    Ha! Yeah, for a lot of people the energy thing is "out there". I try to explain in physical terms so that everyone can connect with it. Do you mean energetic levels in terms of the effect certain poses have on prana?
    Yes. It's a very subtle process, feeling that. Most people can feel their hormones first, and that's far more subtle than muscle/bone is. Usually, it goes muscle, weight bearing (shifting weight) which feels a lot like energy movement (and is part of it, really), and then hormones, and then after hormones, you can really 'feel' the more subtle layers. This usually happens around the time that pranayama takes root in the body naturally -- and then I can usually teach it directly.

    Sometimes, I can use marma points on people and they'll 'get' it right away, and I talk about how it's similar to accupuncture (which is mainstream here), so that makes it accessible. But largely? It's about 4-5 years in before people will have access to this particular state of feeling (in my experience anyway). About 1 yr to get basic proprioception, then another 1-2 years after that to get to weight shifts and hormones, and then after that. Yeah.

    That sounds great. In London people tend to want less-talk-more-action, but in my three hour workshops I've started to incorporate more feedback time.
    Well, my descriptions are quick and dirty and repeated. I teach a vinyasa form -- so it's lots of moving between postures. I also use a LOT of silence -- at least half of my class time is silent. THe remaining half is cueing to move into the postures and describing the movement/feeling of the postures. There are ways to get the theory *in* and also have time for silence while still only holding the posture for the correct amount of time (for the timing of my classes).

    Not including repetitions of vinyasas, my "middle of the road" class has 40 poses in 45 minutes -- not including savasana -- so that's the last 5 minutes anyway, 3 of which are in complete silence.

    It is possible to teach theory without crowding the class with noise, slowing the class down, etc. And, I also teach theory class (once a week -- we alternate body part/feeling one week, the next week is philosophy/reflection/discussion with a bit of asana practice), and I teach workshops on a particular area of the body -- but that's just a longer "action" more than a talking thing.


    That's actually an amazing idea. I've just gotten a regular weekly gig at a new yoga studio, so maybe this is something I can suggest to them. Experimental yoga - I like it
    Don't. Just don't. Most studio owners are really invested in How They Do Things. Go on your own and do it. Gather a group of people and go to the local church hall or your house or whatever and do it there. It's for your edification anyway -- as well as your students/clients -- so just be wholly independent.

    You'll also learn how to run it as a business, which is then scalable.

  2. #22
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    Heck, I'm *super invested* in How I Do Things, and I'm not sure I'd be terribly keen on an unsupervised experimental class in my studio. The injuries that could come out of it, the issues that could arise in terms of liability and reputation. . . yeah, I don't think i'd "allow" it.

    I would be willing to provide the space supposing that it was wholly independent of me in every way, but yeah.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by heatseeker View Post
    This discussion of Chaturanga is so interesting and timely--we just had a big discussion among Moksha teachers on our internet board about the cue "now step or jump back to high plank, lower to chaturanga", which is ubiquitous in Western yoga. We as a group don't do it, because a hard landing in plank is awful tweaky on the rotator cuff, and then basically no one takes the time to set up properly for chaturanga, so it ends up tweaking the shoulders even more when they lower down. We only enter plank from down dog, and do a series of cues there to set up for chaturanga. And we encourage newer students to lower the knees down first. I agree that it's a much more advanced posture than it looks, and many people aren't even anatomically able to do it right off the bat, no matter how strong they may be.

    But I don't think I've been to a non-Moksha class in the States or Canada in the past ten years that has not included "step or jump back to plank". One of those utterly pervasive yoga things. I think maybe because it's part of a traditional Sun A?
    THat's great that you guys encourage new students to drop the knees.

    From what I know, the "jump back to plank" began with Pattabi Jois. A lot of the modern styles of yoga that predominate in the West are influenced by the physical conditioning of the Astanga movement.

    Traditional schools don't see yoga as a athletic pursuit, so the more gymnastic aspects of modern yoga are often shunned, (though some have started to incorporate them in response to the west). My teacher was super Traditional though, so he taught us the Sun Salutations the way his grandfather taught him.

    I'm actually re-reading Iyengar's "Light on Yoga" at the moment. It's sooo beautiful! He also has a very traditional perspective on yoga, just he's modified the practice.
    Last edited by YogaBare; 03-28-2013 at 01:48 AM.
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

  4. #24
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    I usually start just by describing and identifying the states over time. Just saying things like "focus" or "this posture takes concentration" -- people really get these things on their own. It doesn't require much cuing. Sometimes, I describe the process out-right -- usually while people are in a long quiet hold of a posture (say, a 2 minute hold -- since my classes are a vinyasa form).
    We were taught that in a yoga class your words become like mantras, so it's important to choose the right words. I use "become aware" a lot, but I really like your suggestion of: "this posture takes concentration". It's kind of a Western way of approaching mindfulness.
    Yes. It's a very subtle process, feeling that. Most people can feel their hormones first, and that's far more subtle than muscle/bone is. Usually, it goes muscle, weight bearing (shifting weight) which feels a lot like energy movement (and is part of it, really), and then hormones, and then after hormones, you can really 'feel' the more subtle layers. This usually happens around the time that pranayama takes root in the body naturally -- and then I can usually teach it directly.

    Sometimes, I can use marma points on people and they'll 'get' it right away, and I talk about how it's similar to accupuncture (which is mainstream here), so that makes it accessible. But largely? It's about 4-5 years in before people will have access to this particular state of feeling (in my experience anyway). About 1 yr to get basic proprioception, then another 1-2 years after that to get to weight shifts and hormones, and then after that. Yeah.
    By feeling hormones, do you mean that in terms of sensation or feeling the emotional response that certain poses trigger?

    Don't. Just don't. Most studio owners are really invested in How They Do Things. Go on your own and do it. Gather a group of people and go to the local church hall or your house or whatever and do it there. It's for your edification anyway -- as well as your students/clients -- so just be wholly independent.

    You'll also learn how to run it as a business, which is then scalable.
    Good advice
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by YogaBare View Post
    We were taught that in a yoga class your words become like mantras, so it's important to choose the right words. I use "become aware" a lot, but I really like your suggestion of: "this posture takes concentration". It's kind of a Western way of approaching mindfulness.
    yes. but it's also a good idea that things don't become too repetitive, as that can become too ingrained. And that can be messy.


    By feeling hormones, do you mean that in terms of sensation or feeling the emotional response that certain poses trigger?
    it's a bit of both/and.

    the funny thing about the body is that an external stimulus can be picked up unconsciously (or, by the body itself), and the endocrine system responds, which in turn sets off the nervous system. The nervous system is feeling-thinking, so it might cross into consciousness "I feel stressed! I feel afraid!" etc -- basically are then translated into feeling states and applied conscious, observational meaning.

    Other times, we feel feelings first, and then the body creates a chemical reaction. This is common with art, btw. Movies, art pieces, music, etc. These engage the mind space, and then we "sense" after the fact -- or the hormones come in to back that up.

    But, over time, you can actually feel the hormones in your body -- you can feel the feeling of cortisol, or the feeling of adrinaline, or the feeling of the loss of progesterone before the estrogen kicks in, which is when women have their highest testosterone levels (during fertile years), and they they tend to be fractious right before menses. They also tend to be hornier than "normal," too. And, that time is actually what their menopausal state will be -- lower estrogen/progesterone, and higher testosterone, even if the levels dont' actually go up.

    So, if we think in terms of stress for a moment, yoga can help us reduce stress by recognizing whether our bodies are reacting to our minds or our minds are reacting to our bodies.

    And if our minds are reacting to our bodies, then we can change the mind, to calm the body down and slow down those hormones and bring us back to balance/equanimity. And if we are reacting to our minds, we can go through a conscious process to change the hormones, *or* we know that we have to work out a thought pattern (great for process work/supervision), and then the body will follow when we no longer go on that prtiuclar pattern (reaction) to specific stimuli.

    much of this happens unconsciously through the process of learning yoga, so it's not like we have to talk about it much, or at all. The doing does this on it's own, really, and we just create the space for it.



    Good advice [/QUOTE]

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    Just read the thread and its very interesting that you three as teachers have many of the same opinions i have as a student/observer.

    I started yoga as a way to add some mobility and stress relief to my current routine. I dont go there to get a traditional workout but i do feel that it offers great strength and dynamic flexibility that one wouldnt get anywhere else. I do have a problem with sun salutations and chatarunga because i feel that they add unnecessary tension on both the shoulders and spine. If they are ever done in class i always modify them to focus on the plank/very slow lower to ground and a slow up dog/down dog, never will i speed through it. I also dont agree with the amount of spinal flexion, especially in the forward folds. Most dont have enough hip mobility and going from a forward fold to standing can be really dangerous. So i always do a straight back bend and work on hip/hamstring flexibility.

    Classes i love are ones that experiment with new movements and work holds and long poses. Im not a fan of by the book classes, constantly moving. One of my favorite things to do these days when i have 10-20 minutes to spare is just to get on the floor and move. No rhyme or reason, just try to find new positions and flow to new movements and range of motions. I like this idea much more then a structured class of doing say 20 sun salutations. Btw when i was reading about Indian fighters, i heard they do anywhere from 300-1000 sun salutations a day! Obviously used as a strength and conditioning tool.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach View Post
    Just read the thread and its very interesting that you three as teachers have many of the same opinions i have as a student/observer.

    I started yoga as a way to add some mobility and stress relief to my current routine. I dont go there to get a traditional workout but i do feel that it offers great strength and dynamic flexibility that one wouldnt get anywhere else. I do have a problem with sun salutations and chatarunga because i feel that they add unnecessary tension on both the shoulders and spine. If they are ever done in class i always modify them to focus on the plank/very slow lower to ground and a slow up dog/down dog, never will i speed through it. I also dont agree with the amount of spinal flexion, especially in the forward folds. Most dont have enough hip mobility and going from a forward fold to standing can be really dangerous. So i always do a straight back bend and work on hip/hamstring flexibility.

    Classes i love are ones that experiment with new movements and work holds and long poses. Im not a fan of by the book classes, constantly moving. One of my favorite things to do these days when i have 10-20 minutes to spare is just to get on the floor and move. No rhyme or reason, just try to find new positions and flow to new movements and range of motions. I like this idea much more then a structured class of doing say 20 sun salutations. Btw when i was reading about Indian fighters, i heard they do anywhere from 300-1000 sun salutations a day! Obviously used as a strength and conditioning tool.
    Wow, that is a lot of sun salutations! When I practiced Astanga I had a hard time getting through the 10 salutations at the beginning without panting like I just ran to the top of the Empire State building. I found that to be the hardest part of the whole routine.

  8. #28
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    I used to do Astanga daily, a 1hour 45 minute - 2 hours daily (primary series plus sometimes about 1/4 into the second). I was vegan and didn't often eat enough calories plus was in college under stress and little sleep. After several years of dedicated practice I made very little strength gains and even smaller flexibility gains (although I was naturally pretty flexible to begin with). I totally burned my adrenals and was tired all day after yoga.

    When trying to go back to it, even after weightlifting for a few years, I still get so burnt out if I do it more than a day in a row. I'm curious what kind of strength gains you've seen over say 6 months of work in people eating well and also if you see greater improvement in those who only practice a few times a week instead of daily.

    I don't want to make huge stereotypes but I will anyway.... Why do you think the gurus in books look weak and flabby (though obviously incredibly flexible) and yet Westerners who practice tend to look lean and strong?

  9. #29
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    A little-known secret about US famous teachers is that they lift weights and largely keep a paleo diet, but tell people that it's "all from yoga." Traditional indian gurus tend to just do yoga, and they usually do 30-45 minutes a day, and it isn't always vigorous or rigorous, because it's done for a spiritual reason.

    In terms of astanga, it's a tough one. It's a beautiful series and sequence, but I find that most people practice it too quickly. When I get into my breathing rhythm, primary series can take 2.5-3 hrs. If I add in secondary series, as I was taught you add it on top, it would take an additional 2-2.5 hrs (it is a slightly shorter sequence). I don't know about you, but I didn't really have 5 hrs per day to practice yoga, so my teacher recommended doing primary one day, then secondary the next, and then alternating thus. I started learning third series before I moved. I enjoyed it and I thought that it did wonders for my body -- but I had some structural issues (which I'm learning about and working out now), which became problems during the practice.

    For myself, I mostly practice free form vinyasa -- currently now every day for about 30 minutes mostly doing rehabilitative work on my posture (overall postural patterning issues). And I do pilates twice a week for this as well, and then mobility work/foam rolling. So, I'm taking a broad approach to getting this stuff sorted.

    Certain yoga postures will work a great deal of body work elements the same as much of things like uhm, i don't know what's that called? anyway, those body weight routines. Like, yoga squat is phenomenal for all kinds of stuff, and we do at least 4 in the classes that I teach, and I do about 6 of them with long holds using the muscle. That is to say, once i get down to the lower part f the posture, I hold about two inches below the bottom to get the muscles to work -- hold that for a few breaths. Then slowly come up across 3-5 breaths to get to full standing (fully engaged), then repeat, etc. Doing a lot of plank, side plank, dowwarnd dog, etc, Working a lot of the strength poses is beneficial.

    But, yeah.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach View Post
    I do have a problem with sun salutations and chatarunga because i feel that they add unnecessary tension on both the shoulders and spine. If they are ever done in class i always modify them to focus on the plank/very slow lower to ground and a slow up dog/down dog, never will i speed through it. I also dont agree with the amount of spinal flexion, especially in the forward folds. Most dont have enough hip mobility and going from a forward fold to standing can be really dangerous. So i always do a straight back bend and work on hip/hamstring flexibility.

    Classes i love are ones that experiment with new movements and work holds and long poses. Im not a fan of by the book classes, constantly moving. One of my favorite things to do these days when i have 10-20 minutes to spare is just to get on the floor and move. No rhyme or reason, just try to find new positions and flow to new movements and range of motions. I like this idea much more then a structured class of doing say 20 sun salutations. Btw when i was reading about Indian fighters, i heard they do anywhere from 300-1000 sun salutations a day! Obviously used as a strength and conditioning tool.
    Yeah, ideally you get to know your students' bodies so that you can give them modifications for their poses that help their bodies open up more. (Like if someone has a tight lower back, I always tell them to bend their knees when doing a forward bend - otherwise you compress the lower back even more). Personally I think that the standard Yoga training isn't long enough - you can become a Yoga teacher with just a 200 hour course! Really it should take years, but a lot of schools are like McDonalds... But they're supplying to a demand. A lot of people just go to Yoga because they want to do a headstand, or they think it will help them lose weight. It was never supposed to be a fitness tool. Not that I'm adverse to that, but you can see how it can create problems.

    And yes - I think some schools of Yoga insist that you have to be able to do 108 Sun Salutations before you're considered a... something or other
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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