My Personal Practice & Explorations

I like to teach classes that are rooted in some aspect of my personal practice and explorations. One of my favourite themes these days revolves around ‘resilience’. Resilience is the ability of matter to return to it’s original shape after being deformed on account of stretching, pulling, pressure, or bending. Sounds like yoga!

Resilience is the quality that allows some people to be knocked down in life and come back stronger. If we believe that there is a connection between body and mind, would we go so far as to assert that a resilient body and a resilient mind go hand in hand? If so, how do we go about cultivating the resilient body? Thomas Myers has repeatedly stated that our bodies will respond according to demand. This makes perfect sense and the Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand line of reasoning has led me to conclude that the ability to ‘bounce back’ can be trained into the body. By what, you ask? Bouncing! Sounds radical, looks bizarre and feels liberating and uplifting.

Before I opened 80 Gladstone a month ago, I placed a large order for big exercise balls (the non-toxic environmentally friendly type highly recommended). At first I thought I was ordering them for the axis syllabus-contact improv classes that we have at 80G, but before I knew it they were finding their way into my Yoga Moves off the Mat Class. The feedback and interest in the class has been so overwhelmingly positive that we’ve added another one on Sunday mornings from 9:00-10:30. It’s a dynamic, and invigorating full body experience that will have you sweating and laughing all at the same time.

Thank you for coming out of your way to come visit me, it’s a thrill to see my ‘old regulars’ in class again. This time around I intend on learning all of your names, but please be patient with me. I’m around for Christmas and am looking forward to teaching a few special workshops on Dec 26, 27 and 28, as well as a Christmas Pulse Class, please sign up in advance for this one.

Wishing you a holiday season filled with love and joy, December 13, 2013

Last week I had the honor of hosting Thomas Myers at 80 Gladstone. Thomas wrote a book called The Anatomy Trains and has worked as a Structural Integration Therapist for 40 years. In attendance at the workshop were yoga teachers, pilates instructors, personal trainers and dance-movement therapists. Throughout the workshop Thomas stressed that the body is shaped by the demands placed upon it. He helped each group in the room recognize the shortcomings of their particular discipline.

For example, he said that Joseph Pilates developed pilates at the end of the Victorian era when most people had a predisposition towards an anterior tilt of the pelvis and many people needed to reduce their lumber curves. These days most people sit in chairs and are more likely to have a posterior tilt and a reduced lumbar curve and too much core work could actually make their problems worse. For the gym enthusiasts he stressed that working with machines to strengthen the muscles is limited in terms of functional strength. For example doing bicep curls strengthens the bicep but only along a very specific line of pull, not strengthening the tissue on either side of the line of pull.

Yoga teachers were surprised to hear that Tom paid for his daughter’s education on the growing number of yoga related injuries. After being involved in the yoga world for my entire adult life, i’ve witnessed far too many injuries, in myself and my friends and students. I am doing a workshop with Dr. Raza Awan called The Six Most Common Yoga Related Injuries. We’ll cover each area of the body in detail, outlining where the areas of concern are for each yoga pose.

This Saturday we’re doing our first Dissection Lab, all anatomy nerds are invited! It could the most profound learning experience you’ve ever had.

People kept asking Tom what he liked to do for exercise, he was very elusive. He said he tried yoga in the 80’s and didn’t like it much. He said he likes to do different things, but is not into a regular exercise regime. At the end of the workshop after sitting for 2 days studying anatomy, a few friends stayed after class to move and stretch. We thought Tom had left, the next thing we knew he was back in the room asking us if we did contact improv. Apprently he was introduced to contact in the 80’s and loved it! He was reluctant to  publicly announce his love for contact improv during the workshop. I can personally relate. Most people think it’s weird. I thought it was weird too, until I tried it with a few friends who were really good at it. Every Tuesday after my Yoga Moves Off the Mat Class there is a short movement class that acts as the warm up for the contact jam.

Come join me on Christmas day for a special Yoga Pulse class and Deepen your Practice Workshops on Dec. 26, 27 28. I’ve added another Yin Yoga class on Dec. 26.