Okay so when I say ‘the’ creep I’m being playful. What I mean is creep. And you can turn radiohead off in your brainbox because this version of creep may be one you are unfamiliar with. Creep is the way in which our bodies, that is to say the muscles and their connecting tissues, react to stress over time.
So I am 3 sessions in now and on track for my ‘warm up act’ target! I would have aimed for more but having had nearly 18 months away from the studio baby steps is my approach!
I am glad too, session 1 was a big eye opener! Despite the recent heat wave, it is still surprising how hot the studio can feel when you first enter. Whilst I quickly acclimatized, it is fair to say my yoga (and balance) was a little rusty and I had forgotten all the little extras that make all the difference, specifically a water bottle and hand towel! So whist thoroughly enjoyable, I was definitely a wobbly and unnaturally sweaty student with envious eyes on the many water bottles surrounding me!
After such a long time, it was really good to get back into the studio. I was a little nervous as I had not been in since Will my son had been diagnosed, so it was definitely a little emotional to return. That said, once I had gotten over my initially exhaustion and self-inflicted dehydration, I was pleased to again experience the jump in energy levels and contentment I remembered from before.
Now three sessions in and I am pleased to see how quickly the steadiness and flexibility is returning. Although whilst thoroughly entertaining to try, Aaron’s hand stands are still a little way off!
The quadricep, hamstrings, and hip flexors get a lot of attention in yoga. Yet, there is another muscle that is commonly used in yoga, but one that you may have never heard of. That muscle is the serratus anterior.
The serratus anterior is a deep muscle that supports and abducts the scapula. ‘Serratus’ is a Latin word that means, ‘saw-like’ and refers to the appearance of this muscle. The serratus anterior might not be mentioned very often in your yoga class, but you use it every single time you move into High Plank.
The serratus anterior in terms of an asana-based yoga practice
The serratus anterior slow our descent from High Plank into Chaturanga. When these muscles are weak, we come crashing down.
The serratus anterior originates at the side of the first through eight ribs. It runs laterally around the rib cage, passes underneath the scapula to insert on its medial border. The serratus anterior acts to abduct the scapula, or pull them away from each other. So when your yoga teacher tells you to, ‘push the floor away from you’ or to ‘lift up out of your shoulders’, it is the serratus anterior abducting the scapula which allows you to perform those actions. The action of the serratus anterior is critical for several other positions. Continue reading “Serratus Anterior – Yoga Anatomy”→
*warning – a tad of strong language follows. But I broke my back so I think it’s okay!
It’s a day like any other. Work, family, jokes, laughter, plans for my practice later, plans for dinner with my husband, enjoying the challenges of day to day life. I leave work at about 1:30, grateful to finish the day early and get a longer time to myself for my yoga practice.
The accident is a blur. One moment I’m swinging my leg over my motorbike with the familiar feeling of excitement for a fun packed 2 wheeled journey. The next moment, I smash into the side of a van. I’m in excruciating pain, in the middle of the road with the impending threat of a shouting van driver. So..much..pain. The van driver is screaming and shouting. I’m in the middle of the road with surrounding traffic. My bike is making unhappy noises. And I have this looming threat of being called a “stupid woman” in the back of my mind (at least that seems to be the tone of the van driver in the moment).
A lady wants to call the ambulance but I’m not sure. I have to move, but my back won’t let me. I drag myself as close to the curb as I can before giving up and laying in the road, in direct sunlight.
Now the pain REALLY sets in! Wow my back. Fuck. Seriously. Ouch. Yes call the ambulance because I can’t move anywhere without making a serious situation even worse.
The name comes from the Sanskrit words chatur meaning “four”, anga meaning “limb”, danda meaning “staff” (refers to the spine, the central “staff” or support of the body), and asana meaning “posture” or “seat”. Here are pictures showing utthitha (extended) chatturanga dandasana and chatturanga dandasana:
As you can see, four limbs really are supporting the staff of the spine! In one of the pictures, you can see that we have body-painted a teacher so that we can demonstrate more about the anatomical structure of the pose. You can learn more too – see below for details.
How can the study of anatomy deepen your Yoga and Hot Yoga practice? Well for one thing it can provide scientific guidelines to help you keep your body safe. For example, did you know that the discs that stack between and cushion your vertebrae get rehydrated whilst you sleep, so your spine is literally longer after a nights sleep. Pretty cool fact but how can this apply to a Yoga and Hot Yoga practice. Well, because your spine is longer in the morning this means all the ligaments and tendons that hold the spine together are tighter in the morning than in the evening. And tight ligaments feel stiff and are easier to pull. So, if you are practicing in the morning you should expect the body to feel stiffer in backbends than later in the day, and perhaps you might warm the back up more or go lighter in backbending postures then you would in an evening practice.
Right now is the time when teacher trainees earn our respect the most, at the half-way point of the program. They’ve already learned a great deal: they can plan and hold safe classes, and they can discuss Yoga and anatomy in ways they never anticipated. But most of all they understand how little we all really know, and that’s a sobering realisation.
Training is also difficult because our relationship to practice changes. Yoga was always there for us in the past: the one refuge from all that modern-day madness was the little temple of the Yoga mat. But now in Yoga and Hot Yoga classes, we find ourselves analysing the sequence, checking our alignment – sometimes with self-criticism – and assessing how the teacher is delivering the practice. Naturally, people ask: “Will I ever get MY Yoga back again?”
The short answer is: Yes, you will, and it’ll happen with a new richness of knowledge and depth of understanding about what you’re doing. There’ll be a feeling of new magic in your practice once you integrate your course experiences. But first, something equally magical but very different has to happen. It’s a kind of re-birth, and like all beautiful birth events, it comes with its measure of difficulty.
When Siân decided to take the Yoga & Hot Yoga Teacher Training course at Yogafurie, she had never taught and wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to. But less than two months after finishing the course last October she opened her own studio near her home in Cornwall, where she now teaches four lessons a week.
The ten-month course has given her a whole new career, and brought hot yoga to her area of Cornwall. ‘I absolutely love teaching so much,’ she says. ‘I couldn’t have predicted it as it seemed very daunting, and I have never taught before. I just knew I wanted to find out more and see where it would lead me.’
Aaron trained with Yogafurie Academy to become a Yoga and Hot Yoga Teacher. Often we find Yoga Teachers who’s teaching style we love, and we regularly go to their classes. And then a great teacher-student bond forms over time. However we never really get to learn about the person behind the Teacher. Well, now Yogafurie is offering a ‘Meet the Teachers’ section on our newsletter and blog! This time, meet Aaron. Below is a little more information about Aaron’s passions in life.
Sam Hothersall found her symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) so crippling that she moved to Malta to avoid the long British winter. Last autumn she was anxiously awaiting the onset of SAD when a friend recommended she tried hot yoga at Yogafurie.
For Sam, an arts teacher at a secondary school, attending the classes was a revelation. ‘It was amazing,’ she says. ‘I went five times a week through the winter and it really helped me. I was waking up early and going before work, and I felt lovely and warm all day.’
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