Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga: Rewriting the Story of Our Health and Growth
A Four Day Training Intensive for Yoga Teachers and Inquiring Students
Thursday-Sunday, June 6th – 9th, 2019, The Arlington Center, 369 Mass Ave, Arlington, MA
• Thursday: 1:30-4:30 pm; 6:00-9:00 pm (1.5 hour dinner break)
• Friday: 1:30-4:30 pm; 6:00-9:00 pm (1.5 hour dinner break)
• Saturday: 12:00-3:00 pm and 4:00-7:00 pm (1 hour lunch break)
• Sunday, 9:00 am-12:00 pm and 1:30-4:30 pm (1.5 hour lunch break)
Cost: $465 for the four day training, including a detailed, illustrated manual, and PDF downloads of the slide presentations. Currently we are only accepting registrations for the entire four days; with a cohesive group, Doug can move more effectively through the materials. On May 1st, registrations for single days will be offered, assuming space is available. This is Doug’s only trip to the Northeast in 2019, and his trainings have sold out for the last years. Register early!
Chronic pain often arises from improper habits and patterns of movement that have become part of the ‘story’ of our body. Traditional approaches in yoga have described the problem in terms of layers or ‘Koshas’ which include the influence of breath, thought and emotion. We are now coming to understand how these ‘layers’ are expressed in the fascia, impacting our well-being while taking a major role in chronic pain.
This training will be an exploration of the elements of posture and movement as they express and influence the Koshas, and how to approach yoga practice as a commitment to self-care. We will also look at ‘Marma’ — a tradition mentioned in early hatha yoga texts but not often explored. The idea of marma will be dove-tailed with contemporary body work focusing on the fascia, to give it grounding and relatability.
Yoga philosophy will be infused throughout, deepening the connection to the spiritual heart of the practice.
The training is structured to help teachers and interested students understand more deeply the therapeutic rationale behind alignment and action instructions in yoga poses — and to know when these instructions are helpful and appropriate, and when variations or a different emphasis are necessar
• A manual is provided free of charge with the training, which includes the teaching points of the training, illustrated and in detail, with space for you to take notes as we go along. This reduces the stress of taking extensive notes, so that participants can be fully present to experience what is being covered.
• In addition, the slide presentations used in the lectures will also be available to download, and can be saved to your computer or tablet as high quality color documents for review.
• Each day, beginning on Friday, will begin with an asana practice that incorporates the ideas from the training, so that participants will have an experiential example of how to weave these ideas into classes for the general benefit of ones students. Refreshingly new ideas for practice will also be introduced.
• Each day will end with yoga nidra. We will explore the value and importance of the practice, as well as the fundamental principles (from early ‘laya’ forms of the practice) for guiding students simply and deeply into the deep relaxation of yoga nidra.
Thursday: Sacroiliac, Low Back and Neck Health
Working with the Layers or ‘Koshas’ of Feeling in the Fascia of the Spine
Traditional approaches to therapeutic applications of yoga have focused on the ‘Koshas’ or ‘Sheaths’ of energy. These layers were described functionally, but the more thouroughly we come to understand the functions of fascia, the more clearly we see a practical correlation between fascia and the Koshas. The fascia of the low back provides a definitive 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.
We will review that material (new students will be brought up to speed), and then build upon that foundation. We will look at the the thoracolumbar fascia as a matrix of interrelated layers that profoundly influence low back health.
This has very concrete and practical implications for our understanding of asana and the dynamics 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.
Our treatment of the low back and hips will also extend down to the knees, with an introduction to understanding knee problems that will be carried forward on the second day of the training.
From this perspective we find a constellation of related pain issues that 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.
Friday: The Lower Body: From the Feet to the Knees and Hips
The feet provide the foundation and profoundly affect the 3-dimensional movement of the knees and the hips
The health of the knee and it’s problems is an especially important topic for active (and previously active) people, and yoga practice itself pose challenges and cautions. For starters, knee health includes all of the major considerations of the lower body: the feet and health of the arches, including challenges such as bunions; plantar fasciitis; hamstring and quadriceps tightness or imbalance; the IT band and imbalances in the many muscles surrounding the hips, including the gluteals.
The feet provide the foundation; and the actions of the feet profoundly affect the 3-dimensional movement of the knees as well as the hips. Beginning with the feet, and the fundamental actions for maintaining the integrity and stability of the feet as a foundation, we will apply this understanding in a variety of asanas.
From there we’ll expand into assessment principles for the knees and knee problems, awareness of the most common kinds of knee problems and injuries, and principles for safe and helpful practice in yoga poses that will improve the condition of not only the knees, but the feet and hips as well.
This will also include introduction to self-care techniques relating the traditional marma system of Ayurveda with contemporary fascial understanding — which can be incorporated simply into practice, especially for people experiencing joint issues, neuropathy (numbness) and other common problems — for the knees, as well as for the hips and feet.
Saturday: From Hands to Heart
Spiraling into shoulder health through the arms, with attention to the well being of the wrists and elbows
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.
Just as with the feet, our hands also have arches, and actions practiced to maintain those arches affect the health of the wrists and elbows, and facilitate the opening of the shoulders while protecting the health of the rotator cuffs.
Shoulder ‘opening’ is usually treated through stretches emphasizing external rotation of the arms, and moreover they focus on the action of the arms at the shoulder joint itself. But practice of both internal as well as external rotation is vital for freedom in the shoulders, and these rotations can be practiced more organically as ‘spirals’ which flow from the hands and wrists up to the shoulders.
We will cover the most common forms of movement problems, injuries (rotator cuff, cartilage and ligament injury) and pain syndromes involving the shoulders, elbows and wrists together, and will work with exercises and asanas for improving the ‘spirals’ by which we achieve greater freedom of movement, support healing from injury, and freedom from pain.
This will include self-care techniques based in Marma, which will be a complement to the focused practice of variations in arm and shoulder actions that can be introduced into yoga poses, as well as remedial exercises for improving shoulder health. Pain assessment as well as principles for working with different levels of pain and injury will be included, especially with regard to rotator cuff injuries and related limitations and pain problems arising from the AC joint and collar bone restrictions.
The emphasis is 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 practice.
Sunday: The Upper Body
Upper Back and Neck, and Their Effect Upon Jaw, Facial And Shoulder Pain
Neck and head alignment — and our own subtle habits in using our neck — have a great impact upon the health of our upper back and shoulders, and are the root of a great deal of our upper body pain. This includes jaw alignment and tension, as well as tension arising from postural shifts beginning in the lower body.
Yoga has plenty of principles for the head and neck, including bandha and mudra, that are related to the breath as well as asana, and which can be applied simply and effectively to address upper body pain problems, including neck stiffness and headache pain as well as breathing and functional disorders that affect our everyday health, including sleep.
Self-care techniques of Marma will be especially helpful for neck, jaw, facial and shoulder pain, and applications will be covered in pranayama and relaxation techniques as well as asana.
Doug Keller has been teaching workshops and trainings in the therapeutic applications of yoga for a decade, and is known not only for his effectiveness in communicating this ever-evolving approach in these trainings, but also for his extensive writing on the topic in magazines, journals and his two-volume work on ‘Yoga As Therapy.
He is also, in addition to his traveling and teaching, a Distinguished Professor at the Maryland University of Integrative Health in their Master’s Degree program in Yoga Therapy. This program is state-approved and accredited for granting a Master’s degree in this field, and is fully accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Visit Doug at www.doyoga.com