May 12-14, Arlington, MA
Doug Keller: The Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga
The Arlington Center, 369 Mass Ave, Arlington, MA
• Friday, 2-5 pm $60
• Friday, 6:30-9:30 pm $60 (both Friday sessions $115)
• Saturday, 12-7 pm (sold out; only available for students attending all sessions)
• Sunday, 9-4:30 pm $115
• Sat/Sun, Full Weekend $225
• Fri/Sat/Sun, All Sessions, $335
• Each session will include an asana practice centered around the theme
Register early …. Doug’s workshops have sold out the last four years!
These workshops are both for teachers who want more effectiveness and clarity in their instructions, and for practitioners who want to more deeply understand and address pain problems they are encountering, or simply want to become stronger and better aligned through insightful practice.
We begin with the positioning of the head, and it’s impact on the alignment of the entire body. From there, we will look at pranayama, and therapeutic approaches to the shoulders and sacrum. On Sunday morning we will have a 3 hour session devoted to a therapeutic asana practic, and rounding out our weekend will be an exploration of Yoga Nidra which will take us into deeper aspects of breath, relaxation, and meditation.
An extensively illustrated workbook, designed specifically for the training, will be provided in PDF form, which also gives students access to the slides used during the presentations. This reduces the burden of note-taking, and allows greater participation in the experience.
Each session will start with an asana practice that will introduce experientially the points and principles being introduced that day. High quality recordings of each practice will be available after the training, to help with review of the materials presented.
Friday, May 12th
The Head is the Foundation: As Above so Below
How the actions involved in Jalandhara Bandha can be used to create greater balance and openness in the upper body.
Traditionally we think of the foundation of the body — in yoga and in our posture in life — in terms of the foundation set by the feet (and how the bones are ‘stacked’ above it). But we can also look at freedom and spaciousness in posture and movement in terms of the placement and movement of the head upon the spine, with the maxim, “As above, so below.” The guiding principle will be the yogic insights behind the ‘bandhas’ — Jalandhara bandha in particular.
This session will focus on alignment and actions of the head and neck, combined with stabilization of the ‘Core,’ with special emphasis on stabilization in twists and head rotation — and how this attention to strengthening and the release of tension can bring greater freedom and better alignment in the rest of the body, particularly in the low back, sacrum and hips.
6:30 – 9:30 pm
Practical Breathing, Deep Relaxation and Meditation
Pranayama and the Vayus as the Power Behind the Breath
Early treatment of the ‘Prana’ in the Upanishads included reference to the ‘Vayus’ or energies of the breath/Prana that function in practical ways in maintaining the health of the body, as well as providing a gateway into deeper meditation through focus on the breath.
These ideas were not developed further until centuries later in the hatha yoga texts, which expanded upon the idea and the practice of the ‘Vayus’ in connection with pranayama. The effect was rather revolutionary in a very experiential way when incorporated into evolving ideas of ‘Laya’ Yoga, which included Yoga Nidra as a deeper path into meditation.
We will find in this session how awareness of the ‘Vayus’ — applied in simple preparatory practices for energizing them in preparation for pranayama and meditation — can deepen our experience of these practices as intuitively natural and spontaneous.
The practices introduced will lead us into simple and foundational pranayamas.
Saturday, May 13th
Healthy Shoulders: Working with the Big Muscles of the Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders
as well as the ‘Rotational’ Muscles Impacting the Wrists and Elbows
This session will be an exploration of the myofascial lines or ‘sutras’ that govern the actions of the arms — the lines of larger muscles that govern the movement of the shoulder blades and give the arms their power, as well as the deeper lines of muscles that govern rotations and are crucial for the health of the rotator cuffs, elbows and wrists.The major muscles of the shoulder girdle are the ones we use — and overuse — most often, giving us neck pain and shoulder pain, including rotator cuff problems as well as upper back pain.
We will explore how to balance the use of these muscles, starting principally in Standing Poses and non-weightbearing poses for the arms (including floor poses such as twists, forward bends and simple backbends) to develop the strength and healthy alignment of the upper back, and overcome pain problems. And we will refine the work by focusing on the deeper ‘Sutras’ lines of muscles from the hands and forearms we use for rotations of the arms and weight bearing poses such as the downward dog.
We will explore healthy hand actions and stretches that support the strength and well-being of the wrists and elbows, as well as variations on rotations of the arms that promote better shoulder health, particularly in the face of rotator cuff problems.
Holding Firm in the Sacred — and the Sacrum: Sacral Stability, Low Back and Hip Pain
Practical Work with Bandha, Vayu and Breath in Asana
Low Back, sacral and hip pain — particularly from problems of weakness and sacral instability — not only arise in everyday life, but are sometimes worsened through yoga practice that overemphasizes flexibility. This is a paradox, since yoga since its inception has been about stability in every sense of the word!
Here we will focus on pain problems arising in and around the sacrum, as well as related problems in the hips and low back. We will take a practical approach to stability that weaves in ideas concerning bandhas and the Vayus that can be incorporated into both asana and pranayama (and breath is indeed a vital part of pain management!)
This will include practical toning exercises for the ‘core’ related to the experience of the Vayus as intimately related to bandha. This practical work is related to the concepts contained in ‘The Fascial Web’ by Schultz and Feitis, as well as ideas developed by Orit Sen-Gupta in ‘Vayu’s Gate.’
Sunday, May 14th
9:00 am-12 pm
Asana Practice for Freedom and Stability: Considering Both Stiffness and Hypermobility in Yoga
Principles and sequencing approaches to building greater sacral stability as we mature in our practice.
As we know, sacral stability is a special concern in yoga practice as yogis develop more flexibility — and is a special concern for those coming to the practice who are already flexible and even hypermobile. In this session we will explore the ‘Core’ and particularly the role of the iliocostalis, multifidi and psoas muscles, in addition to the layers of abdominals. These will be brought together in a deeper understanding of the bandhas and how they can be accessed in poses.
We will pay special attention to sacral stability in twists; this is an area in which there is much discussion and conflicting views on how the poses should be practiced for safety. We will also look at fundamental actions and muscles that need to be strengthened for sacral stability, particularly from the perspective of the movement pattern linked to chronic pain known as the Lumbar Extension Syndrome.
1:30 – 4:30 pm
Exploring Yoga Nidra: The Ocean of Consciousness and the Power of Sound
Cultivating Spaciousness: A Relaxing and Refreshing Afternoon
Yoga Nidra as it appears in the older texts of hatha yoga as well as the lore of yoga has a rich vein of insights into the practice that has yet to be mined in contemporary forms. In this session we will explore the context of yoga nidra as it evolved within ‘Laya Yoga’ and bring to the fore elements of that practice that can be incorporated simply and accessibly into contemporary practice — and in a way that fits our contemporary lives. This will give you the framework for your own practice, as well as a deeper understanding of the early ideas that inspired it. The session will include extended practice of yoga nidra, with breath and sound incorporated into the practice, and some restorative poses.
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