The Yoga Loft
Yoga Loft News and thoughts from Chris
December 13, 2019
Chanting and Yoga have gone hand in hand since Yoga began. Chanting can have spiritual or religious implications, but from a purely scientific view, look at the possibilities of effects that sound frequencies can have on molecules in the body and energy field.
August 24, 2019
It's Always About the Breath
More evidence: https://www.yoganatomy.com/how-does-yoga-work/
July 19, 2019
Stability or Strength?
Years ago, when I started teaching yoga and was asked to explain or define yoga, I would say something to the effect that the physical practice of yoga was designed to develop and balance the body's strength and flexibility. I would probably have said that muscles can do three things, contract, lengthen or relax. This is not precisely true, as I learned when I began studying Somatic movement. It's the word "do" that makes that statement false.
Muscles can only do two of those three things under the mind's control. They can actively contract or relax by releasing the contraction. The mind cannot instruct a muscle to lengthen. Lengthening and stretching a muscle are passive activities that are achieved when the muscle's counterpart(s) (antagonist(s)) is(are) contracted. So more accurately, a muscle can "be" in a state of contraction, lengthening or relaxation.
In between full muscle contraction and complete relaxation there is a range. Within that range there are many degrees of contraction and/or relaxation. As the muscle tightens it is called "concentric" contraction. As it releases slowly it is "eccentric" contraction. If it stops at a halfway point, the muscle is aiming to stabilize the body in a certain position. Where stress and tension are habitually stored in the body, muscles will become chronically contracted. The brain will accept this partial contraction as the new neutral resulting in an altered posture.
Eccentric contraction is generally experienced as being more difficult than concentric contraction because you are trying to halt the process in the middle range. Did you ever notice that weight lifters use all their strength, fighting gravity, to lift the weight away from the earth, but when the lift is complete, they drop it. Have you noticed on a hike that walking downhill is harder in some ways than climbing uphill? That's eccentric contraction ~ the gradual release of muscle contraction as it resists the pull of gravity.
May 1, 2019
This is one of the clearest explanations of how Fascia functions as a communication system. Pay attention: MELTers ,Yogis and Somatic Movers. We're not just playing around with muscles and bones, or even the nervous system. There's something much greater at work when we practice.
March 16, 2019
According the the chart below, look how many inches of snow has to fall in the Midwest before a yoga class gets canceled!
February 28, 2019
Read all about The Adductors and look at the beautiful illustrations.
This muscle group is part of a long myofascial line that helps us to stand erect. You feel your adductors when you place a block between your knees and press inward. YogaLofters: We've done this in Bridge pose and Chair pose, to name a couple.
Now that you've read about the adductors, read about The Deep Front Line. You are connected from the soles of your feet to your tongue!
To get an amazing view of the continuity of the Deep Front Line that includes the adductors, watch this video.I believe that knowledge about this aspect of our anatomy is a great enhancement for any yoga student learning and practicing standing poses and upright balancing poses.
January 18, 2019
"The Fuzz Speech"
Why it's so important to keep moving: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCfclmGrjMk
Where's the Remote?
Follow this link, Your Breath is Your Brain's Remote Control, for an excellent article about the breath. You may have heard me say that the energy from the breath, Prana, is absorbed directly into the brain through the olfactory nerve. Research mentioned in this report backs up what the yogis knew long ago.
January 4, 2019
There are several videos on the page linked below. They're all good, but the first two will give you an inside look at fascia, the connective tissue of the body. I hope it gives you an appreciation and an insight as to the function, importance and amazing properties of these tissues.
November 20, 2018
What is Yoga?
Lots of people have tried to define Yoga. Here's a recent contribution:
Sat Bir Khalsa, the Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School explains the 4 components of yoga:
September 13, 2018
The Breadth of the Breath
The most important and useful yoga practice I have ever learned is Ujjayi Pranayama. When life seems to crumble around you, this breath is what to do. That is why it is included in every yoga class I teach. Here's a really good article about it.
July 29, 2017
MELTing with Sue Hitzmann
Here's a tv video about MELT roller techniques for low back pain and lots of good general information.
If you didn't catch this article about "gel" water and dehydration , link to it here. I bet you'll learn something you didn't know.
February 2, 2017
Never too big to try
Here's another inspirational story of success through yoga with DDP Yoga.
October 17, 2016
Bones, dem bones, dem, dry bones
Read about a study done on geriatric rehabilitation for osteoporosis through yoga:
June 8, 2016
More About Meditation
At The Yoga Loft our meditation practice is limited to about 5 minutes of breathing and centering with focused awareness at the beginning of class and about a 10 minute rest at the conclusion. I have often felt like I should meditate more, but I find that even this amount of practice yields benefits I can notice.
Recently in class, I mentioned that at one time I was practicing meditation daily, because of the promise I had heard so often that it would change my life. Well....it didn't. And I was disappointed, and bored with the practice, to be quite honest. If something is boring, we won't keep doing it.
But there is another approach that struck a positive chord with me. I listened to a lecture about the powerful effect of the "relaxation response" on both body and mind. I liked the idea that I could do something that every cell in my body would appreciate. Now I think of the simple process of breathing and focusing as a way I can communicate to all my parts down to the tiniest level. I am not practicing a ritualistic visualization of chanting through the chakras as I once did, seeking those life-changing results. Instead, I just still myself, release distressing thoughts and remember what Eckhart Tolle has said...that once you bring yourself into the present moment you will realize that everything is really all right.
Read this new blog post from Swami Sitaramananda at the Sivananda Yoga Farm about meditation. She talks about the benefits of meditation. I found all of it to be true. I don't need my life to be changed. I don't think I could change it if I tried. 'Me' is always with me no matter where I go or what I do, so I'd better get comfortable with 'me.' And I find that a few times a week is enough practice, since I'm not shooting for Samadhi, just some happy cells.
April 3, 2016
It has been said that it is not possible to teach someone how to meditate, any more than it is possible to teach them how to sleep. Read more about meditation here.
If you're looking for the recent information I shared from Tom Myers about connective tissue,
February 16, 2016
What Lies Beneath
Recently I took an online class at Yoga U Online. They have many offerings and I choose a workshop from Tom Myers, author of Anatomy Trains. Anatomy trains are the pathways of fascia, connective tissue, that run through the body.
Tom Myers is one of the foremost researchers, teachers and experts on fascia. Along with this course a pdf booklet was given with 10 tips for fascial health. I think you'll find it interesting. It not only applies to the work we do in our MELT Method classes, but to the yoga practice as well. There will be a printed copy of this booklet at The Yoga Loft if you'd like to borrow it, or download your own copy.
I found more from Tom Myers. Here is his view on treating the outer thigh, aka ilio-tibial band, ITB, with a foam roller. This is of interest to all MELTers.
May 30, 2015
Half-Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
What do you see? I see strength, alignment and grace. Read more about this man's yoga story.
May 17, 2013
Is Yoga a Religion?
First let me say that it is my opinion that yoga should not be taught to pre-adolescent children. Further, I believe that at the onset of puberty it is appropriate to teach teens how to stay physically fit through a program of strengthening and stretching movements and deep breathing, how to relax, and how to focus the mind. Yoga can be the method to accomplish that.
Today I received an email newsletter from the Yoga Alliance, of which I am a member and a Registered Yoga Teacher, concerning a law suit that claims that the Ashtanga Yoga being taught in a California school district (even to kindergarteners) can be considered a religion.
I am placing a link here where you can read all about it for yourself. On that page you will find links to other documents, some of which are very lengthy, containing arguments pro and con. I find it very interesting. Maybe you will too. I'd love to hear your opinion.
May 16, 2013
I found a couple of hand and food reflexology charts online that I'm posting here for your reference. Click on either image for larger view.
January 6, 2013
A Better Start
One year ago, an article in the New York Times telling how yoga could "wreck your body," sent a tremor through the yoga community. It ignited fear and judgment and originated from gross misunderstanding of what yoga truly is.
This year has gotten off to a better start with an article in the latest Yoga Journal (February issue) entitled "Practice Awareness." The topic is Injuries: why they happen, how to avoid them, and what you can learn from them.
If you have a copy of this magazine, (Model on cover dressed in white, doing standing splits!) I suggest you read the article. I printed out several copies of it which will be in the office at The Yoga Loft for you to take.
Just this week I came across a discussion about yoga on a TV news show where yoga was being referred to as a sport. I cringed. Thoughts ran through my head about how easily a concept can be misunderstood and corrupted through miscommunication. Didn't we all learn this playing the telephone game as kids ~ whispering something from ear to ear until the original message was completely lost?
Yoga is not a sport. It is not just postures. It's not an exercise program. It is a consciousness that enables us to live in truth and harmony. If we practice yoga with that understanding then its truth is experienced first hand. However, if we bring an improper intention to the practice, the experience is altered. Ego is the only invader that can disrupt the yoga practice, but it comes in multiple forms.
What are some of the common forms that ego takes in our practice?
I ask you to look at your own thoughts during the practice. . . yes. . . at the same time you are managing alignment, holding or flowing through poses, and controlling breath, not just when you're resting. Say "no, no, no" to the thoughts that fit into any of the categories listed above. Simply be in the present moment with the mind clear and open. This is the redeployment of wasted energy from the pre-programmed, unconscious activity of the mind back into the body.
Today I read the following from a teacher of Macrobiotics, Michio Kushi:
The yoga practice guides us along the same path of recovering our clouded or even lost senses. No, it is definitely not a sport!
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