The Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga — and Keys to Safe, Beneficial Practice
starts Friday 29 march 2019 at 18:30
For yoga teachers and inquiring students
This program will be taught in English.
Yoga has always been evolving, finding applications of yoga practices — both therapeutic and spiritual — that have gone far beyond what the original yogis had ever imagined for the practice. It has adapted to meet the needs of its practitioners — from ascetics in the early days to the broader needs of people of today with greater and greater interest in our physical well-being as essential to our emotional and spiritual well-being.
This therapeutically-inspired weekend with Doug Keller honors that evolution with recent insights applicable for your own well-being.
The training is structured to help teachers and inquiring students to 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 necessary. The instructions are clear, specific and user-friendly and backed up by knowledge of the anatomy involved in the movements as well as an understanding of the common therapeutic problems that bring students to yoga seeking help.
For teachers and students looking to explore more deeply the benefits of the practice and philosophy behind it, this weekend is a great opportunity for learning, inspiration, and experience.
The Key to Movement and Bandha: the Sacrum and Understanding Pelvic, Low Back and Sciatic Pain
This evening session will be a combination of information and cues for low back health and understanding the bandhas, combined with some asana practice to fully explore the experience.
The key to understanding healthy movement as well as the root of much chronic pelvic and low back pain lies in understanding the rhythmic movement of the sacrum and the muscles which support it. When these muscles are not functioning properly, chronic low back and hip pain are often the result along with difficulty and sometimes pain or injury practicing asana.
Our focus will be 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 look further into the sheaths of fascia and muscles nested within them that profoundly influence low back health.
On a practical and ‘practice’ level, we will focus on the fundamental forms of movement impacting low back health showing up in asana practice— both for the inflexible as well as the hypermobile — with clear cues for improving upon both patterns in asana practice.
These user-friendly insights into the body translate easily into a deeper and more accessible understanding of the bandhas. The practice will provide great inspiration and insights for moving forward into the weekend!
The Natha Revolution in Hatha Yoga: Philosophy, Pranayama and the Role of Yoga Nidra in ‘Laya’ Yoga
The appearance of the texts of hatha yoga marked a revolution in the understanding of the practice of yoga and set the basis for practice we do today. The texts focus primarily on technique giving only hints of the revolution in philosophical thought behind it.
In this relaxed and enjoyable session, we’ll explore that revolution more deeply, which is expressed in the tantric philosophies of Kashmir Shaivism, written in the centuries before the Hatha revolution that set the tone for a system of practice for the modern era.
Two central themes from the Natha texts — ‘Cidvilasavada’ (the teaching that the world is the play of consciousness) and ‘Pinda-brahmanda-vada’ (the teaching that the body and the cosmos, and all they contain, are one and the same, making the body an indispensable partner on the path) — provide the starting point for understanding some of the most inspiring teachings of Kashmir Shaivism.
An essential part of this is understanding the role of ‘Laya’ yoga as essential in the hatha yoga texts, and the emerging role of Yoga Nidra in that practice. The session will finish with some simple pranayama and guided Yoga Nidra.
The Lower Body: From the Feet to the Knees and Hips, and the ‘Bandhas’ Below
Knee health and knee problems are an especially important topic for active (and previously active) people, and yoga practice poses its own challenges and cautions. Care for knee health usually includes all of the major considerations of the lower body: the feet and health of the arches, including challenges such as bunions/hallux; 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. We’ll begin with the feet, and the fundamental actions for maintaining the integrity and stability of the feet as a foundation — and how this is applied in the many different forms of poses in yoga.
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 an 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.
At our workshop, Doug discussed the importance of hydration and movement for good fascial health.
From Hands to Heart: Spiraling into Shoulder Health through the Arms — with attention to the health of the wrists and elbows and their impact on shoulder opening
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 the feet, with the actions maintaining their arches, support the health of the knees and hips, our hands likewise have arches — and actions practiced to maintain the health of the wrists will also support the health of the elbows and shoulders facilitating 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. Moreover, they focus on the action of the arms at the shoulder joint itself. Yet, 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 arm and shoulder actions as well as variations in arm and shoulder actions in the many classes of yoga poses as well as remedial exercises for improving shoulder health.
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.
The Upper Body: Upper Back and Neck, and Their Effect Upon Shoulder Health
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.
The practical aspect of the afternoon will be a combination of asana, and some pranayama and relaxation to finish the weekend.
Interview with Doug Keller
Note: 3 Locations
Friday and Sunday sessions are held at Haus am Becheler, Bereldange as displayed below, but Saturday's sessions are held in Walferdange in the morning and Strassen in the afternoon. Click the links in the lavender boxes provided at the end of each session to find the various locations.
INFINY Membership fee
There is a 5 € membership fee if you have not participated in another INFINY asbl workshop in 2019 even if you are only attending a single session. The 5 € membership fee is necessary for insurance purposes.
For workshops that are not limited to a particular style. Go to the page.
Teacher: Doug Keller
After teaching college-level philosophy, Doug spent 7 years at the Siddha Meditation Ashram, Gurudev Siddha Peeth in India. He spent 14 years doing service, practicing, training in and teaching yoga in Siddha Meditation Ashrams worldwide, along with studying the philosophical schools of Kashmir Shaivism. He received intensive training in the Iyengar system in New York City with senior certified Iyengar teacher Kevin Gardiner. He also practiced Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in India and became one of the first certified Anusara Yoga teachers, producing three highly respected books on asana, pranayama and yoga philosophy. His most in-depth work, ‘Yoga as Therapy,’ is truly one of the most comprehensive, innovative and useful treatments of the structural aspect of yoga therapy available. He was a regular columnist for Yoga+ Magazine, writing the ‘Asana Solutions’ column that addresses specific therapeutic problems. He is certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists as a yoga therapist and educator. Doug was a ‘distinguished professor’ on the teaching faculty at the Master’s Degree program in Yoga Therapy at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. The program is officially approved as a certification program for yoga therapeutics by the International Association of Yoga Therapy. Doug’s teaching is rooted in a vast and inclusive perspective of study and practice that honors the insights of the many streams of wisdom that flow into the river of yoga. For full bio: Go to Doug's page.
With heated wood floors, high ceilings and a view of the gardens, Club Haus am Becheler's "salle polyvalente" is a quiet and idyllic place for our yoga classes. Go to the Bereldange page.