Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre

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Archive for : December, 2015

Yoga for Office Workers

Out Of The Office Into The World!

By Adam Divine

Your body sculpts itself around the most common activities you do.Quite literally there is an intelligence in the body’s cells; a communication and a listening takes place. If you perform an exercise like running, the bone building cells (imagine Bob the Builder) will lay down calcium deposits along those lines of mechanical stress to make you stronger for that activity.

Yoga takes this to the next level. In yoga, as you exercise in lots of weird and wonderful directions calcium deposits will be laid down in all of these three dimensions to make your bones stronger to support you more in that activity.

So what happens to the average ‘office’ body sitting at a desk 5 days a week 8 hours a day with little movement? The office X-ray shows that we are devolving when we sit at the computer. The spine is curved, the head is heavy and there is no integrity in the posture.

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According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2013 alone, almost 31 million days of work were lost due to back, neck and muscle problems. As computers and devices are such a big part of our world, we need to create more body awareness and conscious ways of sitting. The fact that we now plonk our small children in front of ipads and devices where they are hunched over is not a great foundation for their growth and posture.

Bones can also change shape according to the poor stresses placed upon them. Here we have a picture of bone growths and strain in the vertebrae.When your sitting down day in day out with your spine in a poorly flexed position, muscles, tendons and ligaments on the back will all be overstretched and locked long. Meanwhile the tissues in the front of the body will be shortened.
Ligaments attach bone to bone. When you overstretch the ligaments in the back they will tug on the bone. In fact, the bone itself has a skin, called the Periosteum, like a cling film wrap. It’s this ‘skin’ that the ligament attaches too and as you sit at your desk in a hunched position over time the ligament will tug on the periosteum(skin) and can pull it away from the bone to make a little tent-like structure. Then the little bob the builder bone building cells will fill up the tent-like space with calcium deposits making a solid bone growth which hinders our mobility and potentially causes pain.

Yoga asana can be used for positive change – just get people moving!
Areas of focus will be tight Hamstrings, Gluteals, Rectus Abdominus, Pec major, while the Erector muscles, Rhomboids and Neck muscles will be weak. This is all happening in the saggital plane (front to back) so sun salutations would be the perfect solution. Bring students back to basics.
Tadansana allows for proper stacking of the bodily segments and healthy axial extension of the spine (like an accordion to the sky). Tucking in the chin stacks the head properly on top of the shoulders and engages the front of the neck which creates space in the Subocciptals (muscles at the base of the skull). This helps to train you out of a head forward posture.

Down dog covers the hamstrings and shifts a posteriorly tilted pelvis moving into a more anteriorly with the sits bones to the sky. Forward folds will generally release the hamstrings. Down dog will also allow lengthening of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle that tighten, pulling the shoulders in an inferior downward direction.
Warrior 1 extends the spine, opens the chest and opens the Psoas in the extended hip, as well as lengthening the opposite Gluteal muscle in the flexed hip. The Psoas is key here as it stores stress on a core level and we know just how stressful the work place can be, so its good to clear out.
With regards to safe sitting, knees should be below the hips – we are looking for a straight line from the ear to the greater Trochanter (hip bone). If your pelvis is more posterior you will want to tilt it more anteriorly, so the spine is more balanced and the chest opens.

Smart sitting– watch this space for the next article where we will look at opening up the Pectoralis Minor and engaging the Serratus muscle.

This article was written by anatomy aficionado Adam Divine. Adam has been working with the Himalaya Yoga Valley team as Anatomy teacher for the last 5 years and is passionate about sharing his anatomy knowledge with students from all backgrounds.

Are you ready for a 500 hr TTC?

In  this article we interview one of our 500 hour graduates Angela Glaz of Ekam Yoga Seattle to share a personal experience with those thinking of further education and development through a 500 hr Teacher Training. This post gives a great insight into the differences between a 200 hour and 500 hour Teacher Training and what you can expect if you choose to further your study in this capacity.

For those graduates who are not familiar with you Angela can you tell us a little bit about yourself; name, location, current teaching status etc…?        

My name is Angela Glaz and I am currently living in Seattle, WA, USA with my husband and fur child, a Dachshund named Desta. Currently, I teach weekly Hatha and Vinyasa with a local studio I have been with since they opened their doors four years ago. Throughout my time with this studio I’ve also taught kids yoga series and workshops on: The Bandhas, Chakras, and Ayurveda. Early this September, I will be taking the first steps in opening my own yoga center, Eka Yoga. Eka’s vision is to honour and serve the uniqueness of every mind, body and spirit through yoga and Ayurveda. You can find out more about Eka Yoga at www. ekayogaseattle.com

Congratulations on the opening of your new Yoga studio, what an incredible step to take as a Teacher! Before opening your studio you decided to complete your 500hr Yoga Teacher Training with Himalaya Yoga Valley, what drew you to this schools program and how would you describe your experiences in 500 hr tt compared to your 200 hr?

It is nearly impossible to narrow it down to one thing! My top two reasons for attending my 500 hour with HYVC (Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre) are: HYVC’s mission to stay true to the source of yoga and their foresight to include a business immersion week in their 500hr curriculum. As for the differences between level 1 training & level 2, the 200hr TT (teacher training) is comparable to high school, you’re learning your basics or the foundation of your education. Your 500hr TT is like attending college or university. You have the chance to explore and a build upon that foundation. For me personally, I felt like I was a hot mess through my entire 200hr TTC. I learned a lot about yoga, but mostly I learned a lot about myself. My 500hr on the other-hand was completely different! I still had my days where my practice brought up things that I would have preferred stayed buried, but I felt as though I was more comfortable in my own skin, willing and ready to explore what was next for me personally and educationally. Although you are still on a pretty tight schedule during your 500hr, I felt as though the HYVC team gave me the room, the tools, and the encouragement to do that exploring.

Before you arrived on your level 2 training you were asked to start investigating an area (s) of interest or specialisation that you would like to focus on and research during your time here, what inspired you to specialise and develop your teaching knowledge in ‘Yoga and Ayurveda for your 500hr Portfolio development?

Through out my life, I always strived to be healthy, yet never really felt healthy. During my 200hr, I was introduced to Ayurveda, and I found it fascinating! I continued to educate myself on the topic for my own well-being, and sure enough, it changed my life just as much as yoga had. Most of us do a teacher training because yoga did something great for us and we want to give others the opportunity to find that greatness through yoga as well. I did my research on Ayurveda for the same reason. I wanted to know more about the connection between Ayurveda and yoga so that I could give my students a well rounded wellness  experience.

It sounds as though you went into your 500hr with a really clear idea of what you hoped to gain and expected to achieve during your experience, not that all student-teachers would be in the same position, however based on your initial inspiration for attending a level 2 training how do you feel the program supported your professional development & over all learning goals?

When I returned home, I took the business outline and Yoga and Ayurveda research paper I was assigned to work on throughout my training and I turned it into an actual business plan. I am presently in the process of finding a space and getting the funding to make the plan a reality.

Upon your initial return and previous to opening your own centre you returned to teaching at your local studio, what changes did you have or did your students notice in your teaching?

The most popular response I received from my students when I returned home was, “You seem more in charge, and I like it.” It’s a funny thing to say, but I understood what my students were trying to convey. When I returned, I felt as though I had earthquake proofed and added a few new stories to the original foundation I built in my 200hr.

Wow, sounds like your students had a fantastic response to your return, in what other ways do you feel your have applied what you learned on your training not only to your teaching but also to your personal practice?

In my teaching, I am sure to never ever ever say, “your first dog of the day.” Also, I’ve been making a conscious effort to tell the story behind the sequence I plan in order to show my students how it all connects – intentions, breath, asanas, sanskrit, philosophy, health benefits, etc. In my personal practice, I am very proud to say that I have made sure to keep my routine of my morning meditation, pranayama, and asanas, even if it’s only 15-20 minutes. I leave my house by 6:30am every morning for a walking meditation with my husband and dog and I make sure to do at least one breathing exercise and five sun salutations before I go to work. There are many mornings when my I am sure that staying in bed is the answer, but as soon as I finish my practice, I’m always grateful that I chose the later.

Although developing your knowledge and personal practice were strong elements of the 500hr TTC, what was the highlight or most valuable aspect of the 500hr TT program coming back as an experience Yoga teacher?

I really enjoyed and also found the one-to-one weekly meetings with our assigned teacher super helpful. Whether I was feeling overwhelmed, unsure, confused, or nervous about anything and everything that was part of my training, Eveanna always knew what to say and what tools to give me to move forward in a successful way.

Do you have any final comments or anything else about the training that that you learned on the training course that surprised you or that you wish to share?

“We are society yogi’s.” Lalit made sure to remind us that although we do our best to stick to tradition, we live in a world where two 2 hour yoga practices per day is not realistic for most. We are not yogi’s living in a cave, we live in a society where we need to pay bills, care for our family, etc. We do not have to renounce the world to be good yogi’s. I feel that HYVC’s well developed curriculum, knowledgeable teachers, and welcoming space has created a yoga program that can’t be beat. I’m so thankful for the knowledge, tools, and encouragement that they’ve passed
my way.

Thank you so much to Angela for sharing her experience pre & post 500hr Yoga Teacher Training!

If you would like to find out more about our 500 hour TTC please visit our 500 Hour Training Page