“Yoga is not the path of love and light – it brings you face to face with the things you need to resolve.”
Request week had us practising Salute to the Four Winds and exercises for necks and ankles. Students were intrigued to find that the Bones For Life foot and ankle exercises improved their balance in the tree pose!
I have been incorporating the Bones For Life movements into classes this week. We practised exercises for spinal alignment, bunions, building bone density, walking and getting out of a car – legs together, use a plastic bag so you can swivel. Helps protect the hips.
Had some interesting feedback from students. In the workshop on Sunday Mary Wyevill encouraged us to perform the movements with a ‘walking rhythm’. It is our natural rhythm. Mary explained that the reason we can get so tired in museums or art galleries is that we are moving slowly- unnaturally, without rhythm.
One student shared the fact that she had been on the People’s Vote march at the weekend, and such had been the volume and press of people that they’d had to walk incredibly slowly. She said she felt so stiff the next day. Great to have such a topical example to a teaching point.
Walk For Life workshop run by Mary Wyevill for yoga teachers as part of their continual professional development.
Mary is a teacher of the body movement programme Bones For Life, founded by Ruthy Allon. Allon trained in the Feldenkries tradition and has worked with NASA to help astronauts recover their lost bone density after spending time in space. Her work demonstrates that it is possible to regain bone density through movement. She has also spent time in Africa observing the Masai people who have a low incidence of osteoporosis despite having lower overall bone density than people in the West. She concluded that they were protected by their posture and movement patterns.
A lot of the movements in the Bones For Life programme are based on her observations of the Masai tribe, and on developmental movement patterns from childhood and our evolutionary past.
In general the Bones For Life programme encourages the gentle repetition of small, subtle movements that are nevertheless highly effective. They help to bring the body into optimal alignment, which in turn helps us to move more efficiently.
This is the third workshop run by Mary in the region that I have attended, and I often incorporate the Bones For Life teachings into my classes. My students are very familiar with the ‘Lines of Least Resistance’ arm movement and breathing exercise. (Best way to reach for a tin of baked beans on a high shelf!).
This month’s session took a look at the vagal nerve. This is the 10th cranial nerve which arises in the face and meanders down to the heart, lungs and gut – hence its other name, ‘the wandering nerve’.
The vagal nerve promotes the relaxation response – the heart and the breathing slow down, blood flows to the skin and tissues, the gut digests.
The vagal nerve can be accessed in two ways – by softening the eyes, lips, tongue and jaw, and by practising the Loving Kindness meditation. These are both regular practices in yoga. Good to know their relation to the face and nervous system.
We also practised the Face Twist and Face Plank among other activities.
Next monthly laughter session in Jesmond will be Saturday 30th March at 2.30-3.30pm.
This is a change to the normal schedule, and please note there won’t be a session in April.
Fun, frivolity and plenty of silliness at Northumbria University today with a laughter session for Mental Health Awareness Week. We sent out plenty of joy and happiness out to the world with our Bow and Arrow laugh.
Lots of comments about how great everyone felt at the end!