Sensational yoga anatomy is a program designed to help you learn to use your bodies built-in sensors and actuators. It teaches you how to feel your anatomy and use it.
More precisely, it helps you to learn to feel and control your muscles and via them, your bones (and the connective tissue that connects them) in such a way that you improve your overall ability to feel and control your body.
Note, although it is called Sensational Yoga Anatomy, there isn't much in the way of yoga poses in this course. I've retained the word yoga because can mean "being present" and this course offers you one way of becoming present in your body, yoga poses not required!
So why bother learning to feel your body?
1. Often when learning new skills, whether how to ride a motorbike, yoga, dancing or martial arts, part of what we are learning is how to operate our body, how to control it (and feel it). Then we learn the skill. One reason for learning to feel and control your anatomy in a general setting is that it can make learning new skills easier. If you've already learned your body, you can focus on the skill itself.
Note that in sensational anatomy, muscles are the smallest useful functional unit. Muscles provide both awareness and control and the better you learn to feel and control small groups of muscles, the easier it is to use that awareness and control across a wider variety of activities.
2. About 18 years ago I injured a knee in a motorcycle accident. I didn't go to the doctor. Instead, I was determined to fix my knee myself.
It took a very long time.
Later I experienced hip problems, foot problems and I also experienced the same problems with the other knee. In all cases, I fixed the problems by learning to feel and control my anatomy. (Time was needed for my body to actually heal, but learning my anatomy allowed me to overcome the habits that developed while waiting for my body to heal.)
Being able to feel and control the muscles and bones of my body and how they all related gave me the tools to feel what was wrong and to experiment with different activations and positioning to fix what was wrong.
3. More recently, I had a knee problem that could have seriously inhibited my ability to teach yoga (since I taught, in part, by demonstrating the exercises and actions and poses I wanted my students to do).
An accidental muscle activation helped me to overcome knee pain, not muscle my way through it but use my knee in such a way that it wasn't painful. Ironically I found that that same muscle activation also helped me to improve my hamstring flexibility.
While I was fairly flexible, this additional activation helped me get past a particular sticking point.
And that's another way in which sensational anatomy can be helpful. It can be useful when exploring and breaking past flexibility limitations.
Some Challenges with Sensational Anatomy
Teaching sensational anatomy, I've found that some techniques work with some people for improving flexibility, and other techniques work for other people.
When I'm in a class I can see what works and pick exercises based on what I sense. (A friend said I'm like a DJ, one who reads the mood of the crowd and picks songs accordingly). With a set of videos that's a bit difficult to do. And so the idea of this course is to teach you a range of techniques so that you can pick the ones that are useful.
It's also to teach you how to test different techniques, notice the results and respond accordingly. You basically become a scientist experimenting intelligently with your own body.
Giving Yourself Room to Fail Safely
So that you can experiment safely, the chief safety mechanism is moving slowly and smoothly.
Another safety mechanism is adjusting the way that you move so that your joints and muscles feel comfortable.
This might seem tedious, but one of the advantages of moving slowly and smoothly, and of self-adjusting is that it forces you to become present in your body. You think less because you are focused on feeling and controlling your body.
Under these conditions, developing Sensational anatomy can become an exercise that feels good, even meditive.
Training your brain
A side-affect or bonus of sensational anatomy is that it trains your brain. More precisely put, it improves the models or body maps that are built into your brain. By learning to feel and control "isolated" parts of the body your brain builds a better model of your body. Better yet, it creates a modular model, one who's pieces can be reused in different combinations.
(Note that any new physical activity will change your brain. Learning in general trains your brain. However, sensational anatomy is designed to train your brain to better sense and better control your body.)
This is similiar to learning to write Chinese characters. Chinese characters are, in a lot of cases, "modular". The more characters you learn, the easier it becomes to learn further new characters. Learning simply becomes the act of re-using known elements in new combinations.
Types of People Who Have Trouble with Sensational Anatomy
Are there people who have difficulty learning sensational anatomy?
The students who seem to have the most difficulty with learning sensational anatomy (or more precisely, the muscle control at the heart of sensational anatomy) are hyper flexible or floppy people, students who can drop into the splits easily but can't lower into them slowly.
Ironically these are people who could benefit from it since muscle control not only makes them stronger and helps to protect joints, it also gives them feeling.
You can't feel your body or proprioceive it unless you have muscle control.
The exercises in sensational anatomy are organized so that it is easy to learn to activate and muscles (and feel them) even if you are floppy.
At the other end of the spectrum are people who are really tight. The exercises in this course don't rely on flexibility. Most of the exercises are done while standing upright so that most people can learn to feel and control their body even if they are "tight".
Do you cover names of muscles and bones?
The main intent of this course is to help you feel and control your anatomy directly. As much as possible I use layman friendly terminology. Names of muscles are mentioned, but the main focus is on actually feeling your muscles (and the bones that they attach to.
What you may find is that by learning to feel and control your anatomy first, it becomes easier to learn and remember names of muscles (and their function) because you have directly experienced them.
Does this Course Cover the Whole Body?
No, it doesn't. Part 1 (this part) focuses on the lower body, from the hip bones down to the toes.
What is the course made up of?
The content of the course is video. It is streamable.
If you are happy with your purchase, you can also get downloads of all videos. (You have to request the downloads, so I can inform you that once you get those links the guarantee no longer applies. It's also a chance for your to ask any questions, give feedback, and tell me what you don't like (currently the bathing suit that I teach in is non-negotiable. I teach in a bathing suit because it's easier for you to see what I'm doing, and since the subject is anatomy, you might as well get a look at my anatomy. (naughty bits not included.))
How is the Course Taught and What's the Best Way to Do It
The course is divided into short videos. Each video is a maximum of 5 minutes long. Each video focuses on 1 or more simple exercises. Each exercise is described with simple and easy to remember instructions. Watch the video, do the exercises along with the video, then pause the video and continue the exercise by yourself. Once you have a grasp of the exercise, restart the video for the next exercise.
You could focus on watching one video a day. Watch it in the morning, then practice the exercises throughout the day whenever you have a moment to spare. Rather than rushing through the exercises, focus on feeling your body and controlling it while you do them. Move slowly and smoothly so that you improve your ability to feel your body and control it.
Note that some exercises may be a little bit challenging, so may require a bit more time. If you understand the basic instructions, then you can practice whenever you have free time.
You can also do more than one video in a day.
If you are a yoga teacher or have your own yoga practice, you can play with any of the muscle activations in your yoga poses.
Note, when experimenting with muscle control in different activities, find a way to gently implement muscle control.
Dealing with knee or hip problems.
One of the reason for developing this course was to help people dealing with hip or knee problems. If it's been a year since your injury, that should be sufficient time for it to heal. If you still have problems it may be because your brain isn't noticing that your body has healed. Muscle control is one way of signaling the brain that your body is healthy.
If you have a particular problem you are trying to deal with, drop me an email and I'll let you know if I think anatomy would be helpful or not.
While the course doesn't deal with specific problems, it does provide you with the tools for dealing with your problems (in this case, knees, hips, and in some cases the SI joint). Those tools are learning to feel and control different muscle groups.
To deal with problems, I would suggest sensational anatomy as a starting point.
Sensational Anatomy is covered with a 30 day guarantee. Try it out and if you aren't satisfied, then let me know and I'll send you your money back.
Note, that during the guarantee period the video files are streamable only. If you are satisfied with the videos, let me know and I'll send you download links for all of the videos.
Once you get the downloadable video links the guarantee no longer applies.