Yoga Basics 1 (ebook plus video extras)
Yoga Basics 2 (ebook)
Working Towards Wheel Pose (ebook)
The Hip Control guide (ebook)
Option 2 (all of the above) plus:
Frictional Arm and Leg Strength (ebook and vid)
Option 3 (all of above) plus:
Action Vectors (vid with ebook quick reference)
Foot Exercises for Proprioception (vid with ebook quick reference)
Frictional Resistance (vid with ebook quick reference)
As a yoga teacher, I'm constantly exploring new exercises, new ways of doing yoga poses. Each new way isn't necessarily better. It is simply a different way of using the body.
There is no single "right way" of doing a yoga pose. Instead, there are options. And the better you are at "feeling" your body, the better you can get at choosing the right option for your body as it is now.
As a teacher I want my students to learn each of these techniques. I want them to learn their body. As a result, we'll practice a technique over the course of several poses, or even throughout a practice. The idea is to become good at using each technique to the point that it can be used in any pose, even those it hasn't been practiced in.
This approach is a little like learning to drive a car. Once you learn how to use the brakes, you don't need to be constantly retaught. You use them. Of course, you can refine the way you use them, but to do that you first have to learn to use them in the first place. Once you have that, you can use the brakes whenever you need them. And that is more or less the approach taken in this collection of body awareness (proprioception) ebooks and videos. Each focuses on a particular technique (or set of techniques) so that you can become proficient at the use of that technique.
These techniques are not dependent on how flexible you are. However, given time they can help you improve your flexibility. More importantly, they can help you get a better feel for your body. Bar the first ebook (yoga basics 1) each focuses on muscle control. That means activating muscle and relaxing it. But more than that it also means that you learn to feel your muscles and the way their activation changes patterns of tension in your body. Muscles are in a large part, how we feel our body.
Yoga Basics 1 and Yoga Basics 2 help you become more aware of how your parts of your body move, and in particular whether a part of your body is moving or still.
This is important in muscle control because a big part of muscle control is deliberately moving parts of your body or deliberately keeping parts of your body still.
Sometimes the simple act of just keeping parts of your body still can be a good exercise in body awareness (and muscle control).
Working Towards Wheel pose teaches you some basic principles that you can apply in any yoga pose, but in particular when working towards a challenging pose like wheel pose. Even if you have no interest in wheel pose, this ebook is a valuable learning resource.
The Hip Control Guide teaches you some simple actions for learning to feel and control your deeper hip muscles. Plus it shows you how to practice feeling and controlling these muscles in a few basic positions so that you can get an idea of when using these muscles can be helpful and when not.
This ebook can be a really good guide to not only learning to feel your hips, but in how to explore muscle control in general. If you are working on improving your forward bend (and hamstring flexibility) is also includes one technique in particular that may be helpful.
Getting into the Flow
One of the interesting side effects of practicing muscle control is that you don't have to be constantly flowing from pose to pose in order to get into the flow. The flow is a mind-state where you aren't thinking. Time may even stop. With muscle control, the focus is on what is going on inside of your body. And the focus is on deliberately creating changes within your body. While there is some movement, the changes are smaller and more regular than simply doing vinyasas from one pose to the next.
An advantage of muscle control, particularly if you practice slow and smooth activations and relaxations (a point that is particularly evident in the videos) is that you can get better at feeling the minimum required effort to do a pose. You'll still be working in your poses, there will still be muscular activation (since you need it to feel your body) however, the activation, the effort will be the minimum required. As a result, you may find that your yoga practices that where you focus on muscle control can leave you feeling refreshed and energized and not worn out.
Note that this package has three options.
Options 1 includes the following ebooks: Yoga Basics 1, Yoga Basics 2, The Hip Control Guide and Working Towards Wheel Pose.
These are all ebooks and all can be downloaded as PDF, mobi (for kindle) or epub. You have the access to all three options!
Option 2 includes all material from option 1 plus Frictional Arm And Leg Strength and Extreme Stability.
Both of these are streamable or downloadable videos (MP4 format... I'd recommend the VLC Media Player for viewing whether using windows or mac. If you are viewing these on a smart phone, then you can also stream the videos using the gumroad app.
- The first video teaches you how to use friction and floor pressure to activate muscles. You'll learn to get a better feel for your body as a result.
- The second video focuses on foot activation.
Both videos are in the form of a routine.
- You can follow along with each video, doing the poses as you listen to the instruction.
- Or you can watch a pose, memorize the instructions and do the pose while pausing the video.
I'd suggest this latter method because then you can internalize the instruction and over the course of a few days of practice actually memorize each routine.
Option 3 includes all of the material from options 1 and 2.
- The Action Vectors workshop roughly corresponds to the material presented in Yoga Basics 1. Here the focus is on pressing the floor and allowing the hips or ribcage to move in response.
- Frictional Resistance corresponds to the material presented in Yoga Basics 2. Here the focus is on pressing the floor and resisting by not allowing your hips (or ribcage) to move.
Both of these videos focus more on the legs than the arms. In addition, these videos aim to make the concepts taught more clearly understood.
- Foot Exercises for Proprioception workshop focuses on simple foot activation in a variety of yoga poses.
Foot control is something that is rarely focused on in isolation and is often added as an afterthought. However, the muscles that you use in these exercises to control the feet originate in the lower legs, and so foot control is actually a way of stabilizing the feet, ankles and lower legs. Foot control can then have an effect on the hip bones and hip joints via the long hip muscles, the muscles that connect the lower leg bones to the hip bone.