3 Body Statements Yoga Teachers Should Stop Doing – Jenni Rawlings Yoga and Movement

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This word – “release” – projects the belief that tension and stiffness is wrong and harmful, and that a release is optimal, healthy, and correct. Sometimes it seems like it even creates an idea that muscle activation and strengthening is something that creates more tension, and that stretching and relaxation is what needs to be done to create the desired release. Because the word release is often spoken in relation to specific myofascial tissues (i.e., “myofascial release”), the belief is created that individual structures within the body can be specifically isolated and targeted.

The most common approach is to maintain a stretched position for a chosen period of time without intentional muscle contractions. In flexibility research, this is called static passive stretching. Research often looks at the effect of static passive stretching on our range of motion. In these studies, static passive stretches have been maintained for seconds to several minutes. As far as we know, the longest time studied in published research is 450 seconds or 7.5 minutes (Freitas and Mil-Homens, 2015).

The effects of static passive stretching are a sharp increase in range of motion and a feeling of being more mobile. If the practice is repeated, the range of passive movement will increase in the chosen positions (Baranda & Ayala, 2010). In other words, we can increase our range of motion in the movements and postures we perform.

What we do know so far is that sharp changes in range of motion are likely to occur due to regulations that occur in the central nervous system, not to physical “releases” in the structure of tissues such as the fascia or the muscles themselves. . We actually know very little about the extent to which structural change occurs, but it appears that little or no change occurs locally in the tissue.

Many people experience a relaxing effect when performing static passive stretches. This effect is probably related to lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and slower respiratory rate. A study published by Winroth et al (2019) showed that one hour of yin yoga (a type of static passive stretching) sharply reduces anxiety in healthy individuals.

There are so many reasons to experience stiffness in our bodies, including our history of movement and behavior. From a biopsychosocial perspective, many factors interact and affect our experience in our yoga practice. From the point of view of understanding – that there is a complex network of mechanisms that work – condensing things into โ€œA leads to Bโ€ can be problematic.

This reductionism often leads to overly simplified explanations in yoga class, such as “You are releasing your psoas.” We believe it may be more empowering for the student to receive open instruction that supports the many possibilities that may be influencing their experience.

3) Instruction of a specific experience and result in a specific area

Example: โ€œFeel this delicious asana on your chest; will improve your posture “.

Telling a group of people that they need to feel an asana / movement / exercise in a specific area, with a specific feeling and with a specific result is very complicated. Where and how we feel something in our body can be very individual.

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