Week 2

Advanced Alignment: Building the Building

Class Schedule

Mon. Oct. 3, 6:00 am Sunrise Yoga at Fallout Yoga The Planes of Motion: 6 Actions

Mon. Oct. 3 5:50 pm Power 1 at Fallout Yoga Advanced Motions of the Body. Accessing Prana through Alignment

Fri-Sun Oct. 7-9 Deepen your practice with me at my Fall Yoga Retreat in Woodland, Utah (tuition not included with Fallout Pass) I’ll have a subs Friday and Saturday at Fallout.

Reading Schedule in The Heart of Yoga

Chapter 3 The Principles of Asana Practice

Chapter 4 Careful Construction of a Yoga Practice

Chapter 5 Asana Variation


Building the Building as a theme is all about understanding Self through the form of our bodies. There is just as much of an opportunity to find enlightenment through the realm of your body as there is any other avenue, including spirituality or meditation. 

I believe my relationship to yoga is always changing therefore my definition of yoga is fluid. Therefore, my working definition of yoga is :


noun  yo·ga \ˈyō-gə\

The process of understanding Self through the method of listening. 

Now, I understand the above as my own personal definition of yoga and I would hope that you'd come up with your own, although you are welcome to use mine if it resonates. I believe one crucial way of understanding Self is through the method of listening to the body.  There are secrets to understanding the Universe hidden within our bodies, enlightenment at our fingertips--literally.

Understanding our bodies, especially in the context of yoga asana, will not only help us gain awareness but will also help us to acquire wellness. I proffer that wellness is the byproduct of awareness. Through listening to and understanding our bodies--how they move, where the balance lies between effort and ease, feeling into our bodies ever-changing needs--we learn to navigate our own awareness as we relate to the larger picture of belonging to the Universe in a way that allows me to direct myself toward wellness instead of relying on someone else to tell me what my body needs. 

As a yoga teacher, I feel that my role is to point each student back to the teacher that is within themselves. I'll suggest the arc we move through and you refine the experience based on the information your body is giving you moment by moment. I could distill my entire message as a teacher into two words: pay attention.

I think the body is a fascinating way of practicing awareness. I love to understand how this machine of my body works. By so doing, I feel as if I unlock hidden secrets about myself.

Understanding some basic anatomical principles gives practitioners a language to understand this incredible vehicle of awareness.

I've learned scores of invaluable information which I apply daily to my teaching from the brilliant work of Dr. Ray Long. He has written several books about applied anatomy for yoga practitioners. I highly recommend two books in particular if you are interested in understanding what the body does in a yoga posture, The Key Muscles of Yoga and the The Key Poses of Yoga. The illustrations and explanations are precise, contextual, and dynamic--not just two-dimensional muscles on a page. 

I think one critical place to start when understanding movement is the fact that we are three-dimensional beings and therefore operate along these planes, each with two different ways of moving. 

These planes of movement are:

  • Sagital--flexion and extension
  • Coronal--abduction and adduction
  • Transverse--rotation; right and left rotation for the spine, but medial (toward middle) and lateral (toward the outside) rotation for the arms and legs.

Other principles I'd like to explore this week are the Anusara principles of loops and spirals, systems of movement to optimize structure and flow of prana. And that is the large point, here: good alignment not only keeps you safe, but also creates the conduit whereby prana can flow readily. Get more by doing less through good alignment.

We'll explore alignment with gravity to load bones as scaffolding. Bones are fundamentally stronger than muscles so use muscles to align bones, use bones to bear weight. 

Click the photo to test your knowledge about the planes of movement.

Yoga Nidra

The following is a great meditation (Yoga Nidra) that helps to improve awareness through the sensation of the body. Keep in mind that you don't have to even move your body in order to find awareness through your body. I hope that it will help you become very relaxed and feel intensely aware by feeling the sensations of your body. Since yoga explores the relationship between body, mind, and spirit, it's not uncommon to have spontaneous occurrences in the realm of mind or spirit while exploring the body. For example, while focusing on a particular body part, you may experience a connection to a memory, emotion, or image.  It's all connected and this meditation could be an exciting way to explore that connection. 

Body Resources

The following are professional body people who I have worked with and who are incredible at what they do. Truly, each one has an incredible gift for healing through body wisdom. 

  • Erin and Carl Rabke Feldenkrais Method and other things
  • Darren Macintosh  massage therapist 801-819-1449
  • Shanai Olson massage therapist 801-706-7381
  • Dr. Shawn Campbell chiropractor 801-733-9900
  • Dr. Kim Davis Osteopath 
  • John Louviere massage therapist 801-230-7426