Why I’m Not Teaching Inversions Workshops Anymore

Why I’m Not Teaching Inversions Workshops Anymore

I love inverting. I love the energized feeling I get. I love the sense of accomplishment when I make progress. I love the challenge and sometimes I even appreciate the frustration of working so so hard and still failing. There is no doubt that for me, inversions are a valuable teacher. For the past several years, I have enjoyed helping people challenge them selves and face their fears of going upside down by teaching a workshop called ‘Inversions Demystified’. In this workshop, I break down the different components of inversions into manageable parts and allow people to work at their own pace towards their next milestone. Everyone who attends leaves with an understanding of what to work on next and many of the people who attend have breakthroughs during these workshops.  However, recently I decided to stop teaching them. The reason that I’ve made this decision is not because I am less focused on the physical aspects of yoga. I am as fascinated and in love with human movement and breathing as ever. I still believe that taking on the challenge on inversions is a valuable way to practice abhyasa/vairagya – consistent steady practice and non-attachment. It’s also not because people tend to approach these poses greedily, willing to harm their future structural integrity for the sake of ‘achieving’ a pose today. This is true, but my workshops are actually a great antidote to this type of thinking since I am very honest with people about what they are ready for and show them physical examples of why. I am choosing to move on from this type of workshop...
Mado’s top 4 tips for getting the most out of your hip openers.

Mado’s top 4 tips for getting the most out of your hip openers.

Since most of us spend a lot of our days sitting, ‘hip openers’ have become a popular focus of yoga classes, videos, and workshops. However, our sedentary hips become weak as well as tight and a thoughtful, balanced approach is necessary to keep this large and stable joint healthy and functional.  Read on for my advice on how to get the most out of your hip openers. #1 Listen to your low back Your hips are the joint that connects your legs to your pelvis. Many of the muscles that move your hips affect the tilt of your pelvis. If those muscles become imbalanced, they often pull your low back into an overly rounded position, an overly arched position, or sometimes both at once! Therefore, the health & wellbeing of your low back is directly connected to the health and wellbeing of your hips. When you practice hip opening poses, pay special attention to the sensations and mobility of your low back. If you find yourself in a position where you cannot move your low back forward into its natural lordotic curve, you are likely placing your back under unnecessary stress. This is different from consciously choosing to round your low back during a hip opener, which may be a very helpful and enjoyable position. #2 Make time for downtime Even though most of us live safer lives than our ancestors, we spend more time with our SNS (sympathetic nervous system) activated. The SNS is the part of our nervous system that ensures our survival (the fight or flight response). It causes us to be alert, watchful, and ready...
Will Yoga Wreck Your Hips?

Will Yoga Wreck Your Hips?

People have been asking me for my response to William Broad’s latest NY Times article on yoga, so here you go: While the article is a bit sensationalistic, it does bring up a very important topic that is the elephant in the room in conversations about the benefits of yoga: the problem of hypermobile people making flexibility the main focus of their exercise regime. Muscles need to be both strong and flexible in order to be healthy. Yoga isn’t inherently just about flexibility, but it does have a flexibility bias. Of course it’s problematic to talk about ‘yoga’ as if it were a defined entity – it definitely is not. However, since yoga classes have become ubiquitous in the US, it’s important to me to observe the trends (both positive and negative) and see how I can be a part of the solution. The unfortunate truth is that naturally supple people tend to train flexibility and naturally stable people tend to train strength. This is a mistake in either direction. It’s a classic story. A naturally flexible person attends their first yoga class & the poses come easily. This makes them feel sucessful, and they often get positive reinforcement from the teacher or other students. The combination of internal and external reinforcement entices the student to practice regularly and a love of yoga is born. I was one of these people. Never very athletic, I pretty much hated exercise until I found yoga. Finally, an exercise modality that I was good at! Within a few years of practice, I loved it so much that I took a teacher training....

Yoga for Back Care – Audio Class

This is the first of a series of audio downloads you can use to practice with me on days when you can’t make it to class.  This practice is approximately 20 minutes and you will want to have a blanket and either a yoga strap or some other sturdy long fabric or belt.  I’ve included plenty of clear instructions, but this audio class as well as future classes will be much easier if you attend my classes regularly and are familiar with the way I teach the poses. Videos and audio recordings should not take the place of in-person classes, but they can be a great supplement when classes aren’t possible.  This practice is not designed to relieve acute back injuries, but rather be a maintenance routine once you are out of pain.  Please make sure you have the permission of your health care provider before beginning any exercise program. Enjoy! Yoga for Back Care – 20 minutes Your browser does not support the audio...