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 these options. I want them to learn their body. As a result, in my classes 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. You don’t have to think about using them. Instead you use them when you need to.
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. If you can't use your muscles, you can't feel your body.
Yoga Basics 1 and 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 them still.
So muscle control not only helps you to feel your muscles, it also helps you to become more aware of your bones and how they relate.
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 where you focus on muscle control can leave you feeling refreshed and energized and not worn out.
Note that this package has two options. The first option includes Basics 1 and Basics 2 plus the Arm and Leg Strengthening Program.
This latter program focuses on using friction as a means of activating muscle. Basics 1 and 2 are both ebooks while the arm and leg strengthening program includes a set of videos and an ebook. All three include an hour long routine (roughly) that focuses on a particular aspect of body awareness.
The second option includes the material from option 1. Each of the three additional programs it contains are in video format.
The first, Feel and Activate Quadriceps and Hamstrings, focuses on teaching you how to feel and activate those muscles. It's especially helpful for teachers, and also for students who have difficulty activating and feeling those muscles. It includes the different exercises I use to help the students who have difficulties with these actions.
Even if you have little or no trouble with basic muscle control, this video can be useful because it teaches you different techniques for consciously activating muscle. You may find that you become more aware of how you activate muscles as a result.
Foot and Ankle Stability for Better Hip Control focuses on activating the feet and ankles. It's one way of creating stability within the body and you may find it helps you when working on stretching your hamstrings or hips.
The last program, Improve Hip Control, focuses on the pelvis as a means of improving hip control.
Earlier I compared these programs to driving lessons. There’s a good reason for that.
After you learn how to drive a car you don’t need a teacher beside you telling you what to do all the time. You get on with driving, and if you choose you can work on improving your drive-ability.
These programs are designed to help you become your own yoga teacher. They are designed to help you learn your own body so that you can make intelligent decisions on how to use it.
There is always more to learn, but if you learn how to feel your own body and control it you gain the ability to teach yourself.
There's a risk in trying things over the internet. Particularly promises to improve body awareness and what not. While everything in these videos and ebooks is based on my own experiences figuring out what works both for myself and my students, and figuring out how to teach that, you might not get all of that from these videos and ebooks. To that end, you've got 30 days to try it all out and if you aren't happy, I'll send you your money back.
If you like the program but some of the exercises or poses you aren't quite sure about then email me with your question and I'll do my best to answer it.
The ebooks come with lots of pictures and simple descriptions. All you have to do is do the exercises, and focus on feeling your body while you do them. To make that easier the exercises are like breathing exercises, you activate and you relax. Because of the constant changes in sensation created by activating and relaxing it becomes easier to feel the body parts that you are activating and relaxing, so long as you put your awareness there.
The videos are similarly broken into simple exercises with simple instructions. The advantage with the videos is you can see what "slow and smooth" means. Then you can apply that same slowness and smoothness to doing the exercises from the ebooks.