Thera Yoga: Learning How to Use Your Body Better
Text by Malcolm McLean, photos by Darren Ell.
Hips, knees, ankles and feet were the topic of the Thera-Yoga workshop on October 19,
with athletic therapist Stephanie Russo and yoga teacher Eva Brune.
“Our intention is injury prevention — in our practice and in our daily lives — from greater awareness of these parts of the body,” said Stephanie.
“By assessing and addressing the issues in our bodies, we can have a lifelong yoga career,” added Eva.
“We need to understand what we are activating when we move,” said Stephanie. We can look at weight transfer in the body, how we move, how we transfer weight in our feet and how that plays out in the hips and knees; and from that, what injuries we may be prone to.
“The knees are a pit,” said Stephanie. In walking, pain in the knee is often coming from the gluteus muscles that are not doing their job. Pelvic or ankle instability also often show up in knee pain.
Modern lifestyles tend to make the Gluteus and Vastus Medialis muscles dormant — especially because we sit on them for so long each day. Many of us have felt the effects. “When you’re slipping on the ice, if your glutes are not there for you and you’re not getting the information you need from the foot up to the brain to make a good response, then you fall and injure yourself.” Stephanie and Eva led the workshop participants through an obstacle course made of yoga props to illustrate some of the issues.
They analyzed each participants’ gait, finding clues from the way we walked to the issues we might be experiencing; and suggested yoga postures that addressed these issues, to prevent injuries and to reduce pain.
Eva then led the participants through a yoga practice that featured these postures.
For my part, the workshop reaffirmed some of the benefits of a yoga practice, and gave a better understanding of the anatomy of certain postures. I developed a fresh sense of the importance of activating the Gluteus (buttock) and Vastus Medialis (inner thigh) muscles; something many of my students have noticed in classes since then!
Eva and Stephanie return December 7 for a Thera-Yoga workshop on the Pelvic Floor.