Hypermobile People and Yoga – An Extract from Jess Glenny

Jess Glenny is a Yoga Register Teacher (Elder) and a C-IAYT yoga therapist. She has been practising yoga with hEDS since 1981, and for many years has specialised in working with hypermobile people. She is the author of The Yoga Teacher Mentor: A Reflective Guide to Holding Spaces, Maintaining Boundaries, and Creating Inclusive Classes (published in 2020) and her new book, Hypermobility on the Yoga Mat: A Guide to Hypermobility-Aware Yoga Teaching and Practice is available for pre-order now, publishing in February 2021.

In this article, adapted from her new book, Jess discusses why hypermobile people might be drawn towards the practice of yoga.

Yoga teacher Amber Wilds writes:

During my teacher training I was told, you probably won’t see hypermobility in your yoga classes very often, but it became apparent over the duration of our training that many of my fellow students were hypermobile (to varying degrees). While some had been diagnosed, others hadn’t been aware of their hypermobility prior to our training. I therefore began to question whether, rather than being a rarity in a yoga class, hypermobility was actually far more common than initially thought.[i]

Indeed, as we have seen, hypermobile people are one population you are pretty much guaranteed to encounter in significant numbers in any yoga class you teach. Why is this? Why do people whose range of joint motion is so excessive as to be considered pathological flock to an activity with the potential to increase it further? There are a number of reasons. Continue reading

A Soothing Yoga Practice from Sian O’Neill

In these unprecedented and extraordinary times, we are all experiencing lots of different emotions. Yoga offers a set of tools to help us understand and soothe our minds when feeling overwhelmed, and to help both mind, body and soul.

Follow this soothing, relaxing practice with Sian O’Neill, for you to feel refreshed and reset. Take time out to nourish yourself.

 

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Developing a home yoga practice with Alison Leighton

Alison Leighton wrote a chapter on home practice in the Yoga Student Handbook: Develop Your Knowledge of Yoga Principles and Practice. She has been teaching yoga since 2010 and is registered with both the British Wheel of Yoga and Yoga Alliance. She teaches classes and workshops in studios and also on a one-to-one basis with private clients.

During this Coronavirus crisis, remaining healthy and motivated have become more important than ever. Fortunately, technology is on our side and there are many excellent live stream options for home yoga practice with your regular teachers.

To complement this, I highly recommend having a home yoga practice where you practice on your own. You effectively take charge of when you practice, what you practice and the duration of your practice. This gives you total flexibility, especially if you are short on time or you want to focus on something specific as opposed to doing a full spectrum class practice.

Where do you start?

OK, so you want to practice at home but you don’t know where to start or how to find the motivation. Continue reading

Yoga Student Handbook: Yoga Journeys – Liz Lark

Believing in its transformational power, Sian O’Neill has been practising yoga for over 15 years. The first book she edited for Singing Dragon, Yoga Teaching Handbook (Singing Dragon, 2017), was a great success – and with the publication of Yoga Student Handbook, Sian and the contributors share their tips and advice for yoga students and teacher trainees. In the second of three instalments about yoga journeys, Sian talks with Liz Lark, who has been teaching yoga for almost 25 years and has been a Board Member of Yogacampus since its inception in 2003.

We meet in Liz’s garden in Sussex. The garden is characterful and charming, with Turkish tiles above a pond, plentiful plants and artistic touches. Liz is as generous with her time as she is in her yoga classes, interspersing our conversation with many anecdotes and inspiring quotes (Liz’s memory for quotes from all sources is amazing).

How did you become interested in yoga?

A naturally sporty person, Liz Lark attended a yoga class as a teenager, where a teacher remarked (favourably) on how slowly she performed a simple movement of raising arms overhead – she was in the flow and enjoyed the coordination of movement and breath. Liz regularly returns to basics, although clearly an extremely proficient yoga practitioner, having taught yoga for over 20 years – ‘can I live in the present?’ She sees yoga ‘as a vehicle to explore creative expression, connect with the transcendent function with curiosity, without dogma, enjoying creative expression through ritual, singing, scent’. Continue reading

Thank you for attending our Virtual Yoga Summit!

The team at Singing Dragon would like to thank everyone who signed up, read, watched, listened or interacted with our first ever Virtual Yoga Summit. We believe that yoga really is for every body and we hope we managed to embrace that in this summit, putting a strong focus on accessibility, body positivity, empowerment and on yoga’s ‘whole person’ approach. Continue reading

Georgia Keal: Guided Meditation for Reducing Anxiety – Day Two

This guided meditation helps with reducing anxiety by releasing deep held tension that is created when we get anxious and our body tenses. It does this by shifting the energy from a anxious state to a relaxed one, using guided imagery of the chakras with a compassionate attention, using a focus of loving kindness towards the self. This meditation creates a deep sense of relaxation and reduces held tension to bring about a sense of inner peace and calm.


The Guided Meditation Handbook
Advice, Meditation Scripts and Hasta Mudra for Yoga Teachers
Georgia Keal

Help yoga students to access a deep state of relaxation with this guided meditation handbook. Offering yoga teachers scripts for guided meditations, students can learn how to cultivate positive emotions and let go of negative ones. Including practical information on how to set the scene for meditation in a yoga class, using music, lighting and props, the book also advises on how to introduce a meditation practice to yoga students. It explores the benefits of meditation for people from all walks of life, including sleep-deprived parents and those suffering from post-traumatic stress. Read more

 

Marlysa Sullivan: A meditation practice of inner well-being

Marlysa Sullivan is an assistant professor of Yoga Therapy and Integrative Health Sciences at Maryland University of Integrative Health. She is also adjunct faculty at Emory University in the doctor of physical therapy where she teaches an elective on integrating yoga into physical therapy care. Her research interests have focused on developing an explanatory model of yoga therapy based on philosophical and neurophysiological principles. She is the co-editor of the book Yoga and Science in Pain Care: Treating the Person in Pain (Singing Dragon, 2019).

In this video, Marlysa guides viewers through a meditation practice for inner well-being.

 


 Yoga and Science in Pain Care
Treating the Person in Pain
Edited by Neil Pearson, Shelly Prosko and Marlysa Sullivan. Foreword by Timothy McCall.

This is an integrated approach to pain rehabilitation that combines pain science, rehabilitation and yoga with evidence-based approaches from respected contributors. The book shows how to integrate the practices of yoga and pain science, and promotes the movement to a patient-valued, partnership-based biopsychosocial-spiritual model of healthcare. Read more

Neil Pearson: Informing the Language of Yoga Teachers with Pain Science

Language is powerful, as is pain. Both can be forceful motivators of behavioural change. Spoken language can be interpreted in many ways. Sometimes we even question whether words mean what we think they mean. Pain can be the same. We wonder whether pain really is intended to “get us to stop or change our behaviour”. We might also wonder “exactly what is it that I am supposed to change? Maybe the change I need to make is to stop responding this way to my pain!”

As a yoga teacher, leading groups in asana requires instructions that will keep your students safe. As such, cognitive contemplations such as the above are not well-suited as part of an asana practice dialogue. We use language that guides our students to be aware of what is happening in the present moment. We guide them to find the right challenge so they can explore preconceived notions, all the while staying present with, and not ignoring what’s happening now. We use language that provides options for change. “What would happen if you changed the way you are breathing right now?” “Or what you are thinking?” “Or if you let go of some of the aversion to the emotions or tension that you are feeling in your body right now?” In other words, we use language that encourages awareness and language that encourages self-regulation – often of body, breath, thoughts and emotions. Note that this language of awareness is not the same as asking a student to be aware “as the first step to change”. This is language that focuses on awareness as important in and of itself. Continue reading

Aggie Stewart: The Essence of Self

We are very sorry that our last live contributor, Aggie Stewart, won’t be able to share her live session with you today. We wish her the very best and hope she feels better soon! To ensure that she is still part of the Summit, we share a short extract from Aggie’s new book, ‘Yoga as Self-Care for Healthcare Practitioners‘. We do hope you enjoy it.

 

Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer

 

This is a challenging time to be a healthcare professional. Whether in education and clinical training or in professional practice, major aspects of the healthcare education and delivery landscape present inherent and well‑documented risks to the health and well-being of students and practitioners.

Currently, the effects of the epidemic of burnout and self-harm, blunted empathy, compassion fatigue, absenteeism, and attrition are being felt across the health professions. Research into the factors underlying the current state of practitioner wellness indicates that, for many, signs of burnout and its related consequences emerge during the education and training period and go unattended as graduates step into professional life.

As the healthcare professions grapple with the range of environmental and cultural issues that contribute to the current state of practitioner wellness, self-care has emerged as a pressing need for both students and practitioners. Broadly defined, self-care encompasses the ability to recognize and respond in an appropriate and positive manner to one’s needs on all levels: physical, energetic, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Increasingly, health professional schools, healthcare settings, and health professional associations are providing education on the importance of self‑care on all these levels along with training on specific aspects of selfcare, such as diet, exercise, finances, and activities that support self-care, such as yoga and other mind–body–spirit practices. Continue reading

Lana Skrypnyk: Creating a Safe Space for the LGBTQ+Community

As I write this, hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community are at their highest. A poll indicates that two-thirds of people identifying as LGBTQ+ are afraid for their safety when holding hands or displaying affection for their partners in public. 59% of all of those identifying as LGBTQ+ and 81% of those who are transgender report being called a slur in reference to their sexual and/or gender identity in the past year.

As I write this, I myself stand at a cross-roads of intersectionality. As a naturalized citizen immigrant, queer-identifying individual with several invisible disabilities, I have been afraid and anxious since 2016. I am also someone who suffers from mental health issues, including complex PTSD, and someone occupying a larger body than society deems “acceptable”. I have not always had the means to access healing spaces – such as the one that yoga can provide – for a variety of reasons, with cost and lack of representation by people looking like me at the top of the list. Unfortunately, with the Westernization of yoga and its cooptation by the fitness industry, high-end studio fees, expensive athletic clothing and equipment, and traditionally attractive, young, flexible white women on Instagram have become the norm associated with yoga. By sheer luck, I was able to get a Groupon deal to a local yoga studio that provided both diversity and a space where I felt safe enough to explore. I fell in love with yoga and decided I wanted to become a teacher in that very first class. For the first time in weeks, if not in my entire life, I was able to get out of my head for an hour, drop the persona so many of us who identify as LGBTQ+ or are “other” in some way have to keep up during the day, and just be. I wanted to provide the same experience to others like me. Continue reading