In December 2019 I finished a 6 month 100-hour training with physical therapists who taught us yoga through the lens of physical therapy. Their goal was to start bringing smart, anatomy and biomechanic-based yoga into the yoga world. They threaded in PT exercises in a way that makes sense in a vinyasa yoga class and especially for one-on-one yoga sessions. The training was really about looking at how people move and how we can help people move better and be in less pain by using yoga and movement.
I’m going to be totally honest here – the reason I took this training was to get a really clear understanding of biomechanics and anatomy. Some of you may know I’m also a personal trainer, and that’s what that venture started out as as well. And here’s why:
There is a serious problem in the yoga teacher training world. We do not get trained to move bodies around. There’s very little focus on anatomy and even less of a focus on biomechanics, or how bodies move. A training can have as little as 5 hours of focus on these really important topics. The Yoga Alliance (which is all bullshit in my opinion – but that’s an email for another time lol) requires 20 hours of “anatomy” training, but what falls into that? Chakras. Koshas. Energetic “anatomy”. It only requires 5 hours of the sciencey-anatomy and biomecahnics. The Threesphysiyoga training was 100 HOURS of the sciencey anatomy and biomechanics. HUGE difference.
Let’s be realistic. That energetic stuff is all good and fine but at the end of the day you are moving your body around and don’t you want your trusted yoga instructor to understand why they’re asking you to do the things they’re asking you to do? I know I do and that’s why I took this training.
Before this training, I filled in the gaps with my personal training certification, as well as being in physical therapy myself for the last 2-3 years. My PT is awesome and teaches me why he’s telling me to do what I’m doing and explains how the body works so I can understand why I’m doing the exercises. Having this knowledge not only feels empowering for me, but it helps me understand the movements so when I’m doing them on my own I know what I should be feeling and what I shouldn’t be feeling.
I want to be this type of yoga teacher for my students, so that’s why I took this training. I want you to leave my class feeling like you understood the direction it was going in and why I asked you to make that small adjustment with your foot. I want you to take home what you learned in class and be able to use it if you decide to get on the mat at home. I want you to understand why your lower back might be hurting you and even more importantly WHAT YOU CAN DO TO MAKE IT FEEL BETTER!
That being said, this training has completely changed my life, and subsequently I hope it changes the lives of my students – both in person and in my online studio. Personally I think my teaching has changed pretty drastically. It’s slowed down and gotten way more specific.
Right now I’m really into making smaller movements to feel bigger things. I’m interested in asking my students questions about what they’re feeling such as can you find where you initiate your movement in a cat cow? Where does that show up in a bigger pose? Can you move your pelvis without moving your spine? Can you move your spine without moving your pelvis?
If you’re interested in this stuff send me a message or leave a comment and ask me any questions you have about movement or the body or yoga or maybe you’re in pain and you want to figure out how yoga can help. I want to make it clear that I’m NOT a physical therapist, but I was taught yoga through the lens of physical therapy for the last 6 months and I really think there’s a way to use yoga to help people in pain.
Till next time,
P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post and want more yoga tips to help you build a stronger, more flexible and dependable body, join my mailing list where I send out weekly tips like this. You can sign up here. Please also feel free to share this with anyone who you think might benefit from these tips!