That's my Mom in the photo above.
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Welcome. This is my Yoga Class Syllabus, one page on my large no-charge my web site, DrBookspan.com. My work is evidence-based primary-source sports medicine that you can use yourself, right away, to fix back pain, neck pain, knee pain, other injuries, and learn healthier training methods. I also put fun stories on this web site of my lab research in environmental medicine of the human body in extremes of heat, cold, injury states, altitude, underwater, and different nutritional states.
There are hundreds of articles for you on this site. Main navigation links (Site Map) are at the bottom of this page (and every page on this site), along with Sharing Buttons.
We do what yoga claims - body and mind - at the same time
If you are strong and brave--or want to be--come learn this exhilarating, physical form of yoga, based on Ashtanga. You'll need to use your brain for this often humorous fusion of tradition, sports medicine, and common sense.
Learn why many poses were never intended for health, so it is no mystery when they injure. Many poses have origins in penance, performance art for telling stories of war or devotion to deities or nature, for self-examination through self-punishment, tradition and dogma, and many reasons other than the health of your knees, back, and other physical parts.
Learning "the right way" to do poses often means faithfully copying a movement the way it is done for all the reasons other than health. Instead of teaching you how to "do" a pose, I teach you how to use healthier positioning and body mechanics during each pose, when moving from pose to pose, when you pick up your things and walk out of class, at home and work, fixing meals, and for all you do.
No previous yoga experience needed, only enthusiasm to learn and make an effort. Advanced practitioners welcome. Teacher training and certification available. We build skill, confidence, strength, and ability of your body, mind, and spirit each week. Break down misconceptions and change injurious movement habits. Come ready to move, think, smile, fix bad habits, use great energy, then generate more.
See my Class page for locations and schedules, and how to apply for instructor training.
All available from the BOOKS page or at discount in class. Click the covers for info.
As an instructor I believed I was supposed to instruct - to teach. My yoga classes are taught, rather than a follow-along. New students often come expecting to only do specific gestures no matter how bad for their joints, and not have to think or learn health. They are surprised, some even angry - a yoga irony - especially when they are wearing expensive yoga apparel with little maxims about love, understanding, or "openness."
These same people often come to my class because their doctor said yoga will fix their back or knee pain. I see how they stand and move in injurious ways. I tell them how to easily spot and fix those things right then, so that we can start class using that knowledge while they move. They are angry (again). They don't see why I am talking when they are there to do the magic poses that will fix them. I explain once more that poses cannot fix them when they are moving their knees and back (and neck and so on) in obvious injury-causing bad angles and slouches. They are impatient and say they know they have bad posture and the yoga will fix it. Here is a secret: Yoga doesn't fix it. Read more to see what does:
What is Taught
- Injury prevention by changing unhealthy stretches and movement patterns - Not all yoga moves were ever intended for health.
- Learn which traditional yoga poses injure, which are counterproductive or useless and repeated out of ritual, and how and why to change them. It's ok to change yoga to make it healthy if your purpose of doing yoga is for health (rather than penance or purification through self-harm, and injurious moves that were for performance art).
- To be able to tell what is healthy or unhealthy movement, and which your body is doing. Then to be able to move out of unhealthy position into healthy position (without making a big deal out of it. Healthy movement doesn't require the drama of some yoga formats).
- Healthy ergonomics for daily life, not only a bunch of poses. Instead of doing a contrived or injurious pose and claiming it gives you good posture, we learn actual healthy body movement, practice it with poses, and learn to use the same healthy positioning for specific daily life movement.
- How people miss accomplishing the purpose of yoga by "doing" yoga.
- Understanding yoga myths, injury prevention, partner yoga, and how to transfer healthy movement, breathing, focus, and positive thinking, not only to class but daily life.
- How to improve muscular strength and endurance and how to consciously transfer that to real life.
- Confidence, determination, positive spirit by keeping going even when we really use the body.
- Make an effort - that's why it's called "exercise."
- Learn to stop whining when life challenges you (yoga class as metaphor for life) - "Closed minds are easily broken when the face hits the mat."
- Remember sense of humor.
- Instead of contortions as a goal in themselves, we use knowledge of what is healthy movement and learn to apply to that to everything else you do. For example, how to reach arms up and get an actual stretch of the shoulder - without rounding or raising shoulders which is bad for the rotator cuffs, and without leaning the upper body backward which compresses and folds the lumbar spine and loses the intended shoulder stretch. Then we apply that to all moves, and then to reaching up at home and work.
- If your expensive yoga t-shirt says that yoga makes you peaceful, strong, and open minded, do not complain or yell at the teacher when class uses your body to work, or mind to learn something new and different.
Why we stand up In class
- Most of my class moves are taught standing and moving so you can practice your new healthier positioning during class. Then you apply it the same way after class for all your other standing and moving, for injury and pain prevention during real life.
- It is established that sitting and lying down is not as healthy as activity. What sense does it make to sit at home or work all day, then change clothes, go to a yoga class, to sit, kneel, and lie down? We learn relaxed focused habits for standing, moving, and balancing for real life, that you can use immediately. If the only way you can "relax" is to lie down, how can you get things done or have a real life?
- We learn and practice how to be relaxed at the same time as standing and moving - that is how mind AND body works. We directly increase strength and flexibility so that most kneeling poses are not needed. Why add to knee compression when you can exercise your leg, arm, and core muscles by getting off the knees.
- The moves we learn while sitting, directly incorporate how to change sitting in general all the time to healthier positioning.
What is the difference between my beginner yoga class and my advanced yoga class?
- My beginners need to be reminded to use healthy position of their shoulder, neck, back, knees in each pose. Advanced students can do the same poses using healthy movement mechanics without being reminded.
- How long should the above take? Ideally, five minutes. Ten at most. It is mystifying to spend an hour repeatedly teaching healthy mechanics to people, who then go to their next fitness class and bend badly to get their weights, lift using bad body mechanics, bend over wrong to get their water bottle, and slouch to dress and leave class. Of course, practice helps. Come to class to practice applying healthier movement to all you do.
- The most frequent complaint about my classes is that they are "advanced." The most advanced thing we do is actually have to think and learn what is healthy, know if you are doing that, and adjust if not - knowing what you are doing compared to what you think you are doing. I consider that the most elementary and baseline of things that you can learn and do. It's like the moral directive to go out in the world and be good. To me that is basic. To many it is advanced. Either way, it is needed and you can get it here with me. I give you opportunity and support to be able to advance, and that's good.
Anyone Can Steer The Ship When The Sea Is Calm
It's easy to be calm and focused sitting in a quiet room staring at a candle. What about real life when babies (of all kinds) are screaming and you need to stay safe and in charge? Original yogas and meditations used martial arts techniques of the warriors, using muscles to balance, more muscles to hold the body in position - even when it's hard or you are concentrating on something else, and practice staying diligent and courageous while training the body to live in a strong and capable manner in an uncertain world. Other yogas specialized in certain parts of yoga - to meditate while sitting, or stretch, or breathe as separate activities - but they kept the original claims of making the whole body strong, straight, and focused in difficult circumstances.
The yoga I teach trains thinking, concentration, and body at the same time, to stay strong and focused even in the real world. Once you learn the first few moments of the concept of mediation, the secret is that you are supposed to use it when you stand up. Instead of sitting, we try it standing, then moving. Then you remember to apply it while cleaning the house, raking leaves, and interacting with people.
Dr. Jolie Bookspan is an award-winning research scientist and injury specialist that Harvard School of Medicine named "The St. Jude of the Joints" for methods to fix pain thought hopeless. Her training and pain rehab innovations are used by SEAL teams and the top doctors and spine centers around the world. Yoga instructors, personal trainers, and fitness experts come to her as patients, along with athletes and physicians. Dr. Bookspan is a 4th degree black belt in karate, an undefeated full contact Muay Thai boxer, Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine, and Master Instructor of the Year 2009. She began learning yoga as a child with her Grandmother, is certified in several yoga systems around the world, and is a registered yoga teacher (RYT) above the 500 hour level with over 5000 documented class hours. She has been honored with The Humanitarian Award for her work in World Community Health. She has written 11 medical textbooks, encyclopedia chapters on science and physiology, and books to change medicine and exercise back to health. She studied and taught in India, China, Nepal, Thailand, Japan, the Netherlands, and North Africa, and brings you their art, medicine, music, and magic
What Students Say About Healthier Yoga With Dr. Bookspan
"Dr. Bookspan teaches us ways to exercise and live daily without doing harmful things to our bodies, not just do poses. Take this class. It will positively affect your thinking and change your life."
- Lily Stepnowski
"You are a wonderful instructor, teacher, mentor
and have the rare ability to make people feel that the magic IS inside, not worn around the neck."
- Stuart Wood
"The class is very physical and the best exercise I have done.
You accomplish something that you thought you couldn't."
- Jon Aguila, Architect
"The class made me think and learn to control my actions. To be able to concentrate in a crazy world.
This class is the best thing you can do for yourself. I will take more classes."
- David Stockett
"Warrior Yoga is an "attitude" without one."
- Alane M. Salvatore
"Dr. Bookspan's class is the best thing I have ever done for myself.
She knows how to encourage people to challenge themselves,
and has an infectiously positive/optimistic attitude - unlike any yoga teacher I have ever encountered. The class challenged me and showed me that I can push my body (gently) in ways I never thought possible. I was amazed at the moves/poses I was able to do. My life is better Take this class!! If you want to push yourself a little and learn some really great yoga and draw on Jolie's rich experiences and knowledge."
- Geoff Belforti
"The class is more encouraging than others, wonderful, and fun.
Dr. Jolie Bookspan inspires me in many ways. I learned to keep trying and smile."
- Ukari Iesaka
"Dr. Jolie truly cares for all her students, shows it in her daily life,
and knows more about the true purpose and practice of yoga
than any yoga teachers I have encountered in my long life."
- Mr. Sharma, India
"This class has been so amazing in that it has taught me a different kind of yoga.
My job is extremely physically demanding and I have previously been injured on the job and attended physical therapy where I learned how to heal. This class makes me feel like I learned how to not get hurt!! I found it impressive that I worked so hard and felt so relaxed afterward and it's not the typical "slow" yoga. I can't wait for kickboxing. Dr. Bookspan's perspective is fantastic and inspiring."
- Laura Singewald
"We never felt physically better and more in shape, and happier, than when we took Dr. Jolie's classes"
- Juan and Mariu Rico
"I was a yoga teacher more than 20 years
and told my students yoga fixes injuries. However, yoga was paining me greatly- wrists, knees, neck, elbows, back...
After only a class with the Doctor Jolie showed me why and I was already feeling improved.
I learned the smarter technique of yoga and also, what she was saying:
how to use the better way of moving even outside of the class session."
- Kali Rajyana
A Success Story From A ReaderOn Nov 14, 2012, jdaj jdaj wrote:
"Dear Dr. Bookspan,
"Thank-you for everything that you have done for me, giving me hope and a way to alleviate my pain through functional movement. All the questions I've had regarding movement and posture you have answered, thank-you. I found you after I completed my Yoga Teacher Training and I became bed-ridden. Disk degeneration in my lower back was the cause of my pain and no hope for recovery was the prognosis from the doctor, and then I found you. I've bought many of your amazing books and I've given copies to my family and friends and the local Reading Center has purchased two of your books."
A Success Story From A Patient
On Oct 12, 2014, at 4:31 AM, James Michie wrote:
"Years of high impact sports and a misspent youth in a gymnasium had left me with persistent knee soreness, lower back pain and a horribly painful shoulder all on my dominant left hand side.
"I'd spent thousands of dollars on physios, chiropractors and 'specialists' who'd injected me with cortisone and pushed me out the door telling me there was not much more they could do. Around this time I discovered yoga and in my usual obsessive way i signed on at a yoga school and practiced 4 hours per day for a year. I'd even had the yoga school's swarmi a 120kg man stand on my back with wooden shoes on and proceed to grind into my back with his wooden heels!It was real desperation stuff. Surely, I thought, if people had been practicing yoga for thousands of years to cure all sorts of physical ailments then all I had to do was stick to the program and i would be healed. I couldn't understand why my lower back felt worse and my shoulder continued to ache.
"By pure chance, a "Dr Jolie devotee" crossed my path and urged me to look at her web site. That was when the penny dropped. I realized that all these 'traditional' yoga poses: forward bends, shoulder stands, spinal twists had been making things worse not better!"I was fortunate enough that Dr Jolie agreed to a personal appointment with me and I flew out of my jungle yoga hide away and headed for Philadelphia. I learned that many of the poses that are taught in yoga are working in complete opposition to how the body functions.
"I discovered that I had a considerable forward head tilt and a very tight hip flexor muscle. Dr Jolie taught me healthy yoga techniques; neutral spine, correct my forward head tilt and stretch out my hip flexor muscles effectively, and this made all the difference. Right away. My lower back pain continued to leave me (for the first time in 20 years !) and after a couple of months of remembering to practice holding my head in healthy position, and stretching out my hip flexor muscles using healthy position during my regular walking and activities, my shoulder and knee pain vanished.
"Thank you Dr Jolie your help and guidance has been a life saver."
James Michie, Melbourne Australia
Your Successes Featured HereSend your photos and stories of changing bad yoga to good and I will feature them here with your name and photo rights. Send to - Success @DrBookspan.com.
A helpful perspective is that yoga is not a bunch of gestures you do that automatically make you focused and brave and strong and healthy. It is how you apply them all to your real life.
Claims of Strengthening But Not Doing Strengthening
As with many art forms, people often specialize - yoga classes became stretch, or "the breathing" or "mind and body" - omitting (often forgetting entirely) the original purpose - deliberate application to real life (like thinking that being a better person through religion comes from doing a series of gestures inside a room of worship). Some classes focus on "the breathing" thinking it will, in itself, automatically help real life in some way, forgetting that how it works is actually applying it when you stand up and have a real life. The same applies to healthy body position. "Posture" is not a single exercise, or holding in place, but knowledge that you apply when you move in class, move into and out of poses, and even more importantly, when you leave class and have a real life of motion, housework, interaction with family. Not all the yoga styles are good exercise. Some are not enough for strength - they were never intended for that. But the claims of total benefit are retained, even for styles never intended for those paths. More on this in class.
Not All Yoga Poses Were Ever Intended for Joint and Muscle Health
Most important is that not all of the many different kinds and forms of yoga are good for your health. Many developed from reasons having nothing to do with self-benefit or knowledge of your joints. Many poses were intended for penance, austerity, or purification through pain. The word, "sacrifice" comes from the Latin word meaning "to make holy" and there are moves intended to produce pain and sacrifice. That does not mean that pain will make your knee joints holy. Group suffering is often a good seller too. Many standard yoga poses were originally dance moves or war and fighting stances. Many were performance art - contortions to make some coins in the marketplace and to entertain. Dance, like football, is not done for the performers' health. Think of runway models stomping, tilting, and exaggerating their motions. They go to training to walk like that, called "the right way" - which means for their art form, certainly it is not healthy, and often not even attractive to those who know healthy movement. Yoga has many of the same kinds of distorted movements, which came from specific purposes, often changed over time.These moves were all swept up, without thought, into classes that believe any yoga is only for health, and any move will be healthy no matter how harmful. This is like taking the practice of the priests who beat themselves with nettles for purification and the penitents of the Middle Ages wearing uncomfortable hair shirts, and making that a pop specialty fitness class with all kinds of health and fitness claims and certifications.
I took the above photograph when I studied in India and Nepal. Yoga contortions were well known as performance art. See the outstretched hand? It's not a yoga mudra for enlightenment, unless you mean from the bills and coins he is clutching while asking for more. Viewers had to pay per photo, or for gawking time. The health was from the fun of it for the audience, not from the poses. This pose is also known to jam the femoral head (top of leg bone) into the hip socket, often eventually stripping or tearing hip socket cartilage. Then upper class people, thinking yoga is only for health, do these poses and wind up with hip pain and damage.
Yoga Was Not Always A Peaceful Practice
Years ago Yogi sects murdered each other for power, followers, money, land, and all the usual reasons. Now they sue each other, each claiming ownership of the practices they sell (while claiming they do yoga for peace and knowledge for all and openness and love and sharing), charge enormous sums of money to people who think they will learn how to be simple, and do poses known not for health.
Simple Principles for Smarter Healthier Yoga
Several Ways Yoga Causes Back Pain and Herniated Discs in Back and Neck
Injuries from yoga are not just overuse or doing things wrong. In specific cases, the moves themselves are inherently unhealthy and bad for the joints. Poses like shoulder stands, plow, rabbit, and others that compress the spine forward are medically documented to put herniating forces on discs in the neck (and promote bone spurs) and touching toes bent over from a stand or sitting leaning forward make the same herniating forces on lower back discs.
Most people have heard it is not healthy to bend over and pick up a package, but will go to gyms and yoga classes and bend over the same way to pick up weights or touch their toes. Here is why it is not just bad form, but bad bending. It is not necessary to do any forward bends to stretch. More is in the STRETCHING SMARTER STRETCHING HEALTHIER article.
How Yoga Forward Bends Are Like Bending Over Wrong To Lift Packages
Following is a short summary of forward bends causing so many injuries. More is in the free DISC Pain article
Most people know that rounding your back to bend and lift is unhealthy over the long term. Armed with that, they leap to the idea that doing the same bend but with a straight back will prevent problems and be healthy. However, bending over forward with a straight back increases load on the lower spine. The same is true for sitting forward bends - with different forces added for the different joint angles and load distributions of sitting.
No hip hinges are healthy or functional to bend for regular use.
Please mentally adjust the hip hinge drawing (second from left) to include the several different variations of hip hinges. I could show the math, but wanted to keep this simple. Use the CONCEPTS, please, and use healthier ways of moving and bending. If you want healthier hamstring stretches, use the Fix Back Pain page and the Hamstring Study Page.
- More about the science and myths of healthy bending and movement and healthier more functional hamstring stretches is in the Back Pain Article.
- What about the common, "roll up one vertebra at a time?" That came from dance. It never was based on healthy spine positioning, but positioning as an art form, and a brief range of motion to be done now and then, not done to continually practice a rounded back.
- I did studies that found no relation between hamstring flexibility and lower back pain - click to see why it is so often mistakenly prescribed for back pain.
Yoga and Back Spasm and TIghtness
Yoga is often prescribed for back pain, however many common poses and practices are causes of pain. Others are mistaken for cures, here is how to tell more for yourself:
Back spasm and tightness can often be quickly relieved with specific brief stretches that directly lengthen specific muscle(s) in line with how they are shortened in spasm. Unfortunately, sometimes a stretch that should be used only on the rare occasions needed to take out a lumbar spasm is mistaken for something to do daily - like forward bending stretches, which when done all the time, cause their own kind of back pain (explained above and in the Disc Pain article). Yoga Triangles and twists are more examples. When used for a brief stretch - meaning two to three seconds at most - and not forced too far, can give a nice range of motion, give a brief healthy spongy movement to the discs. If a spasm is along that specific side area, then a brief 2-4 second Triangle (simple side bend, no yoga classes needed) or specific direct gentle twist, if done right and specifically along the position needed could release it - used as a one or two-time application. When Yoga Triangle and twist poses are regularly done and maintained static for the long periods of time held in many classes, they put sheer force on the discs (a large component to herniation) and restrict circulation. Regular long side bends, forward bending, twists, and triangles are not needed or healthy.
If you continually go back to bad habits that make pain return, and claim you have to do yoga every day to fix it, then your yoga is not fixing the causes. It may even be the cause. See the Fix Back Pain article, the Fix Disc Pain article, and the Fix Back Pain Felt From Standing, Walking Running (S.I. Facet, and spondy pain) for more.
"Send a fool to pray to God - he will bruise his forehead"
~ Russian Proverb
For All Classes - Transfer Healthful Movement Mechanics Learned in Class for Daily LifeNeutral Spine
Below is a short mpeg video of how to change overarched (hyperlordotic) lower spine to neutral for lunge and warrior:
If the above video does not load on your device, try from my Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thefitnessfixer/17238176351/Note that in this video, my student, David does not change hip position fully along with reducing lumbar curve - the pelvis does not change position from tilted to vertical. Learn to move your lower back AND pelvis, both, for best stretch and neutral spine. He also does not bring arms to vertical, but keeps them forward which reduces shoulder stretch. More neutral spine description and role in stopping back pain from hyperlordosis on the Abs Page.
Use Neutral Spine in Poses.
Don't overarch and overdo jutting the hip out in back when doing Utkatasana or mighty pose, bending knees while standing until in a sitting position: "Get Better Exercise From Your Chair" (Healthline removed it. Use the Neutral Spine web page on this site to learn and practice.)
Sit and Rise Without your Hands
" Quick and Easy Strength and Balance Exercise." (Healthline removed it. See more about balance in real life movement on the Functional Fitness Page, where I also put the video for this article)
Daily Movement Habits
"Household Fitness in the New Year". Good bending and balancing is not only for poses, but all life. Use the poses to practice them, but use good bending and balancing for real the rest of the day, obviously. (Healthline removed it. See more about balance and good bending in real life movement on the Functional Fitness Page.)
One legged balance stance with crossed leg.
I called it "putting on shoe" In yoga it has many names including "half chair" and "standing ankle to knee" "standing pigeon" "flamingo pose" and others.
Read - Ancient Shoe Exercise for Hip Stretch and Balance on the Fitness as a LIfestyle page. There is also a video. Understand that being able to stand and dress yourself is a bare minimum baseline health skill. It makes no sense to pay for yoga classes, get changed to go to yoga classes, and do yoga poses of the same skill, yet not be able to dress yourself for real.Below is our friend Joe Blatt demonstrating balance and posterior hip stretch with the "Shoe Stretch." He is not leaning against the door. I know because I took this photo myself:
It is sad to see students of yoga classes do all their moves, claim yoga fixes posture, then immediately after class, sit slouched to dress and bend in unhealthy way, missing the point and lesson of learning anything claimed to be posture and health in class. Below are two photos of that problem - strangely common among yoga devotees. This student came to my class for the first time having done years of yoga elsewhere, stating she believed yoga fixes her posture, listened (impatiently) to all I explained and repeated about using healthy position for real life, how important it is, and to be aware...) then refused to actually use healthy posture during the poses in class, and did the following after class:In Yoga heart, everyone is our teacher. I thank her for being instructive.
Bad bending is still injurious force on the spine, even if you call it yoga. See details earlier on this page and more below.
Class OutlinesI had originally created an extensive individual class syllabus. For each class, I provided free movies, readings, concepts, stories. I had uploaded them to my Fitness Fixer column, which ran on Healthline from 2006 to 2010. After they ended my column, they were supposed to keep the articles, but they have been removing them, and replacing mine with their own articles that sell their products. I found this BlogSpot archive that still has some of the articles, and allows a search to group topics together on one page. Try here for some of my yoga articles:
Class 1 Short Readings:
- Not all yoga moves are needed all the time. Not all were intended to be for health. Avoid dogmatic application of yoga with Getting the Right Yoga Medicine.
- Focus doesn't mean staring at a candle. Some info on focus, the seventh limb of Ashtanga Yoga, for real daily life: Which Ancient Exercise Gives Focus and Concentration? (Healthline took this one down. It is now on my Emotional Health page).
Class 1 Healthier Stretching:
- Here is why we don't stretch hamstrings by bending over: Sitting Badly Isn't Magically Healthy by Calling It a Hamstring Stretch. (Healthline took this one down. It is now on my Hamstrings page).
- The same goes for standing bent over to touch toes. Here is a healthier, more effective, functional hamstring stretch instead: Healthier Hamstring Stretching. (Healthline took this one down. It is now on my Hamstrings page).
- I did studies that found no relation between hamstring flexibility and lower back pain - click to see why it is so often mistakenly prescribed for back pain.
Class 1 Textbook Reading:
Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier: Introduction page 8. Overstretching Bad Habits In Daily LIfe 87-98. Hamstring 28-34. Lower Back 58.
Health & FItness THIRD edition: Preface page 8, Why Should You Be Active pages 10-19, Making Bad Exercises Into Good Movement 97-125, Getting Out of Shape and How To Avoid it 133-137.
Healthy Martial Arts: Forward, Introduction, Lifestyle, to page 8. Flexibility 60-101.
Perspective"The Blind Men and the Elephant" is a poem by American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) based on a fable from India. School children used to learn it to understand how people, even whole countries come to blows, not over truth, but their own limited viewpoint:
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, "Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
" 'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
Problems come when people insist that yoga is the total "heal-all" or that it provides health and focus and discipline and exercise, forgetting that their form of yoga is only part of the whole, and that many of the yoga styles were never intended for that one result, let alone all results.
Little modern yoginis wearing expensive yoga clothes printed with cliches of love and openness get angry and superior at others who don't "know" yoga - when theirs is another part, not the one they learned. Think how often people and countries come to blows over the same.
For Class 2:
Class 2 Short Readings:
"Unhealthy Yoga Ankles" and "Knee Pain When Running - Check Your Yoga." (Looks like Healthline took these down. Check the BlogSpot archives for ankles and this one for knees, or see my Fix Pain movies about this on the Patient Succeess page).
Class 2 Healthier Stretching:
Fast Fitness - Don't Shorten Hip When Stretching Hamstring. (Healthline took these down. Check the BlogSpot archives for hip and hip strength - http://healthlinefitnessfixer.blogspot.com/search/label/hip%20strength)
Class 2 Healthier Ankle positioning information:
Fast Fitness - Sprain Prevention and Rehab Training. (Healthline took these down. Check the BlogSpot archives for ankles)
Class 2 Short Fun Movie to Watch:
Remember that using strength and moving the body is wonderful, and if you feel effort, that's the idea.I teach many of the moves in the following video in my yoga and other classes. Beginners can start learning them with me with good success, if they work and try. I have had yoga instructors who come my classes, curse and storm out at the first effort, whining that it is effort. They claim yoga makes them strong and loving, then throw tantrums, but that is for another story. Watch this short video to see children do some of the moves we do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZLaZyMpfUI
Class 2 Textbook Reading:
Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier: Achilles Tendon 12-17. Sitting 18, 23-24. Daily Life as Stretching 103-104.
Health & FItness THIRD edition: Innovations in Stretching 55-70, You Don't Need A Gym For Real Fitness-Fitness As A Lifestyle 82-96.
Healthy Martial Arts: Abdomen and Core 43-59. Prevent Injuries 162-196
Class Two Mind Set Uplift:
Reset your goals and never complain my class is hard again:
If video does not load, try - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sMc-p19FIk.
For Class 3:
Class 3 Short Readings for Healthier Yoga:
"Fast Fitness - Prevent Wrist Pain During Pushups and Cooking," and "Knee Pain When Running - Check Your Yoga." It looks like Healthline took these down. Check the BlogSpot archives for wrists and this one for knees, or see my Fix Pain movies about this on the Patient Succeess page).
Class 3 Textbook Reading:
Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier: Warrior balance 36-37. Downward Dog 14, Shoulder 61-63. Neck 71-74. Cobra 75. Leg 18-20. Ankle and Hip 25-27.
Health & FItness THIRD edition: Exercise Gimmicks 38-40, Abdominal Muscles-What They Do May Surprise You 71-81.
Healthy Martial Arts: Healthy Mind 123-127, Spirit 128-141, Breathing 142-144.
Class Three Mind Set Uplift:
Does yoga give you love and acceptance and peace and good posture, and cure all injuries?
"Air Pushups" I found that Healthline took down this fun one. I put most of it back on my web page about Fitness as a Lifestyle. Check for it there.
For All Classes - For Healthier Poses and Stopping Poses that Harm (Ritualized injury)
If you are doing yoga to exalt to deities, to do penance, for purposes of causing pain to purify or remember earthly and heavenly purposes, then poses that injure the body are understandable. Not all poses were intended to be for health. If you try yoga poses for health, isn't it foolish to use the unhealthful ones?
Then there are many poses that would be fine, but are done in unhealthful, injurious ways. The following can be good for you when you understand how to use healthful positioning:
Readings below are from my column The Fitness Fixer which ran on Healthline.com from 2006 to 2010. When the company ended my column they removed all my movies, all comments, and the accompanying illustrations and photos. Come to class for the graphics
Warrior 3 or Virabhadrasana III
Stand on one foot, stretch arms forward and one leg lifted back
"Fast Fitness - Stronger, Straighter Upper Back with a better Warrior 3" - Healthline removed this one.
Plank, Chaturanga Pose, 4 Legged Staff Pose - holding a pushup position
Fast Fitness - Strengthen by Changing Your Plank
The short video below shows fixing swayback to neutral spine for planks. Planks and pushups do not work your abs or help your back without using neutral spine.
If the video above does not load on your device, click directly from my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thefitnessfixer/16884539117/
Plank, Chaturanga lifting one arm and leg, 2 Legged Staff Pose
"Abdominal Muscle Exercise - Better, Different, Not What You Think" - Healthline removed this article. See how abdominal are supposed to work during real life on my page for Abdominal Muscles and Spine Position.
Mighty Chair Pose
Instead of artificial, over-stylized chair pose, we use simple half-squat for good bending as a functional daily lifestyle action to strengthen legs, stretch achilles tendon, and avoid bad forward bending that degenerates lumbar discs:
- Free Exercise and Free Back and Knee Pain Prevention
- Healthy Bending and and Knee Pain When Running, Check Your Yoga.
- How Often Should You Be Healthy?
Healthline removed the above articles. Come to class, or read the Functional Fitness page for these concepts.
Nice toe stretches when sitting in Zeza
Healthy Toe Stretches
How To Start with an easy Handstand or Adho Mukha Vrksasana (means Downward Facing Tree Pose)
Description - "Quick and Fun Arm and Body Strengthener."
Then add ekapada, or one leg stretch - "Leg Stretch that Strengthens Arms"
Healthline removed these. Try my Blogspot Yoga archive - http://healthlinefitnessfixer.blogspot.com/search/label/yoga
and the Blogspot archive of FItness Fixers on handstands - http://healthlinefitnessfixer.blogspot.com/search/label/handstand
Advancing Your Handstands
- " Fast Fitness - Add Balance, Stability, and Portability to Military Press - Handstand Pushups"
Healthline removed all the handstand articles. Try my Fitness as a Lifestyle page and scroll down tot he Handstand section.
Learn how to Step Up To An Easy Wall Handstand on my Functional Fitness Lifestyle page - descriptions, drawings, and short movies.
Here is a short movie where my student Dennis demonstrates an easy step up to wall handstand PLUS, changing swayback lumbar spine to neutral spine:
If this short movie doesn't load or show up on your device, click the link below to see it on my Flickr Account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thefitnessfixer/17003384442/
In the first few seconds, my student Dennis steps each foot back and up onto the wall
The red arrows and frown show where he allows swayback lower spine. Swayback causes spine joint compression and shows lack of abs use,
The green arrows and smile show the change in spine and hip positon to neutral spine. Healthier for spine, more exercise.
Thank you Steve Kramer PhotoEnvisions (http://seatraveler.com) for arrows and faces indicating teaching points.Textbook Readings - Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier: Handstand stretch 40. Warrior balance 36-37. Yoga on the ball 28-39. Downward Dog 14. Boat 76. Face 84.
Prevent Yoga Injuries - Learn These for All Classes
- Prevent wrist pain and compression during Chaturanga - "Fast Fitness - Prevent Wrist Pain During Pushups and Cooking"
- Spot and fix the commonest mistake that stresses the lower spine in handstand - "Fast Fitness - Fixing Your Handstand to Neutral Spine"
- We never do The Stretch You Need The Least
- Watch for this mistake in ankle positioning in Sukhasana or easy sitting pose, Padmasana or Lotus pose, and Baddha Konasana bound angle cobbler's pose - "Unhealthy Yoga Ankles"
- Why we use other stretches and not Pascimottananasana which translates as "back extension" stretch, although anatomically it is back flexion, or forward bending while sitting with legs straight in front - "Sitting Badly Isn't Magically Healthy by Calling it a Hamstring Stretch"Explanation of why Pascimottananasana pose injures the vertebral discs whether it is done with straight or rounded back - "Disc Pain, Not A Mystery, Easy To Fix"
- Watch for this lower spine injury in yoga - Photos and understanding of a common slouch and why it hurts - Prevent Back Surgery
- Textbook - Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier: Shoulder 61-63. Neck 71-74. Cobra 75. Leg 18-20. Ankle and Hip 25-27. Stretches That Make You Tighter 85-86
.Fitness Fixer Readings For All Classes
- I found a Blogspot archive with several important yoga Fitness Fixers(tm) on one page, many with the original movies, photos, and illustrations - Click and benefit: http://healthlinefitnessfixer.blogspot.com/search/label/yoga
Emotional and Mental Fitness Training For All ClassesMental & Emotional Training - a page of Dr. Bookspan's short articles for stronger emotional health.
Click the Nutrition page for quick helpful information about many needed components of Healthier Nutrition.
Talk doesn't cook rice. -- Chinese proverb. Get to class!
Get instant updates about classes, new projects, Fitness Fixes, and other. Short and easy on my Twitter: www.Twitter.com/TheFItnessFixerKarma Yoga Through Sharing
Karma Yoga Through DoingJoin projects for health of one and all - Projects.
Dr. Bookspan's Yoga Classes and Students
Vibrant, happy, physical. We learn to focus and breath *while* you move, instead of one at a time.
Koundinyasana B or Aka Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1?
Double Viparita Dandasana B
(poses) go by many names. Founders differed with each other; disciples disagreed
what their teachers said
Different people like different names.
To Be Injury and Pain-Free
- All techniques in this class are intended to decrease injury potential and improve function starting as soon as you begin using them.
- You should feel effort and exercise in your muscles during and after class, but no strain, twisting, or pain to joints. If something hurts, you may not be positioning yourself properly. Check with Dr. Bookspan.
- Do not do anything that increases joint pain or injury potential.
- Pain may occur if you use bad positioning habits and exercises that strain muscles and put joints into unhealthy positioning. Don't do that.
- Keep healthy common sense and use your brain.
- Practice until healthy motion becomes natural and the way you move for all daily life.
- Ask questions.
- Enjoy improving your mind and body. Smile. Relax. Breathe.
- Schedule private appointment, if needed.
Your Own Pain - Without Drugs or Surgery
Health & Fitness in Plain English, Third edition - how to be healthy, happy, and fit for the rest of your life. How to fix pain, plus nutrition, diabetes, cholesterol, heart, blood bone health, more.
Eka Pada Bakasana A
or Eka Pada Galavasana -- Eka = one, Pada = foot. The sage Galava was a pupil of Vasishta.
Bound Utthita Trivikramasana (Utthita means extended)
Fix Pain Summaries
on This Web Site To Learn Healthy Movement and Avoid Yoga Injuries
Stretching and Flexibility for Real Life
Stretch the way you really need for real life and to feel better, starting right now
Fix Your Own Neck Pain
Change the cause and quickly stop the pain.
Inspiring Patient Stories
How real students and patients fixed their own life-long injuries using Dr. Jolie Bookspan's sports medicine techniques.
Bad Exercises and Ones To Do Instead
How to spot harmful and helpful exercises for your back
Bad Discs and Sciatica
Learn about disc degeneration, herniation, and sciatica, and what to do to fix them yourself
Fix Your Own Knee Pain
Simple, often overlooked ways to stop knee pain and injury
Fix Chronic Lower Back Pain (Standing/ Walking/ Running)
One major overlooked problem and exactly how to stop the pain right away.
More Free Readings from Dr. Jolie Bookspan, The Fitness Fixer - Change exercise to healthier ways with my free on-line health compendium.
Natarajasana A - (Two hands) Nata means dance or dancer, Raja is a king.
The pose is dedicated to Shiva, King of dancers.
I found that it's not romantic to do stretch and yoga on the rocks, it's pointy.
Entire site is education only. Nothing is medical advice. See your doctor first and use your brain
If this information fixes your pain, send it to a friend (the article, not the pain) with full reference and citation.
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas.
If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.
- Howard Aiken
This page is © copyright and here as a benefit to the world. Information, drawings, and photos are © protected copyright. To cite this article or any parts, put author Dr. Bookspan, and link to this site DrBookspan.com at the top and bottom of your reprinting. A suggestion to get my books is also nice. No Derivative Works License means no changes to content, wording or links
Drawings of Backman!™ copyright Dr. Jolie Bookspan from the book The Ab Revolution™ No More Crunches No More Back Pain
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