Tag Archives: anatomy

Photography by Lululemon, Chelsea Abril.

HAPPY ALOHA FRIDAY,

You guys, I did a thing. Actually two. My mind has been percolating on goal setting over the last few weeks. While it is most definitely one thing to set the goals, it is quite another to go after them. We’ve heard this phrase again and again, but today, I asked myself the question: why am I playing small?

This question alone is a provocative one. Am I afraid of my own success? Do I feel undeserving of success? Why should I withhold my skills and knowledge? Don’t others deserve to live this beautiful practice? These questions were a transparent wake up call for me. Like a splash of cold water to your face in the morning, I feel READY. Because the answer to all of these questions was ‘oh my goodness, LM get started! And do not wait another moment.’

I realized, I have all of this knowledge to share! So much to share, and I want to share it! I am not quite sure what sparked this re-ignition to my goal setting and my lifestyle company as a whole, but it has already happened. All things in due time, right? This week, I have been churning out content for you.

The first announcement is that I will be hosting an online offering of my Goal Chaser Series. If you have completed the Goal Chaser Series once, twice, or three times before, I am still here for you! I would love for you to join again.

If you have never been through my Goal Chaser Series, it would be an honor to have you join. I think now, more than ever, as we navigate through this precarious time our goals become that much more important. As we strive to stay on our path of living our most authentic life, it is important to lean on each other while also holding each other accountable.

As I enter the fourth year of my PhD program, the uncertainty of my future come May 2021 has me all kinds of stressed out. For the first time in my three decades of life, the path forward is an unknown. It is simultaneously beautiful and terrifying. I think I have been carrying around subconscious stress related to this CHOICE. Goal setting and living authentically is all about choice.

Only recently, with a toothache of all things, has this question mark in my life become conscious. Do I have a toothache because of this stress? Is that a thing? Turns out, the stress didn’t cause my toothache, but it certainly did not help the situation. Nonetheless, this among other recent events have catapulted me back into this important life work, and I want to share it with you.

The choices we make now, dictate what follows. I am putting in the work now, to assuage my worries about my upcoming graduation. And there is some serious work to do. I want you onboard with me!

Two weeks ago at my Sunday morning yoga class, I shared the smallest piece of this goals work. It ignited my own fire. Since then, I have been on a personal mission to achieve and live in total alignment with my goals. From getting the right amount of R&R, to proper amounts of daily exercise, to work goals (I am getting published!), and beyond.

Goal setting and vision work is about structuring your life, and truly implementing the work moment to moment. Not by May 2021, but right now.

Every single time I share the goal chasers program, I learn something new. I learn about the world, the people around me, life, and most importantly myself. I realize how much it fills me up to see others reach their goals and live their purpose. And ironically, helping you is a part of my ever evolving purpose.

Because here is the thing about our goals, they change! Life is organic. We can’t predict every change in the tides, we need to live moment to moment. Which is why the majority of the goals work is about the present moment. It is about how you show up and live, right now. Hint hint, it might not be the same way you showed up two years ago.

I recently read a phrase in a book that deeply resonated with me, I will paraphrase: “if you’ve got it, share it.” What a wonderful life philosophy. I thought, how cool, my Sunday yoga class is doing this right now. We’ve got a sweet crew of students who show up to their mat and donate, and we’ve raised over $500 to benefit Aloha United Way’s COVID-19 community response and recovery fund.

Then I asked myself, what else do I have to share? I thought, I need to share my goal chaser series again. And as I mentioned, I got the sharing started at my Sunday yoga class two weeks ago. My next thought was, well I am scientist becoming an expert in anatomy and biomechanics, maybe I ought to share this knowledge with the world? And I will be.

I am thrilled to announce the upcoming Anatomy of Movement Training Series. This week, I have been recording lectures and content. The Anatomy of Movement Training Series is a hefty one, I will be covering A LOT in this training. It has been in the works for years, to be honest. Finally, the Summer 2020 timing is perfect to release this to the world.

I will be sending out a separate announcement for each of these offerings. This email is simply to announce these two happenings: I am hosting both an online Goal Chasers Series and an online Anatomy of Movement Training Series. ALL HAPPENING THIS SUMMER (double trouble)!

Yes, it might feel like an LM Summer Camp, but there will be plenty of other people to connect with and grow and learn alongside.

Here are the dates you need to know:
 
Goal Chasers Series (online):
 
Monday, June 15th, 5PM (HST)
Monday, June 22nd, 5PM (HST)
Monday, June 29th, 5PM (HST)
Monday, July 6th, 5PM (HST)

Anatomy of Movement Series (online):
 
Monday, July 13th, 5PM (HST)
Monday, July 20th, 5PM (HST)
Monday, July 27th, 5PM (HST)
Monday, August 3rd, 5PM (HST)

If you are interested in either of these offerings, please email me at info@lauramarylinsley.com!

I seriously cannot wait!
 
Goals, goals, goals,
LML

Twists_LMF

Everyone loves a twisting class, in fact, yesterday my Sunday workshop class consisted of a lot of twists as our focus was on binding. I definitely don’t want to make baseless claims that lack scientific evidence, but for teachers and students alike it is always an interesting practice between trusting what you feel in your body over what the Western medical evidence for yoga benefits might reveal. There is a major lack of research in this area, at least on a larger scale. I studied yoga benefits in grad school but only for a small cohort of around 30 yogis.

Let’s dive deeper in the topic of twists, the alignment, benefits, contraindications, and myths.

What is physically happening in a twist? The action of twisting, rotates the spine and helps to stretch the muscles throughout the back body. A safe twisting practice will help to restore the spine’s natural range of motion. If we don’t continue to practice finding our spine’s natural range of motion, we could, not surprisingly, lose some of that mobility, our joints may harden or even fuse. The supportive muscles around the spine can also become shortened, however, if we practice daily twists we can maintain full mobility and function.

There are some really important fundamentals of twisting, and the most important is the action of lengthening the spine before adding any physical rotation or twist. The inhale breath coincides with the action of lengthening so as to create space between the vertebrae. When there is little space or length between vertebrae the spine may slump or have a pinching sensation. Additionally, the sushumna nadis lies along the spine, our major channel of energy flow, through all 7-chakras or our bulbs of energy. If there is a stop in the flow of our energy, it’s no bueno for our state of mind, we might feel our energy levels drop, or even our mood. A twist on your yoga mat will help you lengthen your spine and eventually create space between the bones, so that our energy can flow more efficiently through our sushumna nadis. The immediate benefit from a twist is energy as we safely lift and decompress the vertebrae.

I love to sequence twists throughout a yoga practice, but especially at the end of a more focused class, such as a workshop on back-bending or forward folds. Twists are neutralizing postures, as they engage your core, abdominals, obliques, and the synergistic muscles that support different movements of your spine, shoulders, pelvis, and neck. Twists are a whole body effort. Be very wary if you enter a twist without a long spine and or without steady breathing, it means that something is off.

Now for the piece I really want to cover, do twists really aid in digestion? You’ve probably heard in class after class, twists are “detoxifying,” “great for digestion,” “cleaning your insides,” or maybe even “wringing out your internal organs,” etc. Before or after a big food holiday, such as Thanksgiving, you will definitely see a twisting class up on the schedule. What do all of these claims actually mean? And are they claims or truth? Twists create movement through our torso, including, in and around our organs, so they do help speed things up in terms of digestion by encouraging our food along.

BKS Iyengar believed that twists are detoxifying because of the squeeze and soak action. The organs of detoxification and elimination are compressed pushing out old blood, when we release the twist fresh blood can flow in. This is widely accepted in the yoga world, but like many things in life, there is some healthy debate on this topic.

Others suggest that the concept of the ‘squeeze and soak’ action is not that accurate. “Twists do affect our mobility (movement of organs in relation to each other) and our motility (movement within an organ). However a number of factors are involved in stimulation of our organs” (Yoga Anatomy, Matthews).

It would be safe to say that twists help stimulate our circulation to our organs, including our organs of elimination, which in turn can help stimulate our metabolism and rate of excretion.

Perhaps twists aren’t literally “wringing out the internal organs” just as in a backbends aren’t literally “opening your heart” but there is a grain of truth to both metaphors as we certainly feel energetic releases to the organs of that particular area and they can be helpful guiding metaphors for us on our mats, to deeply connect to the posture and its intention.

I usually start off every class by asking my students if they have any requests, and one of my students always says, “well, you know I am pro-twists, as always!” (I adore her). After a long day at the office, sitting, traveling, just living, here are some good reasons to insert twists into your daily life. Twists stimulate circulation, they create heat, release tension in the muscles of the spine, abdomen and rib cage which has a carryover effect of helping the other systems in the body work effectively.  

There are countless twisting postures and they could be seated, standing, or supine. A supine twist stabilizes the upper body, therefore allowing the twist to happen through the lower spine by rotating the pelvis and legs. Be sure to draw your belly in and keep both shoulders grounded. In a seated or standing twist we must both ground ourselves and lengthen through the spine, draw your belly up and in so as to stabilize the pelvis and low back. If seated root down through the sitting bones and if your back rounds, prop yourself up onto a bolster, blanket, or block to maintain the natural length and curvature of your spine before adding in a twist.

Both students and teachers should be aware that different parts of the spine have different ranges of mobility. Knowing this takes some self-imposed pressure off of yourself that you “should be” somewhere you are not or quite frankly somewhere you will never be. Your body will tell you where you need to be, but if that isn’t good enough, know that anatomically your spine will have varying degrees of mobility. The lumbar spine rotates only about 5 degrees, the thoracic spine rotates about 35 degrees, and the cervical spine rotates about 50 degrees (Yoga Anatomy, Kaminoff). Practice very mindfully, and work the whole spine into your twist, with all of its degrees of mobility, be patient and kind to yourself. Start with the low body, and work your way on up, allow your neck to twist very last. If your body is restricting a movement, don’t force it, breathe, be present, listen to your body’s wisdom and adapt your posture.

There is also some debate about what is going on in the pelvis and hips in your twist. Some yoga instructors will say the hips should be completely level or if seated, that the sitting bones should be completely fixed to the floor in a twist. This would make for a deeper twist in the more mobile areas of the spine, ie thoracic. However, if you are doing this rather than just engage your quads, you must really draw the thigh bones into the hip sockets. Because the other school of thought is that it is easier on the SI joint to let the opposite hip to the side you are twisting lift slightly, and this is a much more natural movement for the body. As you know, hips are not only the largest joint, but it is a big area of injury for yogis. Twists are contraindicated if you are pregnant! Skip the twisting portion of class if you are pregnant. There are other modifications you can take if you fall into this category.

If you are in a twist, aligned well, comfortable through the hips, shoulders, etc., you might be ready to deepen your expression with a bind. Twists open the back, shoulders, and chest nicely. Let’s cover binding on another day. Let your takeaways today be: listen to your body, breathe, lengthen through your spine before adding any rotations, and stay present.

Happy twisting!

With Love,

laura mary