That's me on the bottom right in 2007 doing Wheel pose while waving to the camera. I should have considered how much pressure I was placing into my left shoulder by lifting my right hand.
I’ve been a yoga practitioner since 2001. That’s the year I saw a user-friendly fold-out yoga book in a Barnes & Noble. After years of collectively running cross country and track, playing football and eventually my favorite sport of tennis, I realized the stress-busting and Gumby-like promises of a yoga practice might do me good. It wasn’t until 2003 at the urging of a close friend and tennis partner that I actually took my first class, and it was a good deal more challenging than what I had been doing from the book. I was surprised how oddly blissful I felt after that first classroom outing even though it was challenging. Building systematically on this milestone since that sweltering July afternoon in New Orleans’s Marigny neighborhood, I’ve upgraded to a vastly more upright posture and a greatly enhanced state of mental tranquility. For a while, I favored a more vigorous practice with plenty of sweaty slipping and sliding on the mat and tons of Cirque du Soleil-like postures. But, hindsight tells me I was doing just that: posturing… with no real context into why I was standing on my head and balancing on my shoulders and trying to get my feet behind my neck… and what these poses could be doing to me in the long run that’s not so great.
I’m happy to report I’ve reached one of the more sublime states in yoga: enlightenment. No, not that kind of enlightenment... rather, a more scholastically and somatically informed approach to what my and other bodies physically can and cannot do. For a while, my own yoga practice was rather farsighted. I convinced myself I was doing everything fine on the exterior, but oblivious to my proverbial blockage of proper physical embodiment. A nagging shoulder injury and incongruent hamstrings finally directed me toward a more serious investment in my inner framework. This is why I’m so appreciative of the mini epiphanies brought on by the deconstruct-reconstruct mindset of Yoga Tune Up®. I’ve seen it in myself as well as in my public and private clients.
Borrowing from the Facebook lexicon, I’d say my status update as a wellness guide is that I’m a drop of biomechanics in an ocean of Vinyasa (the ubiquitous class title that peppers nearly all yoga studios). It’s with this notion that I can’t stress enough the importance of the New York Times Magazine article to which I’ve pasted a link below. It suggests how one’s body can either love or loathe yoga. It gives you insight on why I haven’t practiced or taught a Headstand or Shoulderstand since September 2011. The article features who I understand to be the highly experienced and intelligent Glenn Black (having never studied with him, though I have had a Body Tuning session with his teacher Shmuel Tatz). I jokingly refer to him as my “yoga grandfather” because he’s the teacher of my own equally wise and innovative teacher, Jill Miller. There are plenty of ways to challenge your body and its inherent capabilities without rendering yourself incapable of basic human movement.
Depending on the lifespan of the Internet link directing you to this article, many of the concepts within the story are expounded upon in the book entitled “The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards” by William J. Broad (release date: February 12, 2012).
Check it out: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/magazine/how-yoga-can-wreck-your-body.html