One of the main efforts of Yoga Unify is to ensure that all practitioners have access to a supported and safe practice. Here, Founding Circle Member and founder of MyHippieYoga April Estrada shares videos that offer specific points to create this safe practice—and why it matters.
* * *
Why is it important for yoga teachers to have a basic understanding of anatomy?
It is important for yoga teacher to have a basic understanding of anatomy because we are directing individuals to move their physical bodies. We must understand how the body moves, why it moves a particular way and what factors can limit movement. Understanding anatomy helps yoga teacher sequences classes, cue transitions of poses and customize the poses to individual’s body shape, ability and needs.
How can we ensure that students are safe during a physical yoga practice?
Mindfulness and options. I believe creating an atmosphere of mindfulness in the physical practice helps maintain safety. Encourage students to move and breath on purpose, to stay in the present moment as move and breath and to not judge or compare themselves with others. Give them options for modifications to poses. Knowing that there are multiple ways to “look” or adjust a pose can be empowering to the student and allows them to choose that option fit their body best.
Do you have a personal story about how / why yoga helped you with physical pain?
I have not suffered from chronic pain or injury. When I started yoga, I was living a very unhealthy lifestyle, overly stressed, not caring for my emotional or physical needs well. Over the year yoga has helped bring my life into more balance. It is not a magic pill and not instant, it is a continual process of practice and progress.
Lots of yoga students have issues with lower back pain. Do you have any words of advice?
Keep moving! Sitting around is the worst thing we can do for our backs. Gentle, slow movement is still movement. You do not need an hour yoga class, take 10 minutes throughout your day to add some yoga movement to your routine. Just keep moving.
We hear a lot about the “core” in yoga. How do you define the core? Is it only a physical representation?
I think when you hear the word core in a class setting we thing six-pack abs. There is so much more to your core than just having visible 6 pack abs. Your core is your foundation or center. Your core muscles stabilize your physical body. Your core values help stabilize your life. Having strong core muscles helps your body move better, helps keep your spine stable. Having strong core values help your navigate your life better. Yoga has helped me create both strong core muscles and stronger core values.
Legs Up the Wall is a great pose for 2020. Why?
This year we have faced many changes. These changes have brought stress, fear, anxiety, and fatigue. Legs up the wall is a wonderful way to decompress and ground ourselves. Legs Up the Wall is great to renew our bodies and gives up a different perspective as we are upside down. It’s a great place to allow ourselves to just be!
April Estrada is a Yoga Unify Founding Circle Member. Her early support—and that of other Founding Circle Members—is how we’re building this important organization. Click here to share your ideas and join April in the Founding Circle!