“Yoga Asana @ The Knee Joint” workshop

with Jaki Nett, an excellent teacher at IYISF.  It was the first time ever for me to be at this studio/Institute and a bit surprised that  – it’s so close to Nihonmachi, I had no idea – it’s been in the Japantown neighborhood all these years.  I was just interested in the topic of this workshop which took me there. I did not know anything about the teacher but the topic is what I was drawn to – figured, if it’s at IYISF, I can’t go wrong. But nice discoveries are made… when you seek out what interests you:  (1) a superb teacher; (2) well equipped studio -wall ropes, ceiling ropes, chairs, all props are abundant; (3) positive but calming vibe; (4) nearby, a nice Thai restaurant for dinner:) (5) walking distance to Japantown where there is my favorite bookstore, Kinokuniya.

I loved this style – or should I say that it’s not really a “style” of yoga as late BKS Iyengar probably did not start teaching as a “brand”.. It’s beyond branding – it’s this masterful and innovative teacher’s archive of lifework. I had so loved the teachings by Judith H. Lasator (lyrical, philosophical,   and so much attention to details) and Richard Rosen (brainy and quirky funny) so it would be natural that I would be gravitated back to their school of yoga, even though initially Iyengar classes tended for me to be way too stiff, serious, dogmatic and militant … almost patronizing – not at your eye-level,  in tone BUT NOT this teacher.  She’s warm, welcoming, and knowledgeable and skillful in imparting her knowledge.  That comes from her self-knowing and confidence founded on real life long experiences living yoga.  I was most impressed with the fact that she videotapes her own lecture she said, because she reviews them and uses them to improve – there’s that humility too while being self-assured – THAT, is so inspiring that she never stops trying to better herself in the art of teaching.

It’s kind of like asana “clinic” when you go to these workshops.  It’s not the “fun” flow class with the curated “playlist” – no, not at all – nor is it the Zen mindfulness practice for stress management, reboot and balance … there’s no bounce, vibrancy and a pop of a spark – rather, in this school, yoga is a serious discipline and quite methodical and much about alignment and bodywork – thus – highly recommended for those who like to take the time to get into a pose and then hold the poses to perfect them. Then… repeat. To develop as their literature says “strength, stamina, concentration, coordination, flexibility and more”.

Jaki Nett made the class joyful while keeping it challenging and very informative. There’s no fancy powerpoint or handouts but we were invited to take photos of the picture presentation she posted on the front – yes, all about that joint – KNEE ! which she carefully went over.   The anatomy and the movements of the knee as it relates to our yoga practice were thoroughly discussed and issues addressed.

Learned so much that reinforced the yoga therapy TT  module where Baxter Bell, MD went over yoga for sports medicine working with PT’s . It was just fine without any curated playlist as it’s more a “school” than a practice space.  Music and the frills are not needed when the void is filled with your own focus and detailed anatomical and alignment reminders given by a senior/veteran, highly experienced teacher.  This was a 3 hour workshop but I am so curious about her regular classes – does she impart knowledge in regular “practice” classes as well or is it just to practice in a group setting … If her class resembles her workshop, then, that class is a class I’d want to come back for more !

The following asanas were experimented with attention to the workings of the knees and how to protect them in each of these poses and how they relate to the concept of “open & close chain” – the concept that all joints are connected to illicit healthy alignment and how one is to approach the asana to avoid torching a joint  or tearing a ligament, ending up with injuries.  When your knees are so weakened that they cannot go into full flexion, there’s no need to berate your own body temple – TLC then yoga to enhance body intelligence and practice with injury prevention always in mind :

  • Vajrasana
  • Virasana
  • Svastikasana
  • Padasana
  • Tadasana
  • Dadasana
  • Vibrabhdrasana
  • Janu Sirsasana
  • Agnistambhasana

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