Yoga: A Unique Form of Bodywork

Yoga is a unique form of bodywork that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation. It is not a series of acrobatic postures or dogmatic philosophy, but rather a means through which we observe the quality of our own experience and that of others in the present moment. When yoga teachers come to him for body exercise after suffering severe trauma, Black tells them, “Don't do yoga.” He believes that yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles; it is a complete workout for the mind and body. Yoga can help to elucidate the sensory and tacit ways in which it can balance the need for autonomy and unity.

Many who suffer less serious yoga injuries go to family doctors, chiropractors, and various types of therapists. However, some people are not getting the full benefits of the practice. Gune, who helped revive yoga for the modern era, made no mention of injuries in his journal Yoga Mimansa or in his 1931 book “Asanas”. Today, Gaynor is a yoga therapist and instructor, KMI practitioner and coach, and co-director of the Absolute Yoga and Wellness Institute in Rochester, New York.

Along with other bodywork activities, yoga emerges as a shared social practice that links participants with their partners, children and other intimate people. It facilitates a sense of unity by allowing time and space for autonomy. A healthy 28-year-old woman suffered a stroke while performing a yoga position known as a wheel or ascending arch, in which the practitioner lies on her back and then lifts her body in a semicircular arc, maintaining the balance between hands and feet. Body work, like alignment and integration in yoga, is about not forgetting everything when observing and working with the details, allowing the parts to come together, flow effortlessly and reveal their deepest nature.

The first reports on injuries caused by yoga appeared decades ago and were published in some of the world's most respected journals, including Neurology, The British Medical Journal and The Journal of the American Medical Association. Therefore, while yoga is a kind of individualized practice and personal care, it facilitates participants' desires for connection. After class, I asked Black about his approach to teaching yoga, the emphasis on maintaining only a few simple poses, the absence of common investments such as standing his head and shoulders. Sonia Osorio is a certified massage therapist and yoga practitioner with experience in dance and journalism.

Dora Peckens
Dora Peckens

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