Free Your Back Through Optimal Yoga Alignment with Sarah Powell

The human spine is quite a miraculous construction of vertebrae, muscles and discs, all precisely stacked to create both the strength to support us and the flexibility to allow us a huge range of motion.  With over use, repetitive actions or simply gentle ageing, it is very common for us to pull our spine out of optimal alignment.  Over time this will inevitably lead to pain – particularly in the more vulnerable lower back and neck regions.  In fact, it is so common that most of us start regarding it as ‘normal’.  NEWSFLASH – it’s not!

In 2011, I suffered a severe back injury myself… embarrassingly in a banana boating accident – I still blame my mother-in-law but that’s another story!!  Two of my, then teenage, sons landed full force on my back and I took a severe blow to my pelvis and lower back, breaking three ribs.  Remembering my therapy training I started therapeutic movements from the moment I could – in A&E in Borneo!  I was in a wheelchair for 3 days and even taught my yoga classes from a chair for a while.  Steadily my pain eased as I persevered with creating a good spinal curve and I am now, thankfully, pain free.  I attribute this happy ending 100% to my awareness of the spine and posture, and it gives me huge pleasure to help others experience the same happy result, or at least feel some improvement.

In my forthcoming workshop I will be explaining how the foot, leg, pelvis and spine are anatomically built, how they all work as a team.  Think of it like a yoga class where the students have been challenged by the teacher to do 108 sun salutations and they all decide that Wendy, the strongest yogi in the room, can do them for everyone else!  The class then sits back on their mats to watch as poor Wendy in the front row does 108 sun salutations!  10 billion (excuse my maths) sun salutes later and Wendy collapses with exhaustion and overuse while no-one else is any stronger or has benefited from the exercise.  No body benefits from working like this, and your body certainly doesn’t benefit if you over work your naturally stronger parts and under work the naturally weaker ones.  They need to work as a group, a team, a support network with all parts working equally  to get benefit without exhaustion.

In this workshop I will also be demonstrating why the natural curves of the spine are so important to pain free movement – our spine needs to act like a buoyant spring, not a rigid rod.  So, it’s official – curves are healthy!

Now, most of us are a little out of alignment without even knowing it, so you will get a chance to get stuck in, examine your own posture and spine, and complete your own self-examination.  With the help of a partner, mirrors and a camera we will be taking selfies of good and bad posture both for everyday life and in yoga poses.  You will learn how to sit, stand, walk and practise yoga with more awareness and to adapt and modify to keep that precious spine healthy and happy!

This workshop is for anyone who…

· Suffers from lower back pain in daily life

· Suffers from back pain in a yoga class

· Is currently pain-free and wants to stay that way

· Is a teacher wanting to cue pain-free back-bends

· Is a teacher who wants to learn more about the spine and how to maintain its natural curve

A large part of the workshop will be spent on lecture and group work, with around 30 minutes dedicated to gentle asana.  I’d love to see you there and tell you more!

2.5 CPD hours for teachers

Sarah Powell is a highly experienced yoga teacher (Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher, E-RYT500 and RPYT).  Sarah Powell’s hugely popular Back Care Workshop returns to RHY on 17 March – book early to avoid disappointment, the last two sold out.  Click here for further details and to book your place.  You can also catch Sarah each week at RHY teaching Anusara Open, Anusara Level 2 & Anusara Restorative classes – for this week’s schedule click here.


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