November in Italy, December in Cologne and Paris

Our trip to Italy has been quite wonderful so far, with stops in Venice and Florence before arriving today in Milan, where I’m about to start 4 days of teaching at their huge Yoga Festival.  I’m told that 6,000 people will pass through this event. That’s a lot bigger than any of the conferences I’ve been to in North America.

We will return to Europe one more time before the end of the year for workshops in Cologne and Paris next month. Each of these events is very special. I am very much looking forward to meeting up with the yogaloft Cologne’s founder, Sonia Bach and her lovely wife, my talent agent Ava Taylor – both of whom have promised us a whirlwind tour of Cologne.  In Paris, I can hardly contain my excitement about meeting and presenting with Blandine Calais-Germain – someone who has inspired me for years with her brilliant books on anatomy and movement.

If you’re anywhere in the vicinity next month, come join us!

Leslie Kaminoff at the yogaloft
Leslie Kaminoff at Alia Om Yoga

Breath Education Myth #2 – "Deep Breathing is Always Better"

As promised, here’s our next breath “mythbusting” contribution courtesy of my esteemed colleague and co-presenter Amy Matthews

MYTH: “Deep breathing is always better.”

It is NOT true that we should always breathe as deeply as we possibly can. There is not one single ‘right way’ to breathe, and the most effective breath is the one that is most suited to that person, in that moment.

Sometimes a shallow breath is the most effective choice – in biological systems the qualities of being deepest, longest and biggest are not necessarily indicators of success. Success arises from being effective . . . just good enough. So taking a deeper breath than we need might literally be a waste of time and energy.

Instead of always going for deeper and stronger breaths, can we instead cultivate adaptability and responsiveness?

Our October 24 & 25 symposium is filling up fast, so be sure to register now!

Breath Education Myth #1 – Diaphragmatic vs. …?

Lung Tree Early Bird
Our amazing symposium “Breath Education — Art Science and Soul” is starting to fill up.  Don’t miss your last chance to attend at the early registration rate, which expires in one day (Sept 12).

As a lead-up to the event, our presenters will share their favorite breath education myths, which they will debunk at the event.  For me, myth #1 is probably the most pervasive one in the field: the term diaphragmatic breathing itself. If I had my way, I’d completely banish the term from breath education.

ALL breathing is diaphragmatic.  No living person should ever be told that they aren’t using their diaphragm unless they suffer from paralysis (and in that case, why would you say it to them in the first place? — they already know).

The term “diaphragmatic breathing” is as redundant and silly as the term “foot walking.”  When that term gets used, it’s intended to distinguish healthy breathing (diaphragmatic) from some other pattern an educator has judged to be unhealthy, but it would be absurd to say the unhealthy pattern is “non-diaphragmatic.”  The real issue isn’t whether the diaphragm is working or not, it’s whether it is able to work to its full efficiency without undue obstruction.

For a fuller explanation, and SO MUCH more, sign up now for “Breath Education — Art Science and Soul” at The Breathing Project!

On the road, 2015: Immersive Training in Personalized Yoga

UPDATE: Our Southern California workshop had to be postponed but will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Please contact You & the Mat for more information.

This fall I am embarking on an exciting teaching tour of four-day immersions. I really like this format because it’s inspired by the method of personalized teaching I received from my teacher, TKV Desikachar. Day-by-day, starting with conceptual basics, we’ll build on daily embodied practice, moving to observation with partners, clinical observation of client work, and methods of individualizing practice and teaching methodology.

Together, we will create an immersive experience, in an intimate space, with plenty of time to rest, settle and integrate the material.

I’ll be teaching a similar format, focusing on slightly different topics, in Southern California (You and the Mat, Laguna Niguel, CA), Honolulu (Silk Bridge, Oahu, HI) and Vienna (Yoga Zentrum, Vienna, Austria).

I hope to see you at one of these.

Kaminoff on the road, again… Immersive Training in Personalized Yoga: Aug 28-31 You & the Mat, Laguna Niguel, CA; Sept 5-8, Silk Bridge, Honolulu, HI; Oct 1-4 Yoga Zentrum, Vienna, Austria

A simple question with a complex answer

A student in my online Yoga Anatomy Course asked a simple question in reference to a lesson about the muscular action of the diaphragm. My response is a good example of how studying basic kinesiology can help us understand that muscle relationships  are always contextual and complex.

The question was: “The fibers of the diaphragm are oriented vertically,  do the fibers contract on the inhale or the exhale?”

Here’s my answer:

Well, the simple answer is “on the inhale.”

Problem is, there’s no such thing as “the” inhale. Every inhale (and exhale for that matter) places a unique demand on the body’s musculature – depending on what movement we’re doing, what position we are in relative to gravity, and what our intentions are (among many other factors).

Mechanically, inhaling is the act of increasing  volume in the thoracic cavity through muscular action.  The key muscle involved in that action is the diaphragm, and a concentric action shortens the distance between its lower and upper attachments, thereby increasing all three dimensions of thoracic volume.

But, the diaphragm can also be actively contracting during an exhale when an eccentric action allows its attachments to move away from each other in a controlled way (think of doing a very slow curling sit-up as you exhale).

Even more confusing is the fact that the diaphragm can be relaxed and relatively passive during both inhaling and exhaling – as in Kapalabhati.

These are just the basics of how complex an answer to that question could be.

So, for now, let’s just go with “on the inhale.”

This is the kind of fun stuff we get to geek out about in my anatomy courses.

Spanish love affair

Leslie is resting up while I write this note following a wonderful day workshopping for Dhara Yoga in Madrid. The owners, Blanca and Pablo, found a beautiful loft operated by a woman who grew up in Lenox, MA (virtually around the corner from where Leslie raised his kids and keeps his horse!) and brought in a terrific group of yoga professionals, eager to learn more about the Krishnamacharya/Desikachar tradition. We’ve posted some snapshots from our time in this beautiful, vibrant city.

The Krishnamacharya and Desikachar lineage, projected large above Leslie's head

 

barcelona-poster-thumb Next week we’ll be returning to the Barcelona Yoga Conference.
There’s still time to sign up for Leslie’s two-day intensive on Yoga and Healing, Tuesday July 8-Wednesday July 9 and meet up with Leslie at a book-signing at the YogaYe table on Saturday July 5 at 2:00 p.m. (Learn more on their Facebook page.)
posted by Lydia: June 29, 2014

2014 Touring Schedule

I’ve had some exciting trips this spring and we’re still traveling! I hope to meet you if I’m heading your way. To keep up-to-date, please check my calendar and my Tweet stream, but here are some of the highlights:

[portfolio_slideshow id=1840]

A return to being an anatomy student

What a privilege it’s been to spend this week back in the anatomy lab with the singular Gil Hedley and 35 outstanding, talented, accomplished fellow Somanauts.

Lydia and I came in on the third and final week of Gil’s unprecedented marathon teaching event during which he is recording on video and photographing never-before seen dissective technique and perspective for his upcoming “Atlas of Integral Anatomy.”

I always learn an enormous amount while spending time with Gil and the amazing people who show up in his lab.  This is my sixth time since 1997, but several participants and assistants have done far more than I.

Yesterday I had to leave early to teach my Yoga Anatomy course at The Breathing Project. Switching from student to teacher mode proved to be very energizing for me and I was jazzed to teach my own material in a way I haven’t been for quite a while.

Thank you, Gil.  And thank you especially to the essential generosity of the 8 donors whose forms grace our tables in the lab.  Please consider donating your body to science. I can tell you from personal experience as a student honored with access to such generosity, it’s a profound gift to your fellow man.

NJ Somanauts

Haven’t you always wanted to go to Barcelona? Join us this July!

Lydia here. We are so excited to be returning to Europe this summer for the Barcelona Yoga Conference where Leslie is offering a two-day intensive, and hope you’ll help us spread the word. Leslie loves the opportunity to meet his online students in person, so if you’re one of them please come on down!

We put together a little interview including questions he’s been asked repeatedly about his adventures in Spain, as well as some fave articles and videos of his. Feel free to forward to anyone you know who may want to join us in beautiful Barcelona this July.

During your 2013 visit to Spain:

  1. Did you have a favorite experience?
    We stayed in El Gòtic and loved the easy access it provided. The Picasso Museum stands out as one of my favorite museums anywhere and walking to the beach for lunch and mojitos was also great!
  2. How about favorite food?
    I so appreciated many restaurants’ pleasure in offering wonderful, fresh-baked gluten-free bread, without additional cost. That just doesn’t happen here – when you can find it, there’s always a surcharge, and it’s not freshly baked.
  3. Did you experience any notable cultural differences?
    For sure: sense of time! Lydia and I think we’re late when we’re five minutes early. In Spain, half an hour late is a sampling error.…
  4. Anything else to share?
    You can take a look at this set of photos on Flickr. It gives a pretty good sense of some of the things we saw, found beautiful, different from home and memorable.

barcelona-snaps

Some of our favorite You Tube videos:

How to help spread the word!

Thank you! we really appreciate your support.