Learning human kinesiology and anatomy can be rough. We know this. There are so many facts to keep straight and it gets really complicated real quick.
Yes and no. It’s complicated to learn kinesiology because human systems are complex. A great distinction discussed by Todd Hargrove on his site Better Movement.
He explains in detail the distinction between complicated systems and complex systems. Complicated systems are highly organized and “easy” to analyze. Complex systems may be organized to function well, but it’s not so easy to analyze in what way…
He’s specifically discussing how to address pain through what seem like simple solutions. These work not in spite of our complexity, but, perhaps, because of it. Creating a highly targeted solution to any anatomical problem is overly complicated for us to figure out every time. Broad strokes can, at times, give our systems just the right fuel to alleviate pain through its own, complex measures.
“Health professionals, including those working with movement and pain, often attempt to address complex problems as if they were merely complicated. As explained below, this is very much like the drunk who loses his keys in the alley but looks for them under the lamp post because the light is better there.” Todd Hargove.
Part of what we seek to do at Yoga 216 is teach people the tools that let them side step pain that doesn’t need to show up in the first place. Which means we’re often addressing existing pain as well. Indeed, our asana classes are structured to help people free physical restrictions and bolster physical weaknesses, while teaching them how it’s working.
To do this, all of the teachers at Yoga 216 have a solid understanding of the basic principles of human kinesiology, or how we move. Often, learning that kinesiology is a process of at first seeing the body as a complicated structure –a system that we can analyze and understand down to every last piece and part.
Of course, as soon as we get into the classroom, it quickly becomes evident that we made a complex system complicated for our benefit. And that’s ok! Because you have to start somewhere, and breaking apart a complicated system to understand its inner workings is much more approachable than diving into a complex one. In practice, though, we have to give way to the unknowns in the individual bodies before us, and get comfortable owning up to the true complexity of human bodies.
This doesn’t mean we need to teach as though we know nothing! We can organize our classes with what we do know –or what may be true– about our kinesiology, and be prepared to let it go if it doesn’t work for our students. Abhyasa and vairagya for teachers.
It’s our goal to make learning kinesiology just straightforward enough that you get a grasp of how human movement works, while also gaining an appreciation for its subtleties. We want you and all yoga teachers to have an anatomically-grounded place to start in guiding your students –and the context for realizing that not everything you expect will be the case. Ever.
Our Functional Anatomy for Yoga Teachers does just this by asking you to put your studies to practice through case studies and test scenarios, so when you go back to your students, you’ve practiced the information enough to be confident helping them without needing to have all the answers (just some!).
What do you think? Should yoga teachers be movement experts? Or yoga experts? Somewhere in between? Let us know in the comments!
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