Form and Function: Our Hips as We Age

Karin Stephan

“Cultivating resilience means to give oneself permission to open up to the unknown. To become adaptable, pliable, nimble, not just in one’s body but also in one’s mind - to be accepting to the possibilities of our body. Yoga helps us to be resilient enough to try new things and the stability to endure.”

Form and Function: Our Hips as We Age

Karin Stephan is a leading Iyengar yoga teacher in the United States with a career that has spanned more than 30 years and she co-founded the first BKS Iyengar Yoga Center in the east coast in 1985. She credits her understanding and appreciation of the human body to the teachings of BKS Iyengar.

In this workshop we will start by asking ourselves what is the relationship between the correct form in the practice of our Yoga asanas and the subsequent positive results both in terms of our muscular/skeletal system, our internal organs system and our sense of well being as to how we feel and look as we age. We will give particular emphasis on our hips and our pelvis in this process.  Precision is not only based on careful attention to small movements, but also careful attention to alignment so we will begin by focusing on fundamental alignment principles of our hips in relationship to the rest of our body. Observation is based on our ability to see asymmetrical patterns and misalignments inherent in our body and to adjust them as we are performing the asanas. So we will practice ‘ways of seeing’ these misalignments and asymmetries which contribute to incorrect postural patterns and as a result, ways of adjusting them. We will then move into a number of different sets of asanas, such as forward bends and standing poses, easy twisting poses, learning incremental and intelligent sequences in each set.

WHAT CHALLENGES ARE ADDRESSED?

The combination of focus on precise actions in the poses and the internalization of body awareness as we move through time and space is particularly important as we grow older since in the aging process the building of bone slows down, the fluids in the joints decrease, and the muscles stiffen and weaken. As a result of the enhancement of the systemic or acquired misalignments already inherent in our body further postural distortions occur causing undo asymmetric pressure on our joints, our muscles our bones and also can put undue stress on our nerves due to compression and impingement resulting in increased pain and inflammation. In addition, compression and pressure on our internal organs makes it difficult for them to work more efficiently. As we age we find greater stiffness in our hip flexors, our lower back, and our knees making it more difficult to move comfortably in time and space thus contributing to a lack of balance as we move. Furthermore the lack of even and equal weight bearing on our joints can contribute to a further weakening of the bones.

WHAT BENEFITS CAN YOU EXPECT?

In order to change something, you must first begin by ‘seeing’ what needs to be changed. Seeing leads to action. By placing an emphasis on both the mental internalization awareness of our body, thereby allowing us to ‘see’ where changes and adjustments need to be made, and on the precision of the action in each pose we practice, this workshop will help bring about new ways of thinking and working with our asanas on a daily basis. This enhanced insight will teach us how to continue to build and maintain correct postural patterns, increase strength in our hip bones and enhance our flexibility throughout our body, no matter how old we are!!!!

Having these simple tools to work with cannot help but contribute to a greater and greater sense of well-being on a daily basis thereby leading to a greater sense of stability, confidence, nimbleness, fluidity, poise and balance. Due to an overall increased sense of proprioception in time and space, students will feel more confident, more assured and will be able to maintain ways of practicing their asanas with greater mindfulness but also maintain ways of being in the world which they can fold into their daily lives leading to more positive eating and sleeping patterns and greater functionality over all. 

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

This workshop is geared toward students of all levels and all ages who are interested in how Yoga can help us as we age. Teachers are welcome to join in, especially if this theme of Yoga and the aging process is of interest and will be useful. The workshop will include use of props and adaptations for persons with hip issues but which to move forward in the asanas.

PRICING: $45 per Workshop, $150 for all 4 Workshops – Recording will be made available to all registrants and available for 30 days. If you unable to attend live, a recording will be sent a few days after the workshop. The Learning Lab is included with the price of the workshop.