Anatomy-Based Yoga Teaching Methodology: Principles for Safe Forward Bending

Course Info

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Julie Gudmestad

Julie Gudmestad Julie Gudmestad, PT, C-IAYT has been active in Portland, Oregon, as a yoga teacher and licensed physical therapist for over 40 years. She has integrated her western medical knowledge with yoga training into a unique teaching style, and regularly teaches anatomy and asana workshops throughout...

Forward bending yoga postures are among the most relaxing and soothing groups of yoga postures. They calm body and mind and can help us shift from a frenzied, busy mind set into a more relaxed, parasympathetic mode of functioning.

But forward bends also have a little known dark side. If practiced incorrectly without reference to the biomechanics of the posture, forward bends put strain on the low back, particularly the intervertebral discs, leading to potential injuries and low back pain. 

In this online course, Iyengar yoga teacher and physical therapist Julie Gudmestad shows why, for certain students, forward bends can be one of the trickiest groups of postures. Learn the biomechanics of forward bends and important practice principles needed to practice and teach forward bends safely.

Forward bends take many forms. Obvious forward bends are poses like Uttanasana, Standing Forward Bend, and Paschimottanasana, Seated Forward Bend. But for people with tight hips, even a simple pose like Sukhasana will turn into a forward bend with the lower back rounded in the same unhealthy pattern that puts strain on the low back. The same holds true for a ubiquitous pose like Downward Facing Dog pose, Adho Mukha Svanasana.

In the course, Julie will show how the same biomechanical limitations that affect our ability to do forward bends safely also spill over into numerous other postures. Learn how to observe these alignment issues in other poses and how to overcome these to progress safely and comfortably in your practice.

What You Will Learn

  • The biomechanics of forward bends, and how these affect alignment across a wide range of postures.

  • How the biomechanics of the interaction of the hamstrings with the pelvis affect the entire spine. 

  • Simple tests for observing students to discern who will most likely have issues with forward bending postures.

  • Why using a block in a forward bend rarely is enough and how to modify forward bends to make them comfortable and safe.

  • Stretching techniques and cues for improving flexibility of the hamstrings to help students advance in their practice over time.

This Premium Course also Includes These Bonuses:

  • Yoga Practice Video: Enjoy a yoga practice video that accompanies this course. 

  • Recordings of All Webinar Sessions: It’s generally acknowledged that many people only retain 10-20 percent of what they learn in a workshop. You will get access to the recordings of all webinar sessions - both MP3 (downloadable) and MP4 (streaming online), enabling you to go back and listen to the workshop as many times as you like.

  • Transcripts of All Sessions: Ever wanted to refer to a certain part of a course? Even the best note takers miss a point every so often. With the transcripts of the webinar sessions, you can go back and refer to particularly important passages or clarify sections you were in doubt about.

This course qualifies for 2.5 non-contact hour CEUs with Yoga Alliance.