Move It Or Lose It —Variety is The Spice of Embodiment..

foot and hand danceby Julian Walker

I have been reflecting lately, as I continue my own studies and experiential exploration of mind-body practice, on the old adage “move it or lose it…”

In neuroscience there is the relatively new (20 years or so) concept of neuroplasticity.

This is defined as how the brain changes both function and structure in response to experience.

In terms of practice, it is very pertinent that mindful states heighten neuroplastic change in the brain, as does the feel-good reward chemistry activated by physical activity, meditation etc..

The sweet spot for neuroplastic change combines:

* Familiar beneficial routines: yoga sequences, dance warm ups, meditation techniques, familiar locations, communities, and rituals, with
* Novel experiences: new physical and mental challenges and discoveries, all held in
* The mindful, warm-hearted sense of exploration and self-care
* An open-ness to acknowledging and taking in what feels good, while cultivating resilience and compassion in the face of our difficulties.

So, mix it up, friends!

Come to yoga, come to Dance Tribe, meditate at your desk for 2 to 5 minutes before you reply to THAT email, roll around on the floor at home before dinner for 15 minutes, experimenting with new movement patterns that use familiar shapes or sequences as a platform for improvisation.

Notice the blind spots you usually avoid and get interested in how you can reclaim resilient, courageous, compassionate engagement of how you work with that shoulder, low back, sense of gratitude or forgiveness, open-ness to new experience and healthy risk taking etc…


My Evolving Sequence: Stability & Variety in Movement

If you take my classes regularly, you may have noticed that my yoga sequence has evolved over the last few years to include a couple significant new innovations:

1) I have been seeking to highlight moments of the kind of joint stability work that has been sorely lacking in the last 40 years or so of yoga instruction.bracing

This has included refining certain aspects of the core work I learned from Ana Forrest many years ago, when she was pioneering the inclusion of abdominal exercise in yoga.

Because human knowledge keeps evolving, in the years since, the “draw your navel toward your belly” instruction has been replaced (based on newer research) with more of a focus on “abdominal bracing” or firming up your core as if expanding a cylinder form the center of your abdomen outward in all directions.

I have also been really exploring how to focus on shoulder stability, because this is our most mobile, versatile, and therefore vulnerable joint —and the fast swooping caturanga that has characterized the popular flow sequence since the last 90’s has a massive blind spot in terms of bearing all your weight rapidly down to the floor in that fancy-looking (but bad for your rotator cuff) transition!

In addition to emphasizing more of a joint stability awareness (hips, low back and shoulders) you may have noticed me seeking to inspire an attitude of inquiry around movement…

The transitions in and out of postures, rotating certain joints as part of the more static posture, and reminding your brain and neuromuscular system that there are ranges of motion, and responsive articulations that have to be used in order not to be lost!

Routine is good —but if we always do the same things in exactly the same ways, we run the risk of conditioning a very limited sense of embodiment, and also of going into auto-pilot mode and missing the alive, intelligent, curious exploration that always unfolds only in the present moment.

For me, yoga, dance, martial arts, fitness, and any kind of mindful practice, are all part of one continuum that invites adaptive health in response to experience and placing demands on our system.

I am excited to keep sharing this process with you!

See you soon,

The “Operating System” —Teaching Yoga with Knowledge & Curiosity…

Have you ever wondered how really good yoga teachers seem to have a sixth sense about what their students need, about who should modify and how, who might benefit from an adjustment, and how to support someone over time as they heal an injury or correct an imbalance?

Well, like most things that seem magical, there is both an art and a science to it.

Julian calls this developing an “intelligent eye,” and it is a life long process and practice.

This includes:

* Looking at yoga postures through the lens of functional and practical anatomy
* Understanding how to teach safely
* Aiming to both heal and prevent injuries
* Honoring the individual’s journey, process and body-type

Julian Walker ERYT-500 gives you a glimpse of how the Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind teacher training gives you a platform, or “operating system” based in the relationships between yoga postures, anatomy and an understanding of how to look at bodies intelligently and respond to your student’s needs.

The idea of an operating system is that it allows us to teach our classes with a sense of confidence and curiosity, meeting our students in the moment and applying the knowledge we have in ways that honor their unique bodies, history of injuries, and capacity to heal and find balance.

Early-Bird Pricing is NOW Good through 12/15 —Find Out More Here:
2016 Training

Yoga Training: Moving Through Nervousness

Julian and Hala reveal the unique way they prepare teachers to actually teach yoga, move through the fear of public speaking, and conquer nervousness using practical meditation techniques right before they get up in front of the room.

At Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind, we pride ourselves on really training teachers to actually teach, and providing grounded, practical tools that give teachers an experience of personal growth, transformation and healing they can then share with their students down the line.

Early-Bird Pricing is NOW Good through 12/15 —Find Out More Here:
2016 Training

The #1 Modern Mind-Body Yoga Training..

What do we mean when we talk about the mind-body connection? What does this have to do with yoga, meditation and brain science? Hala and Julian sat down recently to discuss the underlying philosophy and approach of the Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind Yoga Teacher Training.

Hala talks about leaving teacher training with “a lot of new words” —but terrified that anyone would ask her what they meant?! Julian talks about his passion for the intersection between anatomy, psychology, neuroscience, meditation and yoga… Watch the video above for more on how the Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind yoga teacher training will (instead of just buzz words and vague beliefs)  give you practical tools and a grounded path to both self-transformation and sharing effective healing and personal growth experiences with your future yoga students.

Early-Bird Pricing is NOW Good through 12/15 —Find Out More Here:
2016 Training

Yoga Superpowers: Creating Effective Yoga Class Themes!

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This Yoga Superpowers video is about creating effective yoga class themes. It empowers you to reflect on your own life experience and yoga practice as a way to identify authentic themes that you can share in your classes.

Everyone has something meaningful to share that can be moving and inspiring to their yoga students. We all value authenticity at an emotional level, and this is a key part of connecting and communicating with your community!



Yoga Training Tips – Yoga Superpowers #3: Freedom From Demonstrating Everything

3 Reasons Why Yoga Works: Top Training Tips – #3 Resilience