In September 2011 Jason was interviewed by online blog Yoga Dudes about the need for yoga teachers to study anatomy and yoga-related anatomy injuries.
Jason Brown has been a student of the contemplative and movement arts for over 30 years, and a student of yoga since 1996. In 2007, he created Zenyasa Yoga as a way to synthesize interests in Zen Buddhism, vinyasa yoga, and exercise science.
Q: Why do yoga teachers need to learn so much anatomy? How does it help their teaching?
A strong understanding of musculo-skeletal anatomy, injury awareness and kinesiology can help yoga teachers in a million different ways. We routinely ask students to take their joints to the edge of their range of motion, and sometimes toward more extreme ranges of motion. Many yoga postures can put tremendous stress on the shoulders, wrists, knees and intervertebral disc joints. So first and foremost, a strong foundation in anatomy can give teachers the knowledge required to help keep their students safe and prevent injury. But also, teachers with a strong understanding of anatomy can also “see” their students more clearly, as if with x-ray eyes, and more quickly identify the causes of misalignment within any given posture — which muscles might be tight or weak, or just not working, or if there are skeletal issues causing the misalignment. And they can then give more meaningful verbal cues and hands-on assists, as well as potentially recommend specific postures or exercises to the student that could enable them to more effectively evolve in the posture. Understanding anatomy can also help teachers become more skillful and creative in their sequencing, especially when sequencing toward a peak posture. Or work therapeutially with clients who have specific concerns. I could go on and on.