The Body Friendly Yoga Story by Kama Linden
As a personal trainer, dancer, singer-songwriter, and anatomy enthusiast, I always have taken apart the puzzle only to find a new and hopefully better way of putting it back together. Almost like going from the rigidity of ballet that could only be achieved by some, to the strength and sensible techniques of Martha Graham, and lyrical or modern-based jazz dance, (Many of her dancers stayed in the company well past 50) I kind of had the same vision for YOGA....work with the joints and range of motion you have, and improve from there, rather than forcing your joints and hoping to look like an ideal!
For example: While I was taking my teacher-training I always noticed that people tended to make their arms and shoulders go "backwards" in warrior 2 and trikonasana. It bothered me, being a dancer, that no one bothered to correct the form of these soon to be teacher's shoulder joints. All the attention was being paid to the feet....make the foot 90 degrees....but what about the upper body joints?
When I first started putting my 200 hour certification to work, I thought about the cues that my teachers in classes used..."make your foot 90 degrees and cross the back foot 1/3 behind the heel" for warrior 1, "face both hips to the side wall" in warrior 2...."put your head through your arms and gaze at your belly button" for downdog, and "knees chest chin" and I thought...wow, these students are trying so hard to "put their head through their arms and look at their belly button" that they dont even notice that their neck is bunching up, their shoulders are popping out of joint, their elbows are twisting sideways, and they can seriously tear their rotator cuff....all because the cue was so absolute and all-important!!!
LET'S RETHINK THIS!!!!
I liked the ideas of alignment and muscular and organic energy, as taught to me by my Anusara-trained instructors (created by John Friend). Now I wanted to take these great ideas and run with them! Make Yoga alignment cues a) colloquial and b) functional! Lets focus on stabilizing the core (abdominals/back alignment) and aliging the knee, toe and hip in all lunges/warriors/etc, and keep the strength in the muscles and space in the joints. Why push your hips to face side if you knee is caving in? Think about energy and core alignment cueing vs "look like this"....while giving the participant a vigourous Vinyasa flow workout? How nice would it be to learn how to do chattarunga dandasana (push-ups with close hands) better, do pigeon without tearing the meniscus, and come away feeling like you got a workout and not an injury?
This is my vision for BODYFRIENDLYOGA....an intense workout without the injury!!!!!
Later on, I hope to make videos for absolute beginners, and pre-natal participants.
The filming/the vision:
Thanks to Paul Sladkus and Andrew Gottimer (agreeing to work with my small savings), I was able to shoot BODYFRIENDLYOGA in the GOOD NEWS BROADCASTING studios in NYC.I was terribly ill from the day before....ate something bad from a salad bar, I suppose....but once the lights were on (and B's Beautiful makeup)....I was ready to go! I worked in a teeny tiny space and was not allowed to go outside the lines, and we mostly did it straight through, only to stop because we ran out of tape.....Andrew worked countless hours editing and making sure the telephone ringing was taken out, as well as adding the instrumental music from my album UNINHIBITED 2006 to the sountrack. Nick Frelich created my logo and the artwork, and Dave Baldwin is responsible for the website you see here.
None of this would even be possible without the love and support of my students and clients who let me practice the theories of BODYFRIENLYOGA on them!