The Anatomy of Yoga

The Anatomy of Yoga
with Ellen Heed

June 20 - 22, 2017
9:00am - 5:30pm (1.5 hour lunch break)

Functional anatomy is the art of assessing your student or client in order to streamline the healing process. This inspiring and information-filled course will go beyond the relationship between anatomical structure and bodily function - it will bring anatomy to life with richly illustrated lectures, lively Q&A, and hands-on exercises. We will discuss how posture psychology, physical trauma, nutrition, and organ cleansing directly affect the teaching and practice of yoga and other therapeutic modalities. This course is theoretical and experiential, so come prepared to take notes and do some yoga!


Cost is $350 for the class plus a $25.00 materials fee.

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Workshop Description

This dynamic three-day anatomy intensive will give teachers new tools to communicate the benefits of yoga. Ellen Heed has a gift for translating the complex language of western anatomy into usable, practical concepts that yoga teachers can successfully integrate into their teaching. You learn names of bones, muscles, and connective tissues and how to locate them in both your own and your student’s body. Why and how we are different from each other becomes the basis for how to use yoga as a tool to develop your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses.

Module 1: Reading Posture: Psyche in the Body & Spinal Pathology: This module is all about our bony structure, and how posture affects the function of the body. Students will learn the names and location of the bones of the body and how to read postural cues to assess the emotional history of any individual from observing the curves of the spine. Spinal pathology will be discussed in detail. You will also learn how yoga can be used as an effective tool to improve alignment and the effects of gravity and aging.

Module 2: Postural Muscles & Emotion in the Body: There are over 600 muscles in the body. This module is about learning to identify which muscles most directly affect posture, and how those postural habits can create chronic pain conditions in the body. We will also talk about how to free our bodies of chronic pain patterns by opening up the structural muscles: by stretching, cleansing, healing scar tissue, and through emotional release.

Module 3: The Bio-Dynamics of Connective Tissue: Part 1 – A one-hour lecture that introduces students to the basics about connective tissue. 90-Minute Experiential Anatomy Yoga Practice This yoga class will be a rare chance to connect the dots of asana practice with an anatomical narration of each pose. You’ve seen it and heard it – now feel it.

Part 2 - Reading Body Types: How Connective Tissue Determines Body Type This module will cover the physiology and function of connective tissue. We will examine various injuries, how they occur, and how to prevent them. We will discuss how connective tissue has different densities according to our genetic heritage and how to work with each connective tissue-type with yoga. During the Experiential Anatomy Yoga Practice in Part 1 of this module, Ellen will observe the practice to determine which body-type and connective tissue-type each student has. We will discuss their differences and learn how to custom tailor a yoga practice for each different body type.

Module 4: Joint Structure & Function: This module will cover joint structure and function. Ellen will explain and define injuries, how to avoid them in yoga practice, and how to work with them when they occur. We will also discuss how to maintain healthy joint function throughout the aging process.

Module 5: Ruled by Blood: Reading Biochemical Imbalance: Biochemistry has a universal influence over the practice of yoga. This workshop explores the relationship between body type and blood chemistry. An imbalance in the blood chemistry can make it unnecessarily painful to practice yoga. When teachers are competent in the assessment of these imbalances, students can have a more enjoyable practice. The goal of this module is to teach teachers how to know when there is a biochemical imbalance, when to speak to students about imbalances, and how yoga can help to heal them.

Module 6: The Biomechanics of Breath: This module is designed to acquaint yoga teachers with the importance of breath in yoga. The physiology of breath and the mechanics of the diaphragm will be thoroughly examined. In this module, you will learn about the lungs, the heart, the muscles of inspiration and expiration, and how to move Qi or Prana with the breath. This module will move from the minute details of oxygen exchange in the cells to the use of breath as ecstatic practice.

Module 7: The Nervous System: Hardware of the Chakras: The final module covers the subject of the human nervous system, from both a western and esoteric eastern perspective. We will look at the structure of the nervous system, and discuss how to work with both up-regulating and down-regulating yoga practices and when each practice is appropriate. You will learn how to sequence a yoga practice to soothe frazzled nerves. We will discuss the relationship between the chakras and the autonomic nervous system, and complete our East/West dialogue by mapping the chakras directly into the anatomy of the nervous system.

This course satisfies the 20-hour Anatomy requirement for the National Yoga Alliance in the USA.

About Ellen Heed

Ellen Heed started dancing at the age of four and has followed a fascination with movement, energy and structure into the present. She studied dance at California Institute of the Arts and performed, toured and taught dance throughout California with the contemporary dance company Rodeo Ex Machina from 1979-1985.

To address healing knee and back pain, she began the study of yoga in 1994 with Ana Forrest, completing Ana's Teacher Training in 1997, and repeating it in 1999. Concurrent with her study of yoga, Ellen became certified as a Shiatsu Specialist in 2000, which led to a deep study of functional anatomy and transformational bodywork with Dr. Vincent Medici, DC ND CMT. In 2002, Ellen began training in Visionary Cranialsacral Work with Hugh Milne in 2002, and completed her certification in VCSW at the Milne Institute in 2006.

Ellen currently teaches Anatomy & Physiology, Pain & Orthopedic Evaluation, and Craniosacral Therapy at the Shiatsu Massage School of California. She also travels nationally to teach workshops about human energetic and sexual empowerment. She teaches Functional Anatomy for Yoga Teachers for YogaWorks in LA, and nationally for Ana Forrest's teacher trainings. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Somatic Psychology and maintains a thriving practice in Los Angeles, California.

Learn more about Ellen Heed at ellenheed.com.

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Ellen Heed
Fresh Workshops

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