Consciousness and the Brain
Guided Meditation Suggestions
IMEDITATE WITH ERICH (app)
For both beginning and advanced meditators, this app has over 20 different guided meditations and talks by Erich Schiffmann, recorded live. You select the meditation talk you'd like to glide you into the meditation, then select the duration of the silent time you desire. The "advanced" option lets you select the duration and the only sound is Erich's beautiful bell to mark the beginning and the end of your meditation.
The acclaimed author of Radical Acceptance is an exquisite meditation teacher who makes all kinds of great material available on her website, including beautiful guided meditations.
This website, run by a long-time meditator Elisabeth Blaikie, has dozens of heart-centered meditations
CHOPRA CENTER GUIDED MEDITATIONS
The Chopra Center has free downloads via podcasts on iTunes of scores of guided meditations. The Chopra Center is run by Deepak Chopra, MD and David Simon MD.
INSIGHT MEDITATION CENTER
This website, run by a community-based urban meditation center in Redwood, CA, focuses on “Vipassana” or “insight meditation” guided by Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella.
BESSEL VAN DER KOLK, M.D.
There is probably no one single book more fundamental to informing our modern understanding of the treatment of trauma than van der Kolk's book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.
BRUCE LIPTON, PHD
This guy blows me away. He has done the best job I've seen so far of explaining, in lay terms, the budding science of epigenetics which turns everything you thought you knew about biology and genetic destiny on its head. His book, The Biology of Belief, sparked my own amateur inquiry into the science of consciousness.
DR. JOE DISPENZA
Dr. Dispenza is a chiropractor and scientific researcher who explores the science behind spontaneous remissions and how people heal themselves of chronic conditions and even terminal diseases. He partners with other scientists to perform research on the effects of meditation during his advanced workshops. I've read two of his books, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter and Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself and can't yet get enough of learning about what this guy is on to.
NORMAN DOIDGE, MD
This is the pioneer in the field of neuroplasticity. In one of his many books, The Brain That Changes Itself, he explored the brain's ability to rewire itself. Doidge is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, author, essayist and poet.
Anatomic terms (anterior and posterior, medial and lateral, proximal and distal, abduction and adduction, and so on) reference positions or movements that occur when the body is in what's called "anatomical position." This video has an easy explanation of what that is. A similarly helpful video is here.
A must-have go-to book and web resource for all aspects of the brilliant "anatomy trains model."
Everything these folks do is worthwhile - from online visualization tools and mini-videos to the beautifully illustrated books on key muscles of yoga, key poses of yoga, and more.
CARPALS AND TARSALS
Understanding the similarities and differences between the anatomy of the foot and the hand - nicely explained by Leslie Kaminoff in this short video.
DAVID KEIL'S YOGANATOMY
David Keil is an Ashtangi who's made it his job to demystify and un-complicate the study of anatomy. His video series and readable book is the single most helpful resource combination I've run across when it comes to making the study and understanding of anatomy as it applies to asana practice. David has a sense of humor.
FASCIA AND SELF-HEALING
Introduction to “Antara” - a method for releasing and mobilizing scar tissue in the body. The method is an emerging modality for the treatment of chronic pain.
FASCIA RESEARCH GROUP
A small research group at the leading edge of work on fascia. This group is part of the Neurosurgical Clinic Günzburg of Ulm University in Germany.
GIL HEDLEY INTEGRAL ANATOMY SERIES
You can watch videos online for free or purchase DVDs to watch at your convenience. Each volume of this series presents the anatomy of human form, layer by layer, from an integral, whole body perspective.
This is a useful and easy-to-understand page explaining the myofascial meridians in easy, lay terms.
VISIBLE BODY (apps)
This is a great series of apps that enable viewing and drilling down into and seeing nearly all aspects of human anatomy - from muscles and the circulatory system to the endocrine and nervous system and more. They're not the cheapest apps you'll find out there, but they are among the best.
Feet and Legs
Yoga anatomy educator Leslie Kaminoff's succinct video explanation of the benefits of bare feet — and how hard our feet have to work to get necessary proprioceptive information when we continually jam them into shoes.
CONNECTING TO YOUR FEET IN YOGA
Our dear friends at Daily Bandha offer Ray Long’s brilliant summary discussion and usual fantastic visuals about anatomy basics as they relate to the feet in yoga postures.
FOOT AND ANKLE MOVEMENT IN MOTION
This is a three-minute video with accessible-to-mere-mortals visuals plus an audio explaining ankle and foot movement.
David Keil explains feet ABCs as they relate to the practice.
FOOT PLACEMENT - TIBIAL TORSION
I like the illustrations and explanation in this article, which illustrates why the notion that there is one 'ideal' alignment for every body makes no sense, particularly when it comes to foot placement.
HEALTHLINE BODY MAPS WITH INTERACTIVE VISUALS
This is especially helpful for visual learners.
KNEE ANATOMY ANIMATED VIDEO
This 11-minute, user-friendly video tutorial explains the key parts of the knee and the function of each.
Leslie Kaminoff explains “the lotus dilemma,” shares his reasoning behind why he doesn’t teach it and offers his informed insight into why those who can do probably don’t need to do it, and those who cannot may be better off not taking the risk.
(PLEASE) BEND YOUR DAMN KNEE
Garrett Neill, DC, RYT (“Dr. Yogi Gare”), an overall movement-wise-guy makes a compelling case for a bent knee in balance poses as an intelligent way to steer clear of loading the joint at its end range.
UNDERSTANDING KNEE HYPEREXTENSION
Nina Zolotow, on the Yoga for Healthy AgingBlog, has some tips and tricks for safeguarding knee health in yoga poses. There are some helpful ideas here for cues in standing poses to ensure knee safety.
YOGA AND FASCIA - FOOT CONNECTIONS
An article jam-packed with useful links and practical tips on yoga and fascia, particularly as it has an impact on the foot. It includes a tutorial on the interconnection of body parts - "why foot pain is connected to neck pain" and so on.
YOGA THERAPY FOR YOUR KNEES
In this Yoga International article, Doug Keller offers a simple anatomy lesson, isometric exercises, and information about how to attend to alignment in standing poses.
Head, Neck, Shoulder, Wrists, and Arms
AVOIDING SHOULDER AND WRIST INJURIES
Garrett Neill's preps and sensible cautions for keeping the shoulder and wrists safe in asana practice.
BONES OF THE SKULL
This lays out the ABCs of the bony structures of the head.
BONES AND SUTURES OF THE SKULL - VISUALIZED
This short four-minute video is an introduction to the surprisingly intricate nature of the many parts of the human skull.
BRAIN - NORMAN DOIDGE
The field of neuroplasticity is growing by leaps and bounds, and Norman Doidge earns deep bows from many of us, and from everyone in that field, for having introduced the lay reader to the idea that the brain is not fixed — that it is neuroplastic with the adaptive ability to reorganize itself.
Garrett Neil offers alternatives to chaturanga, a posture that can offer ample opportunity for wrist and shoulder injury if repetitively executed without the requisite strength and form.
CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY BASICS
For anyone new to the field of craniosacral therapy, this page offers an easy-to-understand essay on its history and the principles of the key dimensions of this modality.
Dr. Baxter Bell on what we know, and what we don't know, about frozen shoulder and what can be done therapeutically about it.
GRASSHOPPER - RETHINKING ITS WISDOM AS A CHATURANGA ALTERNATIVE
Leah Sugerman posits that knees-chest-chin is not an appropriate substitute for chaturanga because it reinforces the most common shoulder misalignment (dipping shoulders below the elbows) in that posture, places undue pressure on the cervical and lumbar spine, and doesn’t build the strength to eventually practice the pose. She offers six alternatives.
NECK TENSION AND YOGA
Gernot Huber created this 16-minute video game-changing video on neck tension and yoga practice. It is an intelligently sequenced lesson to enhance awareness of what you're doing with your neck during your practice. Only through awareness can we unlearn old patterns and learn to engage the correct muscle groups to reduce, rather than reinforce, neck tension.
NECK ORGANIZATION - VISUALIZED
This is a video tutorial showing how the neck is organized.
PROTECTING THE NECK IN BACKBENDS
This video and the accompanying article detail the risks that come from cranking the neck back into exaggerated cervical extension in backbends, which moves the emphasis away from the upper spine (good) into the neck (bad). You’ll find some great tips on neck safety and healthy alignment here.
RETHINKING 'SHOULDERS BACK AND DOWN'
Alexandria Crow explains how the “shoulders down” cue became popular - and misused - and offers insight into safe and healthy ways to move the arms from down below to above your head.
RETHINKING 'SHOULDERS BACK AND DOWN' REDUX
Physical therapist/yoga teacher Dr. Ariele Foster demonstrates healthy and safe shoulder alignment in downward facing dog.
Understanding this muscle — and learning to properly engage it in common yoga poses — goes a long way to keeping the shoulder safe. Once again, it's Doug Keller that offers a series of intelligent sequences to bring awareness to this muscle. Check out serratus pushups especially.
SHOULDERS IN DOWNWARD FACING DOG
David Keil breaks down the elements of staying safe in down dog.
This summarizes not only how the shoulder works, but offers specific suggestions on avoiding shoulder injuries in yoga.
WRIST INJURY PREVENTION
“Despite challenges and misalignments, the hands are designed to bear weight. But certain parts of the hand are more suited to this task than others,” says Doug Keller. This article addresses safe hand alignment for weight bearing poses.
Splendid, easy, healthy wrist warmups by our pal Dr. Yogi Gare.
ANATOMY OF THE PELVIS
This lighthearted video of pelvic anatomy, designed for artists, explains how the bony structures are formed. The visuals show what each part does how it moves, as seen from different angles. While its purpose is to help artists draw the pelvis, it's a great intro to the basics of the pelvis. Whoever made this video had a fine sense of humor.
AVOIDING HIP INJURIES
The common mechanisms for hip injuries in yoga and how to avoid them. This article focuses on the femur and the acetabulum.
EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE PELVIC FLOOR
Canadian yoga teacher Kelly McInnes’ detailed look at the pelvic floor and her take on why pelvic floor-related cueing, in the context of yoga, is not always a good idea.
KATY BOWMAN ON THE PELVIC FLOOR
Katy challenges the paradigm that pelvic floor strength is about Kegels. “Suggested tattoo for trainers, therapists, and athletes: Tighter does not equal stronger. It’s just tighter.” Katy Bowman said that. Intrigued? Check out her website too.
NUTATION AND COUNTERNUTATION DEMYSTIFIED
David Keil is a master at demystifying movement patterns in anatomy that can leave mere mortals feeling lost. This is just one example of that gift in action.
PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES TO RESTORE YOURSELF
Melissa Hurt’s video offers a user-friendly video explaining what can contribute to pelvic floor imbalances for women and offers several beautifully-cued exercises to restore.
PELVIC FLOOR YOGA
I like Leslie Howard's deep dive into exploring the pelvic floor through yoga. Definitely check out her website.
Written by dancer and choreographer Eric Franklin, this book brings together scientific principles, movement, and imagery exercises focused on toning the pelvic floor. He has a website too.
Doug Keller did us all a favor with this primer on the piriformis. Like everything Doug writes or teaches, it's concise, clear, and includes practices to learn how to ensure a muscle is doing its "assigned" job properly.
Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Mathews' Yoga Journal article notes that the cue to ‘tuck your tailbone’ can be misinterpreted and may orchestrate an unhealthy chain reaction up the spine. This includes a helpful summary for understanding the anatomy of the tailbone.
THE FEMALE PELVIS
A book by Blandine Calais-Germain on the functional anatomy of the pelvis and its response to pregnancy and childbirth. The book includes specific exercises aimed at increasing flexibility, strength, and coordination of pelvic functions.
THE PSOAS BOOK
By Liz Koch, this is a and user-friendly, comprehensive guide to the Iliopsoas muscle and its influence on emotions, body, and mind.
THE WHOLE WOMAN
A website and audio interview with Christine Kent, an RN offering alternative approaches in thinking about and managing issues including pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, and chronic hip pain.
UNTUCKING THE TAIL
A short, easy-to-understand tutorial on the value of remembering to untuck that tail.