Yoga University of Florida
Excellence in Yoga Teacher Training
Hatha, Hot, Vinyasa & Yoga Therapy
Yoga as Therapy 4 Day Immersion with Doug Keller
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Yoga refines our movement and breath. In its therapeutic applications, asana and pranayama become the tools by which we address patterns of movement, breath and being that are at the root of chronic pain, limitation and even disease.

Because of the way we’re built, and the lives we live (even as yoga practitioners), we all face challenges individual in our life and practice, often with chronic pain. Our own structure and patterns of movement often lead us directly into these problems, unless we recognize and change them. Even when we exercise regularly or have a regular practice, we allow some muscles to dominate, leaving others weak and unused. This can eventually lead to pain and injury, even for the experienced practitioner.

This year’s training will inquire more deeply into such movement patterns linked to pain problems (called ‘Movement Impairment Syndromes’) — how they can be recognized in class or through assessment, and how they can be addressed through asana sequences. We’ll go into some depth on how variations in individual structure can be recognized and addressed in these sequences, with emphasis on the muscles and muscle trains that need the most focus.

The four days of the training will work progressively with the following topics, focusing this year primarily on the lower body, and the various approaches of yoga therapeutics

Day 1-2 — Movement and Pain Problems in the Low Back, Sacrum and Lower Body: Forward Bending, Backbending and Twisting — Patterns and Assessments

•   Our own individual style of movement is adapted to our own unique structure and proportions. Like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike, and we can recognize people we know from a distance or from behind, just based on the way in which they move.

•   Our style of movement shows up most in our forward bending, and is often the key to understanding our limitations as well as injuries and pain problems. This very accessible session will bring awareness to our own style of movement, and how to adapt in our practice for greater freedom in movement as well as for overcoming pain syndromes.

•   Special focus will be on issues of the low back and sacrum, and approaches to yoga practice to address movement patterns leading to pain problems.

•   While the initial focus will be on forward bending, particularly as taught and practiced in class, we will also go into these patterns in the different classes of backbending as well as twisting — with special attention to the health of the low back and sacrum.

•   This will also include work with postural and movement analysis, as well as going through remedial exercises that students and clients can practice at home and during the day to address chronic problems rooted in posture and movement habits

Day 2-3 — Specific Joint Problems Connected with Movement Patterns: Feet, Knees and Hips — Specific Ways of Working in Poses

•   The structure of the feet, knees and hips — as well as common therapeutic issues (particularly arising in the knees) will be covered in depth, with work on how alignment points often need to be modified accordingly for a more beneficial practice of the poses.

•   A close look at muscular problems arising from structural factors — and how to adjust for them in the practice of poses, as well as covering remedial exercises and modifications of poses to address muscular imbalances arising from structural factors.

•   This too will involve specific assessment points for understanding what is ‘going on’ individually for students complaining of specific pain problems — and targeted remedial work.

Day 3-4 — The Relationship of the Upper Body to Lower Body Issues

•   Many of the problems and limitations we face in the lower body arise from actions, misalignments and movement patterns in the upper body.

•   We will look specifically at actions of the head and neck — both the shape of the thoracic and cervical spine as well as habits of movement of the head, neck and shoulders — that impact the health of the low back and sacrum as well as the ability to practice the asanas beneficially.

•   Assessment techniques and remedial exercises for the upper body and shoulders will lead to better movement and relief from pain in the lower body — so we will be putting the two together!

•   This will include a look at the role of inversions and variations on inversions — paying attention to proper actions in the lower body, supported by upper body strength.

The Therapeutic Dimensions of ‘Laya Yoga’

Spread throughout the four days will be included the element of restoratives, and overall the topic of ‘Laya Yoga’ — which includes not just supported postures for relaxation and rejuvenation, but the role of yoga nidra — and how to instruct yoga nidra effectively.

•   A significant element of practice that was introduced with the advent of ‘hatha yoga’ was the element of ‘Laya Yoga’ — which we know in terms of yoga nidra, restorative poses, and related breathing and meditation practices. The original essence of this was cultivating ‘spaciousness,’ which is an element of all practice, and which allows us to go much more deeply into all aspects of yoga.

•   This will include practice and examination of a range of supported/restorative poses, and their role in therapeutic work. These might be grouped under the heading of ‘restorative,’ but their use and purpose extends beyond the range of the most common supported restorative poses.

•   These will be treated in terms of the myofascial ‘sutras’ and related postural imbalances they address, with specifics on support and alignment (which is crucial when poses are held for longer periods of time in relaxation or without muscular engagement).

•   The main emphasis will be upon sequencing for yoga nidra, as well as the role of marma (concentration on marma or ‘energy points’) as a focus for a deeper experience of yoga nidra, in keeping with the earlier traditions of yoga nidra practice that went beyond ‘guided relaxation.’

•   This will include philosophical exploration of concepts of the ‘self’ as ‘ahamkara,’ and the therapeutic aspects of the practices for mental and emotional wellness and growth not addressed in earlier or more ‘classical’ traditions of yoga.

Dates: Thursday June 11 - Sunday June 14, 2015


Thursday - Saturday 9a-12p & 1:30-4:30p
**SUNDAY ONLY 9A-12P & 1P-4P**


About Doug Keller -

Doug Keller has been teaching workshops and trainings in the therapeutic applications of yoga for a decade, and is known not only for his effectiveness in communicating this ever-evolving approach in these trainings, but also for his extensive writing on the topic in magazines, journals and his two-volume work on ‘Yoga As Therapy.’ He is also, in addition to his traveling and teaching, a Distinguished Professor at the Maryland University of Integrative Health in their Master’s Degree program in Yoga Therapy. This program is state-approved and accredited for granting a Master’s degree in this field, and is fully accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapists.