Practical Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga Courses by Simon Borg-Olivier

Article By Simon Borg-Olivier: ‘Using your diaphragm to simultaneously enhance power, core stabilisation, relaxation, digestion, immunity and sexual function’:

The diaphragm is a major muscle that is the key to internal power, as well as an often forgotten but very important contributor to core stabilisation. In addition, the diaphragm has important neurological control over the autonomic nervous system. Diaphragmatic breathing is the simplest way to stimulate activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. Core stabilisation practiced as many people do it, for example by pulling the navel to the spine, creates tension that can restrict the diaphragm, resulting in limited trunk strength and stability, reduced power to the limbs, as well as inhibiting the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the digestive, reproductive and immune systems. In this lecture you will be shown how to use intelligent postures and movements to create abdominal firmness that allows the diaphragm to be used for the generation of increased power and superior core stabilisation while stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system to enhance relaxation, digestion, immunity and sexual function.

The diaphragm is a major muscle that is the key to internal power, as well as an often forgotten but very important contributor to core stabilisation. In addition, the diaphragm has important neurological control over the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is sometimes called the automatic nervous system because we usually think that we have no conscious control over it. Diaphragmatic breathing allows us to have some conscious control over the ANS and is the simplest way to stimulate activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS tends to have a calming effect on the body-mind and leaves you feeling peaceful, and content. It usually has an opposite effect to the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which is often called the ‘flight or fight response’, which in its primitive form has fear and anger as its dominant emotions. The PNS also enhances the functioning of the digestive, reproductive and immune systems.

Core stabilisation is a nebulous term referring to the activation of various muscles in and around the trunk that can stabilise and strengthen the spine under load. The often-used instruction ‘tighten your abdomen’ is not a clear instruction. It can be, and is, interpreted in many ways by different people. In other words people tighten their abdomens using many different combinations of muscles, and each of these ways can have very different effects. Core stabilisation is also described to be a type of co-activation (or simultaneous tensing) of muscles around the trunk. This can be done by simultaneously tensing the circumferential muscles of the trunk (such as the transverse and oblique abdominal muscles), which usually causes the trunk to narrow, the navel to move towards the spine, and breathing to become less abdominal (diaphragmatic breathing) and more thoracic (chest breathing). Alternatively, core stabilisation can be achieved by co-activating (or simultaneously tensing) muscles at the front and back of the trunk (such as the main spinal flexor rectus abdominis and the spinal extensors or back muscles). This flexor-extensor co-activation usually causes the trunk to firm without the navel moving towards the spine, while still allowing abdominal (diaphragmatic) breathing in preference to chest (thoracic) breathing.

When the abdomen is relaxed the diaphragm descends on inhalation and causes an increase in the intra-abdominal pressure that makes the abdomen expand outward like a balloon being blown up. If the abdomen is held firm by pulling the navel to the spine using a combination of transverse and oblique abdominal muscles then the diaphragm is usually inhibited and cannot move and so breathing becomes more thoracic. If the abdomen is held firm using other muscular combinations such as those including the rectus abdominis then the diaphragm and the PNS are not inhibited and a diaphragmatic inhalation causes an increase in intra-abdominal pressure that can increase trunk strength and stability as well as power to the arms and legs. In addition, because the waist is not constricted with this type of core stabilisation, circulation can be seen to significantly increase, while heart and breathing rates do not significantly increase.

Core stabilisation practiced as many people do it, for example tightening the abdomen by pulling the navel closer to the spine, creates tension that can restrict the diaphragm, reduce trunk strength and stability, reduce power to the limbs, stimulate the SNS and inhibit the PNS. Inhibition of PNS due to decreased diaphragmatic breathing leads to deficiencies in the digestive, reproductive and immune systems. If the SNS is predominant and ‘flight or fight’ is the main aim, then the body-mind sees no need to waste energy on digesting food, fighting a flu or reproducing so it simply turns these systems off and diverts this energy elsewhere. If the digestive system is depleted then food is often poorly absorbed or eliminated, and fermentation, bloating, autotoxemia and overeating tend to occur. If the immune system is inhibited then the ability to deal with simple pathogens and/or heal from simple injuries is impaired. Inhibition of the reproductive system can lead to menstrual irregularity, prostate problems, sexual dysfunction and infertility. Problems of these three body systems are all very common in the world today and are often present in people of all ages who appear fit and healthy from doing regular exercise.

It is possible to use intelligent posture and movement to create abdominal firmness that allows the diaphragm to be used for the generation of increased power, superior core stabilisation while allowing activity of the parasympathetic nervous system to enhance relaxation, digestion, immunity and sexual function. Postures and movements that allow the body to be firm but calm can be learned by observing the natural movement of the trunk and limbs that occur during brisk relaxed walking with diaphragmatic breathing. These natural movements are often lost in activities such as jogging. Learning how to use the diaphragm to breathe into an abdomen that has been firmed by natural movements or postures improves, power, strength, flexibility, internal organ function as well as circulation, while keeping the nervous system calm and breathing and heart rates relatively low.

YOGA SYNERGY COURSES:
1. Yoga Synergy Online Course: Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga:

2. RMIT University Online Courses: RMIT Body, Breath and Movement,  RMIT Yoga Fundamentals:

3. Live Course: Practical Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga (See www.yogasynergy.com for Course dates and Locations)

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Simon Borg-Olivier in Eka Hasta Adho Mukha Vrksasana, Photo Courtesy Donatella Parisini

1. Yoga Synergy Online Course: Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga:

This course, entitled ‘Practical Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga’, was written and devised by physiotherapists and yoga teachers Simon Borg-Olivier and Bianca Machliss.

Initially run as a face-to-face course from 1995 to the present time this course is now available in a totally online format.

Your investment of $587 (or $387 for people who have previously done our 36 hour live course) provides you with:

  • comprehensive learning in 14 weeks
  • detailed information around 12 essential learning areas
  • the opportunity to learn at your own pace (log in at a time that suits you)
  • approximately 12 hours learning per week.
  • guided learning objectives designed to enhance your physical wellbeing, your yoga practice and/or your yoga teacher training.
  • the latest version (2011) of the textbook ‘Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga’ by Simon Borg-Olivier and Bianca Machliss (PDF version), which is downloadable and searchable
  • streaming video of lecture material with written summaries for each of the 12 main Topic titles
  • access to a moderated online discussion forum
  • optional practical exercises,
  • Yoga Synergy certificate of completion, which is assessment and examination based (optional)

For a small fee you can have additional access to the online content after the completion of your course to maintain your learning experience.

Read more about the course and the text book, contents and testimonials at:

http://anatomy.yogasynergy.com (This site also has a link for enrolling in the course)

http://blog.yogasynergy.com (Video and article material related to what is taught in the course)

http://www.yogasynergy.com (Other Yoga Synergy Practice and Lecture  DVDs, class times)

Although there is no requirement in our Online Course to get face to face teaching we do run classes and courses at our schools in Sydney and elsewhere and attendance at these classes can be of great benefit. Details and timetables are also available from our main school website at:

http://www.yogasynergy.com

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us via email ‘yoga at yogasynergy dot com’ or ring the Yoga Synergy office on +61 2 9389 7399.

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2. RMIT University Online Course: Body, Breath and Movement:

‘Body, Breath and Movement’ is the RMIT University version of the Yoga Synergy Online course on the Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga. This course goes into more depth than the other courses listed here and is geared towards the Postgraduate students of the RMIT Masters of Wellness Degree. This course can also be done by undergraduates and as an external student. This is an excellent course. READ MORE

 

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3. Live Courses: Practical Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga (See www.yogasynergy.com for Course dates and Locations):

Enhance your yoga practice, improve your yoga teaching – this is a must-do course for anyone interested in yoga!

The course provides yoga teachers and students with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the basic workings of the body while practicing asanas (static postures),vinyasas (dynamic exercises) and pranayamas (breathing exercises) of Hatha yoga. Learn how to safely increase strength and flexibility whilst minimising the risks of injury due to incorrect practice and promote the healing of injuries with guidance on yoga therapy.

This is a very practical course taught in a similar fashion to a yoga workshop. READ MORE

 

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Fliers for previous Yoga Synergy Live Courses on the Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga:

 

Simon Borg-Olivier YogaWorkshop Ireland Aug2011

Simon Borg-Olivier YogaWorkshop Ireland Aug2011

Studio Cirque Ashtanga Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga workshop 25aug06

Studio Cirque Ashtanga Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga workshop 25aug06

Simon Borg-Olivier Yoga Anatomy Workshop Singapore May 2011

Simon Borg-Olivier Yoga Anatomy Workshop Singapore May 2011

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Responses to “Practical Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga Courses by Simon Borg-Olivier”

  • bindu:

    Is it possible to still start the Anatomy and Physiology of yoga course?
    Kind Regards

    bindu

  • Hi Bindu,
    yes the next course starts on 22 november 2010
    you can get access on http://anatomy.yogasynergy.com
    you can also request more information from yoga@yogasynergy.com
    best wishes, Simon Borg-Olivier

  • Misty Elliss:

    HI SImon. I did your workshops at Fremantle Yoga Centre in WA a couple of years ago and was wanting to come to your workshops in May at Yoga Om North Perth called ‘Awakening the Chakra’s’. Are these the same as what you presented in the Fremantle ones? Or different themes, etc. Misty

  • Hi Misty
    i left you a phone message, but in case you didnt get it and for everyone else to read as well I can say that my workshop in May 2011 will be quite different to what i did in Perth 2009. The workshop you attended previously was with more a practical anatomical bias (i.e. optimising strength and flexibility, stability and physical movement, whereas my ‘Awakening the Chakras’ workshop will focus more on a practical physiological bias where i will show how to foster the movement of energy and information through the body and in particular along the spine. it would be great to see you again
    best wishes, simon

  • Pam Garrity:

    Dear Simon,
    I have visited the RMIT link for your course but it appears that there is not a current course for 2011.
    Can you advise if this course is still available and how significant is the difference between
    Course 1. Yoga Synergy Online Course: Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga. and
    Course 4. RMIT University Online Course: Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga (Semester 2 2011)
    I have been teaching yoga for 5 years and I would like to advance my study of yoga, which course would you suggest? (I have also practiced as a nurse for 20 years).
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    kind regards
    Pam

  • Sarah:

    Hi there, I would love to do one of your courses Simon.
    Will there be any more on the east coast of Oz this year/early 2012?

  • Cos:

    I am also interested to find out if there is a course in the first week of 2012 in Sydney as I will be down there from Darwin for the Christmas/New Year break. I look forward to your reply

  • kate marshall:

    Simon, I’ve sent you a message via Facebook re information on improving spine health as every now and then I have a sore back and leg.
    Also,have you a timetable yet for your 2012 Applied Anatomy classes?
    Many thanks
    Kate

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