This blog post was first sent to Jenni’s email list as an email newsletter. Sign up for the JRY email newsletter here!
Here’s the most foundational insight that helped me a TON when I was beginning to learn about how to apply movement science to yoga.
Our society’s everyday language – and also much of the language in many yoga teacher trainings (!) – implies that the human body operates pretty much like a *machine*.
Examples of body-as-machine beliefs are phrases like these:
“X” movement will cause “wear and tear” in your joints
“Misalignments” will place too much stress in certain areas of the body and cause pain & dysfunction
Faulty or dysfunctional movement patterns cause the body to “break down”
The main idea is that the human body has one optimal alignment and way of moving, and if it doesn’t move that way, “wear and tear” will happen.
Now when it comes to an actual machine like a car, these ideas definitely apply!
If a car’s wheels are “out of alignment,” this will cause uneven or excessive tire wear. Therefore, tune-ups are important for realigning those wheels!
But the human body, on the other hand, is not like a car in this way. Instead of simply wearing down, the tissues of the human body… ADAPT to load!
Just think about it: when we load our muscles, connective tissues, and bones (in any alignment) they get stronger, not weaker.
Loading our tissues using the right parameters (intensity, frequency, etc.) stimulates them to adapt, remodel, and grow stronger. This means they’re now more resilient and better able to tolerate load.
In other words, loading doesn’t wear our muscles, joints, and bones down; it builds these tissues up!
In fact, in evidence-based rehab circles, the phrase “wear and tear” is often being replaced these days with the phrase “wear and repair” – which is a much more accurate and positive way of conceptualizing of this whole process.
A main takeaway from the insight that the body is not a machine is that we don’t need regular “tune-ups” to keep our body aligned or adjusted.
Instead, a better approach is to just build our resiliency in general to all the stressors in our life – and yoga is a wonderful way of doing that!
Don’t you think??
➡️ Have you held beliefs in which you saw the body as more of a machine than an adaptable organism? Do you remember a specific example?
If you’re a yoga/movement teacher, are there ways you might use teaching language that supports the paradigm of the body as adaptable versus the body as a machine?
Want to build your resiliency to life’s stressors with fun and creative yoga classes? 🙂
Join me on the mat in my yoga class library!
260+ yoga classes (and always growing!)
Range of time lengths (10-60 min) and a variety of challenge levels
New “Yoga Class Club” feature for a cultivated experience
Starts with a 7-day free trial!