The culmination of Peter Blackaby's 30-plus years' experience as a yoga teacher and trainer, as well as his training as an osteopath, 'Intelligent Yoga: re-educating mind and body' is an accessible, scientifically credible and beautifully illustrated account of the yoga practice that has established his reputation internationally. He explains the potentially beneficial postures that should constitute "stock" yoga practice, together with those - including a number of so-called classical postures - that should be avoided: "Humans have evolved to accommodate certain movements safely, including forward bending. Being bipedal we have to bend down to the ground a lot and come back up again and so, structurally, we are well adapted for bending forwards. Bending backwards on the other hand is something we do infrequently and for which we are poorly adapted. If we over emphasise backbends in our yoga practice, then this can lead to injury." Blackaby reveals too how emotional and physical events can lead us to acquire habituated patterns of movement. He shows how we can "hold on" to these movements and how intelligent yoga practice, incorporating movements for which humans are well-adapted, can undo this "patterning". He believes firmly that yoga should lead us away from an anatomical way of thinking about movement and towards a more functional approach: "If we look at the various poses and reduce them to say a hamstring stretch, a quad-strengthener or a hip-opener, we fragment our body into parts. Muscles do not weaken or shorten without reason; rather they will suffer if they are no longer used properly in their function, leading to conditions such as stiff painful lower backs, neck pain and headaches." 'Intelligent Yoga; re-educating mind and body' reveals how we can restore a muscle or joint to health by re-establishing its functional purpose.
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After qualifying as an Iyengar teacher in the late 1970's, Brighton-based Peter Blackaby started training in osteopathy as a way of better understanding the biomechanics of yoga. His lecturer and fellow yoga teacher John Stirk introduced Peter to the work of Vanda Scaravelli, which radically changed his approach to yoga and yoga practice.
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