Yoga continues to be one of the hottest trends in the fitness and wellness industries. There are endless benefits when it comes to a Yoga practice. It is hard to believe that a 5,000-year-old tradition could have anything missing, but could it?

At Gray Institute®, we embrace the truths of human movement. Yoga has so much to offer its practitioners’ minds, bodies, and souls. However, we also believe that there’s always room for growth and improvement. That’s why we created our innovative Functional Yoga System specialization, which combines the millennia-old traditions of Yoga with Applied Functional Science® (AFS)—offering subtle ways to enhance and deepen your clients’ practices.

What Derails Your Clients’ Yoga Practices?

All Yoga schools agree the ultimate goal of Yoga is to reach liberation (Moksha). We achieve this by transcending consciousness, becoming more focused and self-aware, thus creating a gateway for growth. Traditional Yoga does a great job working towards this intention. The question is, how can anyone move up the ladder of consciousness if they have back pain? What if ego overshadows objective when poses are not “perfect”? How is growth possible when favorite sports or activities are derailed by injury?

Applied Functional Science might offer solutions to these challenges.

Learning how to incorporate the principles, strategies, and techniques of AFS may be the missing link to a complete, well-rounded physical practice of Yoga. AFS is based off science, not tradition. However, it is not a formulaic approach.

Instead, AFS combines physics, biology, psychology, and other scientific disciplines to create a holistic and individualized approach to assessing our movements. It recognizes that human movement involves Chain Reactions® and that muscles and joints rarely (if ever) work in isolation—and that our minds and spirits add even more layers of complexity to our movement.

AFS gives you the tools and insight to identify dysfunction and accommodate your clients’ unique biomechanics in way that is uplifting and empowering.

Across the world, yogis and other movement professionals are using Applied Functional Science to help identify dysfunction and other barriers to detract from their clients’ and students’ practices. However, our Functional Yoga System deepens our focus into how Applied Functional Science and Yoga align, helping you bring people of many differing abilities into the Yoga practice.

RELATED: Yoga and Pelvic Health: The Hidden Connection

Improve Your Clients’ Yoga Practice With AFS

Here are three ways AFS can improve your clients’ Yoga practice.

1. Exploring Their Bodies’ Chain Reactions

The body is miraculously and meticulously designed to work as a system. Whether it’s from previous injuries, repetitive movement, or lack of movement, when one part of the system is unable to do its job, other parts will take over. Unfortunately, the parts taking over are often not qualified for such demands. This may lead to dysfunction or pain anywhere along the chain. As AFS affirms, the site of our pain is often not the source. Using strategies learned from AFS, you can teach your clients to consider and address the whole Chain Reaction, and not just the painful area.

2. Respecting Their Unique Biomechanics

As different as we all look on the outside is as different as we look on the inside. It is an unrealistic expectation to believe for Yoga to be successful, poses must match those seen in a book. For a client with long legs and a short torso, they might not be anatomically able to touch their toes. Yoga won’t change this.

There are a couple of ways to handle this: take advantage of an AFS strategy simply by widening the stance or suggest the client choose a different line the next time they pick their parents!

3. Tweaking Poses to Meet Their Goals

Clients will learn how to tweak traditional Yoga poses in ways that will mimic the joint motions necessary to improve their sport or favorite activity. Think of a right-handed tennis player. During the initial part of a serve, the following joint motions are required:

  • Extension, adduction, and internal rotation of the right hip joint
  • Extension, left lateral flexion, and right rotation of the thoracic spine

Most traditional Yoga poses are positioned in external rotation at the hip joint. There are very few poses using hip internal rotation.

AFS will enlighten your clients to the art of tweaking positions with the intention of facilitating hip internal rotation while honoring the respective spinal motions. This will increase mobility, stability, and economy of motion for your client’s sport and/or activity of choice. Additionally, addressing the joints in multiple planes of motion will boost performance while avoiding overuse injuries.

In the corresponding Vlog, Teri Lewis will take you through more understanding and application of the right-handed tennis player example.


Deepen Your Clients’ Practice With Gray Institute’s Functional Yoga System

If you would like to learn more about how to take Yoga to the next level for you and your clients, Gray Institute® is now offering our Functional Yoga System specialization. This course empowers you to learn how to weave the principles, strategies, and techniques of AFS into any Yoga practice.

Our course also helps you master the creation of Yoga-inspired movement sequences designed to identify and restore dysfunction, as well as dive into a deeper understanding how the physical body navigates through modern-day times of today’s world while continuing to uplift and support the traditional lineage. Visit our website, new insights are waiting for you, enroll today!