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Podcast #08: Jules Mitchell on the Science of Stretching

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Jules Mitchell is a Yoga therapist/Biomechanist (MS Candidate in Exercise Science at CSU Long Beach) who is completing her thesis on the Science of Stretching. If you want a sneak peak at her research you can go to her website and read her blog posts  – julesmitchellyoga.com. Jules teaches private yoga lessons, contributes to yoga teacher trainings, and has online classes available at Udaya.com, which I highly recommend!

Science of Stretching Workshops!

She has condensed her thesis into a 2-part lecture series which she offers around the country. You can find out more here. If you live in the NY area and are interested in attending her seminar, please email me at ariana@arianayoga.com and I will keep you posted on when she will be coming and how you can sign up.

Here’s What We Talk About In This Podcast

  • How she applied her research to her online classes on Udaya.com
  • Why she pursued a Masters in Exercise Science and wrote her thesis on the Science of Stretching
  • What stretching, flexibility and mobility are and how they are related (may not be what you’re thinking!)
  • The Upside and Downside of Static Stretching
  • How results from PNF stretches can be temporary
  • Resistance Stretching
  • How science doesn’t make its way to the yoga community. YET.
  • Why you don’t need to do yoga every day. #YogaEveryThirdDay
  • Matthew Remski’s #WAWADIA project (What Are We Actually Doing in Asana)
  • Why she sometimes teaches Yoga Mis-Alignment
  • The potential for injury in yoga. And how it is difficult for teachers and practitioners to come forward with their stories of injury because yoga exists in the context that it is good for you.
  • How to raise the bar for yoga asana teachers

Favorite Quote from the Interview:

 “All movement is good movement as long as the tissues can withstand the loads.” [Tweet This]

Links

 Jules Mitchell’s online classes on Udaya.com

Jules Mitchell’s website and blog

Matthew Remski #WAWADIA Articles

Listen in iTunes or Stitcher

Ever Heard of A Body Teaser?

You know how we have brain teasers? Well, I thought it would be fun to include a “Body Teaser” at the end of every podcast. I was inspired by Jules’ comment that she includes a segment in her workshops called “Yoga Misalignment” (Listen to the interview for more info). I definitely have my opinions on what I think good alignment is and I rarely deviate from them in my yoga classes – example – shoulders above the wrists (sometimes a little behind too) in plank pose. But perhaps that doesn’t prepare the body for real life when things go out of alignment. As she says in the interview, if you fall, do you think you will fall in a perfectly aligned plank pose? And will your body’s tissues and nervous system be able to recover from that fall?

Here is the “Body Teaser”: if you practice yoga or other physical discipline that tends to have strict alignment, be exploratory but be safe and do one pose or exercise with “mis-alignment”. See what the result is. What do you learn from it? And if you want, you can share your insights at the bottom of this page (scroll down to comments section) or on my facebook page with the hashtag #ImproveHowYouMove

 

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4 Responses to Podcast #08: Jules Mitchell on the Science of Stretching

  1. Joe Sparks September 6, 2014 at 3:46 PM #

    Hi Ariana, enjoyed the interview. I would love it if you would interview Michaelle Edwards. She is the author of YogAlign Method. She is a posture educator, yoga teacher, musician. She was recently featured in an article in the New York Times written by William Broad, author of Science of Yoga. Title of article ” Flexibility is a Liability with women in Yoga”. She is one of the pioneers who have questioned, what are we doing in Yoga? Her website is http://www.manayoga.com
    You might be interested in her perspective. Thanks for all your efforts. Joe Sparks

    • admin September 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM #

      Hi Joe, thanks for the feedback and for the suggestion! I will definitely reach out to Michaelle. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the interview!

  2. Elyse Shafarman December 13, 2014 at 10:09 PM #

    Thank you for the interesting interview. I just discovered your podcast in addition to Brooke Thomas’s “Liberated Body” and have been consuming them like I’m starving. I was struck by the end of the podcast where the question about what we are training when we hold Warrior 2 for a long time (answer holding warrior 2 for a long time). As Jules commented, yoga is much more than Asana. I would add that physical positions cannot be separated from emotional and psychological states – both what the pose evokes, and what the person practicing brings to the pose. Part of what makes yoga so amazing is that by fitting our bodies into these powerful shapes, we call up energies within ourselves that we may need to face our own lives (i.e. embodied psychology power pose research of Amy Cuddy), and the process of mind training required to hold long poses is a form of meditation (with all of those well documented benefits). So a long warrior 2 might not train anything particularly useful in our bodies, but the ability to hold a long pose may have mental health and behavioral benefits.

  3. Jules December 16, 2014 at 5:45 PM #

    Hi Elyse,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Absolutely, yoga is more than asana. As you know my research lies in the fields of biomechanics and exercise science, so when I am interviewed, I tend to stick to my area of expertise. I really an not familiar with any body of research that has investigated the effects of holding yoga poses on mental health and behavior. Yes, such research exist on yoga in general, but varying lengths of holds is not a tested variable, to my knowledge. I would love to read some of that work if it is out there. Maybe you can provide some links. Amy Cuddy’s work, while utterly fascinating and important, is, as I understand, more about posturing for expression, not on muscular endurance and physical effort which would be associated with Warrior 2, for example. Finally, all the meditation research I am familiar with (which is certainly limited in scope) looks at transendental methods rather than methods involving physical exertion, so I hesitate to compare benefits of meditation with benefits of holding Warrior 2. I do not disagree with you, but am simply limited in scope and refraining from making assumptions about data I have not studied! I appreciate the fresh perspective, thank you.

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