Matthew Remski is a Writer, Therapist and Yoga Asana Teacher working on an inspired book project called WAWADIA: What Are We Actually Doing In Asana?. He and his wife, Alix Bemrose (also a yoga teacher), started contemplating this question recently and then decided to open it up to a broader discussion within the yoga community. The response has been unwavering. Matthew has compiled more than 100 interviews with yoga practitioners and teachers about their yoga-related injuries and stories of recovery. This is no small task! Especially when yoga is promoted and touted as a de facto therapeutic physical practice. As you can imagine, the topic can be sensitive for many, but it’s incredibly worthwhile at the same time. We stand to come out on the other side of this more informed and more equipped to teach MPY (Modern Postural Yoga) to the general population.
In Matthew’s words (paraphrased), the WAWADIA book project will “use the injury and recovery stories of over a hundred interview subjects, [to] paint a lesser-seen portrait of a culture struggling to both understand and fulfill its healing promise, and [provide] a map for how it can intelligently evolve.”
- Why Matthew decided to pursue the topic of pain and injury in yoga asana
- The immediate deluge of responses to the project
- He shares some examples of personal stories
- Unacceptable messages of blame on the practitioner- “if it hurts me then I’m not doing it right”
- Why the notion that yoga is therapeutic is something that has to be closely discerned
- Why we need better discourse between biomedicine and the yoga world with regard to what we are actually doing in asana
- Input/Expertise that he received from other medical professionals, osteopaths and sports medicine specialists
- How he is not bashing any one particular style of yoga
- How more “therapeutic” styles of yoga are not exempt from this inquiry
- The phenomenon of Yoga Practice Addiction
- Are most western yoga studios today offering an elite form of athleticism?
- He tackles the common criticism that MPY is too focused on asana – as if we don’t know about the other limbs of yoga
- The regulation issue – do asana teachers need more regulation?
- Should yoga teachers have the right to touch student’s bodies with the presumption that we have some therapeutic knowledge?
Matthew Remski Quote:
“the metaphysical presumption that not only is yoga good for your body, but it’s good for your soul – means that people can be less discerning about pursuing the technical knowledge that might keep them safe. There’s often a default to a non-scientific, non-evidentiary realm in which injuries and pain are explained in terms other than material terms.”
[The body teasers play off of the idea of brain teasers. The goal is to get us thinking about how we move and ultimately to improve how we move.] Whether you practice or teach yoga ask yourself what are we actually doing in asana? Think back on your relationship to pain during your yoga practice and if you have suffered injury and how you and your teachers responded to it. Please share your stories here or contact Matthew directly!