One of the joys of running a yoga studio, is that I get to decide the classes & workshops on offer, and very often I am delighted to choose things I would like to try myself!
When Rachael first approached me, I knew nothing about the Franklin Method and so she introduced it and we talked about her offering some workshops. I think we were both excited in equal measure – that was almost 6 months ago, and having just attended one of the workshops, I am delighted to have found an embodied anatomy approach that compliments and supports my yoga practice perfectly.
Rachael has a beautifully light and playful approach to teaching her subject – her enthusiasm shines in her smile and her knowledge flows easily as she presents potentially tricky anatomy & physiology in ways that quickly allow you to really see, know and feel where and how your body moves.
As a yoga teacher, I have often found reading books dry and difficult to translate to the flesh and bones of my practice, but after just one session with Rachael I feel a more connected, integrated foundation of anatomy in my practice and in my understanding.
Using simple visualisations and movements, Rachael first enabled us to experience everyday movements in new ways – helium balloon shoulders and lead weighted hands had us shrugging our shoulders into freedom! Being able to visualise the movement of muscle fibres led us into movements that felt smoother, lighter and altogether more natural and complete.
I have long been fascinated by the psoas and its relationship to freedom of movement in the lower back & the hips, I’ve read about its interaction with the diaphragm and the breath, how it impacts on kidney & adrenal function, but I have never felt that knowledge…until now.
Coming from a yoga background, I confess to feelings of resistance when it comes to Pilates and have always felt that it places too much emphasis on a strong abdominal-focussed core at the expense of the breath and freedom of movement in other areas…Not so with Rachael’s integrative and sensitive approach…Through the Franklin Method of activating the ilio-psoas as a deep core muscle, I experience toe taps, the bicycle and leg lifts that felt strengthening and freeing. Modified warrior poses had the psoas firing in ways that I have not before experienced in that pose, and have provided me with another way to deepen my own experience of the pose, as well as to offer the possibility of new insight to my own students.
Working with the Franklin Method balls to massage and connect with the psoas and other deep muscles was a popular activity with all the students in the studio…The audible sighs of released tension and complete relaxation rippled around the room! A little self massage went a long way, and led us into supine practices that seamlessly let us find, work and then relax the psoas.
Rachael gently guided us through a mindful moment at the outset of the class, and again at the end of the workshop to ensure feelings of presence and connection to the body set the tone for the day and sealed in all that we had learned. I was surprised by how joyful the session had been, how freeing it had been and how it improved my mental clarity as well as easing some habitual tensions out of my body.
I feel quite evangelical about the Franklin Method and I cannot wait to attend more workshops with Rachael and to work alongside her to bring her fresh and insightful approach to more students and teachers of yoga.
Now, you’ll have to excuse me as (like all good teachers) Rachael left me with some homework…