For the last couple of years, I have been "going" to England on a monthly basis
by participating in Yoga teacher Joanne Avison's Fascia Talkshow webinar series
offered by Bodywork Professional Development CPD in the UK. Of course I continue
my usual studies with Qi Gong and Tai Chi teachers, but for keeping track of the
leading edge in the science of human movement, the BPD Fascia Talkshow webinars
have become one of the pillars of my continuing education.|
Traditional reductionist theories of biomechanics which model our bodies as
machinery are being challenged by a new wave of theorists who are looking at
research which reveals a structural continuum of the fascia as part of a
hierarchy of tensegrity architecture (biotensegrity) in the body. Medical
understanding of the role of the fascia (gossamer thread-like collagenous ground
structure) has been burgeoning over the last decade. The first International
Fascia Research Congress (IFRC) was not even held until 2007, when 650
scientists, physicians and sport, health and wellness professionals from 28
countries gathered at Harvard Medical School to share and expand their
understanding of the fascia. The fourth IFRC will be held in the Washington DC
area next year.
Although Bodywork Professional Development CPD gears its offerings primarily to
the massage and manual therapy community, the body wisdom the Fasica Talkshow
webinars impart go far beyond such bounds. As teachers
the American Tai Chi and Qi Gong Association,
we have the latitude to include unconventional adjunct continuing education work
as part of our training hours for certification and recertification.
For me, this has meant following
Avison's tours of the latest perspectives on human structure and movement,
including Tom Myers' "Anatomy Trains" (myofascial meridians),
Stephen Levin's theory of biotensegrity, and Robert Schleip's Fascial Fitness
Avison herself is no slouch: she is co-founder and director of the Art of
Contemporary Yoga Teacher Training School, a Structural Integration
practitioner, a Fascial Fitness teacher and a Cranio-sacral therapist. Her book,
"Yoga: Fascia, Anatomy and Movement," (coming out soon from Handspring
publishing) integrates the fresh perspectives of her webinar series with her
work as a yoga teacher.(interview here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQTJV82Wv98)
As a Tai Chi teacher, I'm left to imagine how I might integrate the new with the
old: recent scientific research with these ancient arts of Tai Chi and Qi gong.
But then again, balancing Yin and Yang is at the heart of what we do! And,
learning about the fascial web which constitutes the continuum of our bodies
(and which is load bearing, communicative, force distributing and highly energy
efficient) recalls the wisdom of the Tai Chi classics: "the body as one unit..
with all parts of the body linked as if threaded together."
What can a Tai Chi teacher learn from a yoga teacher? Plenty! I'd be very
interested in learning about how other ATCQA members improve their understanding
of movement and the body. What unusual territories do you explore in order to
hone your skills as a tai chi teacher?
Related links & resources: