Kristin Leal is the creator of the Kaya Yoga and MetaAnatomy™ 100-, 200- and 300-hour teacher training. She is the author of “The Yoga Fan” (2003) and “MetaAnatomy, Anatomy of a Yogi” (2014), which was called “smart and sassy” by Elena Brower and “a luscious resource” by Rod Stryker. Kristin will lead her MetaAnatomy 5 CORE training at ISHTA Yoga October 9th – 13th.
What interests you about anatomy?
I think there is something so awe-inspiring and insanely beautiful about studying the human body. There is stunning dance of both vulnerability and strength that I am endlessly fascinated by.
Why is it important for yoga teachers to have a solid understanding of anatomy?
Well, I think it’s important for every human to have a solid understanding of anatomy! This is the study of you! The study of the vehicle that you live inside. This crazy vehicle that runs, jumps, shimmies, sings, loves and learns. On a very practical level it’s super important as yoga teachers to have a solid understanding of how we are put together so we can safely and elegantly help others to reconnect to themselves. When we come to learn how the body moves and how different we all are even on the level of the architecture of the bones we stop demanding everyone look the same in these asanas. Then the real work begins to meet each student where they are and help them to find the practices they most need to find balance.
How has your teaching evolved as you learned more about anatomy?
I think studying anatomy has helped me understand how gosh darn different we all are! Our bones are shaped and put together differently. Our muscles and tendons carry different amounts of flexibility and tension. We have different habits and patterns that are encased in our minds and bodies. But I think by celebrating these differences it helps us to honor our connectedness. To understand that underneath it all we all belong to the same matrix of light and dark strands that make up the tapestry of all matter. My teaching and my life really evolved after being able to see and understand this.
How does physical alignment affect the energetic body?
While it easier to study things by breaking them down into smaller pieces and categories it really belies our true form. We are both energy and matter, physical and energetic in nature. Releasing tension in the physical body helps free energy in our forms and vise versa. In this training it’s important to me that we learn to address the body in many different ways and to work in a more rich and holistic way.
What’s your favorite organ or system of the body?
Oh don’t make me choose!! It’s like asking a parent to choose their favorite child! I think what I find most fascinating is that even though we are made up of these seemingly separate body systems no system acts alone. We are an interconnected, interdependent miraculous human system! The only division is the decision made by the observer. Deep, right?!
What can students expect to get out of this training?
They can expect to learn a ton of information about how they are put together and very practical skills to help their students. They can expect to learn great self care techniques to prevent and heal from injuries. They can expect a fulfilling practice each day that helps them to embody all of the information that we learn. I think they can expect to be in a safe and supportive group of individuals with a sincere desire to learn and explore. Finally and maybe most importantly I think they can expect to have fun! The study of anatomy can be a blast!