This week at CorePhysio, all three yoga classes will devote the first segment of the practice to Mukunda Stiles’ Joint-Freeing Series. Mukunda Stiles has practiced yoga since 1969; interestingly, he experienced a spiritual awakening while attending West Point Military Academy, which started his life-long journey as a yoga practitioner and teacher. He created Structural Yoga Therapy in 1976 and has trained teachers and therapists around the world.
I had the pleasure of taking Mukunda’s introductory course in 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia. I was struck by his humility and his vast knowledge of the human body with subtle application of alignment and physical adjustments. He gives all of his students permission to copy and teach his 21-point Joint-Freeing Series under the mandates that we all commit to practicing the series every day for at least 30 days prior to teaching others. I admit that it was challenging, at first, to start each session with the same sequence. However, in just a few days I began to feel a strengthening and relaxing of my joints and I found that the rest of my yoga practice (breath and physical movement) felt more enlivened and subtle. A few years later, I found the series invaluable in graduate school and in my first job as an occupational therapist where patients needed gentle movement that they could do in a wheelchair or even hospital bed. This series is fully adaptable to being practiced sitting on the floor, standing, sitting in a chair or even lying down.
The Joint Freeing Series starts with the feet and ankles, moves up to the knees, hips, torso, and spine, and finishes with the neck. The motions described in this series represents all the basic motions of the body. The pace is practiced slow and steady.
Mukunda states nine main benefits for the series. For the sake of this commentary, I have chosen my top two that seem relevant to Core Physio clients. He writes that the series is beneficial:
1) To observe and diagnose areas for comparative freedom. By maintaining mindfulness as you do the series you can discover, for instance, that when you flex your right wrist, the joint moves smoothly, while the left wrist creates a rotation with flexion.
2) To provide as series that is especially beneficial for those with limited mobility due to injuries or arthritis. ..While not necessary a cure for arthritis, it can be of major help when combined with Ayurvedic dietary counseling.
Curious? Come experience the Joint-Freeing Series this Monday evening at 5:15pm, Wednesday evening at 5:15pm and Friday at 12:15pm!!
Photo Credit: Leah Johnson