Redefining Stretching with Jules Mitchell
Jules Mitchell is “a student for life”. She is a massage therapist, yoga teacher and educator.
She holds a Master of Science in Exercise Science and Biomechanics from CSU Long Beach and teaches numerous workshops that combine the tradition of yoga (asana and pranayama) with her knowledge of biomechanics to educate teachers in a fun digestible way.
Jules practiced yoga for many years and at a certain point in her life felt the need to teach. The teacher training brought up so many questions for Jules that she says weren’t satisfactorily answered and realized she would have to turn to academics to answer them.
Jules came to realize and accept that there will always be a lot of questions that are unknown and one will always be learning. She tells her students at the beginning of her workshops that if they don’t leave there with more questions then she hasn’t done her job. Jules wants to impress upon yoga teachers the need to question more, the importance of scientific literacy, critical thinking and curiosity.
Shannon and Jules talk about how there are no bad poses, the importance of cueing (talking less and listening more), and questioning how poses are taught. Jules gives us an excellent example by discussing whether you keep your legs straight or bend them when performing a forward fold. Her explanation using scientific research illustrates the importance of science-informed teaching and the benefit of reading studies in a field that is ever-evolving.
Jules wants to help inform you to make your own choices as a yoga teacher, not to overwhelm you. She is working on an upcoming book tentatively titled Yoga Biomechanics: Redefining Stretching which moves far beyond what is generally understood about stretching. She explains the mechanical properties of connective tissue, the material science, the composition and architecture of tissue and emerging ideas and research along with yoga sequences. She hoping to release this information-packed book in 2018.
8:05 Jules' yoga teacher journey
10:15 An example of a question that Jules had that wasn’t answered satisfactorily in yoga teacher training
13:25 How Jules went outside the yoga teacher training for answers, but then brought information back to the yoga world
14:55 Jules' thoughts on stretching, range of motion and flexibility
17:15 Passive stretching, load and strengthening “strengthen to lengthen”
19:05 What does this look like for Jules as a yoga teacher?
“co-contraction” not so much focus on contracting some and relaxing others, how the muscles work together and how we don't need to work so hard to isolate them hopefully introducing adaptation
20:15 Restorative yoga and how it affects the tissues at a cellular level
22:25 How Jules uses research and at the same time works hard to avoid making huge assumptions
27:55 Language and cues that Jules uses now with more information- ask open-ended questions like ”How does it feel when your hand goes there?” How can we help people explore movement instead of making them afraid of it- say less, observe and let your students teach you.
30:20 Forward folds and hamstrings
33:05 Poses cannot be categorized as safe and not safe
36:40 How can we cue to enable students to pose the body as robust
39:10 What Jules feels is missing from yoga teacher training and importance of reading research studies using critical thinking
41:15 Social media and the pull Jules feels to answer questions there
42:50 Jules’ upcoming book: Yoga Biomechanics: Redefining Stretching
47:25 How to contact Jules
49:15 Shannon’s closing thoughts
Book: Yoga Biomechanics: Redefining Stretching by Jules Mitchell in 2018
Article: To Bend or Not to Bend (the Knees in a Forward Fold) by Jules Mitchell
Article: Question Everything by Jules Mitchell
Free Youtube Videos with Jules Mitchell
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