Letha Yoga Workshop & The Bodyworks Program


Meets:  
Tues. 6 - 7:15 PM, Sat. 2:30 - 4 PM

Group Leaders: Anthony Sell, Kari Post, Adam Nowakowski, Regi Bron

Overview

Our Bodyworks Program is led by Anthony Sell, who has been given permission to teach the Bando Monk Healing Systems by Dr. Maung Gyi (LL.B., M.S., Ph.D. and Chief Instructor of the American Bando Association). In our weekly classes, Anthony, Kari, Adam and Regi demonstrate a wide range of skills that can help to improve performance and maintain the proper functionality and range of motion of the body.

Borrowing from Shiatsu, Tui Na, Thai Massage and Applied Kinesiology, this class also covers different Eastern traditions of solo and partner-based stretching, various forms of massage, pain release, and identification of possible causes of injury and referred pain, as well as exercises for improving overall health and well-being. Students are also given a rudimentary understanding of anatomy and physiology, postural indicators, strength & conditioning methods, highlighting the relationships between breathing, posture, psychology, muscular balance and structural alignment.

Because of the focus of this method of Yoga, the exercises, stretches and routines practiced are ideally suited for Martial Artists and those interested in other forms of Healing or bodywork. Continued practice can extend the life of heavily used (and sometimes abused) joints and limbs, allowing us to continue practicing well into old age. Letha Yoga is also excellent for reducing stress levels and muscular tension (such as developed during a prize fight or competition).

In addition to the Letha Yoga, we practice several other related forms of Yoga, all of which are part of the Bando Monk Healing Systems. This includes Dhanda Yoga (practiced with a 3'-6' staff), Dhota Stick Massage (practiced with thin bamboo rods), Longi Yoga (practiced with a 9' long cord), Healing Stone Massage (practiced with a natural Brook Stone), and Min Zin (which is a very specific form of Pranayama). Each of these practices compliment the other, and offer different challenges, both physically and mentally.

The following description of Letha Yoga is excerpted from the upcoming text written by Dr. Maung Gyi and James Muntean (B.S., D.O. Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine at the Athens Medical Center), Letha Yoga, An Ancient Burmese System of Body Manipulation, Adjustment and Alignment, 1st Edition, 2001. [Plans are presently being made to release this text to the public along with illustrative photographs describing the practice of Letha Yoga.]

According to His Holiness Halin Sayadaw, for many centuries, the Hpyu people [ancient inhabitants of northern Burma] were repeatedly conquered and subjugated by invaders moving down from northwestern China, northeastern India and southern Tibet. Thousands of Hpyu people were forced to work as laborers and servants. They were socially considered as underclass, lower cast and often treated as outcasts and slaves.

They lived a life of hard labor serving the conquers. Many of them worked as menial and manual laborers such as farmers, lumbermen, carpenters, stone and brick layers, weavers, boatmen, herdsmen, etc. Thier work consisted of cutting, digging, lifting, pushing, pulling and carrying heavy loads.

Any injury to their bodies and joints could seriously affect their daily routine and jeaopardize thier subsistence living from the land. Maintaining the health of their joints was one of their major concerns.

Hpyu monks and elders taught different systems of yoga to maintain the health of their people. One of the systems practiced was Letha Yoga.

According to His Holiness, Letha Yoga means, "partner-assisted yoga," or "yoga assisted by the limbs of a concerned partner." It was a lowly system known also as "slave yoga,""servant yoga," "yoga for laborers," etc.

Letha Yoga is different from many other yoga systems. It focusses on major human joints:

  1. Head and Jaw
  2. Neck
  3. Spine
  4. Shoulders
  5. Elbows
  6. Wrists and Fingers
  7. Hips
  8. Knees
  9. Ankles and Toes

Letha Yoga did not have the prestige and wide acceptance of the yoga systems taught and practiced by members of the upper Brahmin caste. Indian yoga systems widely practiced in the United States include Hata Yoga, Astanga Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, and many others. On the other hand, from ancient times to the present day, Letha Yoga has been practiced by many menial and manual laborers in villages, towns, and monasteries in the border region between northwestern Burma and India.

Regardless of its humble and lowly origin, Letha Yoga can provide a small piece of the puzzle in our constant search for a healthier and happier life.


Youth Martial Arts Classes

Phase One Classes

Phase Two: Kali

Phase Two: Jun Fan Martial Arts

Phase Two: Panantukan/Knife

Kickboxing/Bagwork Classes

Grappling Classes

Capoeira Regional

Letha Yoga/Bodyworks Classes

Private Training Sessions

 

A Short Animated Clip Demonstrating a series of stretches from the Art of Thai Massage:



Our current practice includes the following Modalities:

  • Letha Yoga
  • Dhanda Yoga
  • Dhota Stick Massage
  • Longi Yoga
  • Healing Stone Massage Technique
  • Shiatsu/Tui-Na & Related Massage Therapy
  • Applied Kinesiology Muscle Testing & Clinical Diagnostics
  • Min Zin Breathing & Mudra Practices, Pranayama
  • Amaka-Ho, Ampuku, Gyoki & Various Chi Gung Methods
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