The combined set of both volumes 1 and 2 of 'Yoga As Therapy' provides an integrated approach to therapeutic applications of yoga that covers anatomical and Ayurvedic understanding of therapeutic problems and how they arise, as well as practical approaches through contemporary alignment-based hatha yoga postural practice to overcoming them. The set is a resource that is useful and accessible to yoga teachers as well as practitioners. Both books are heavily illustrated with anatomical details as well illustrations of applications of these insights in the poses.
Volume 1 provides the 'Foundations' or 'Big Picture' for our therapeutic approach, in terms of both an anatomical overview utilizing Tom Myer's myofascial meridians from his book 'Anatomy Trains' while relating these insights to the Ayurvedic system of Marma Therapy. The section on the shoulders is especially detailed, to provide an in-depth understanding of rotator cuff problems.
Volume 2 'zooms in' on specific problem areas of the body, and the therapeutic problems that commonly arise in these areas — such as feet, knees, hip pain, sacral issues, rotator cuff injury, and so on. Remedial exercises as well as applications in and through hatha yoga poses are covered, and there is an extensive section on scoliosis at the end of the book.
Volume 1 provides the 'Foundations' or 'Big Picture' for our therapeutic approach, in terms of both an anatomical overview utilizing Tom Myer's myofascial meridians from his book 'Anatomy Trains' while relating these insights to the Ayurvedic system of Marma Therapy.
My approach to establishing 'foundations' begins with the roots of yoga therapy in the Vedas and Ayurveda, and expands to embrace contemporary insights. Much of the therapeutic application of postural or asana-based yoga practice owes its heritage to the Iyengar system of alignment-based yoga. Many therapeutic benefits are ascribed to the practice of asanas with specific attention to alignment and action in the Iyengar system; other systems also describe the benefits of poses, often in Ayurvedic terms, with reference to their effects upon the doshas.
The 'how' and 'why' of these benefits is not always explained with clarity, and tools of assessment are also needed for reading the 'story' — postural and otherwise — behind the therapeutic problems. Volume 1 of 'Yoga As Therapy' focuses especially upon exploring these questions.
The context or 'big picture' I set forth for understanding both the causes of therapeutic problems as well as the details for effectively addressing these problems through yoga is drawn from contemporary work myofascial work. This is meant to help us understand the claims about the therapeutic benefits of alignment and action in asana practice more clearly, and to apply recommended alignments and actions more effectively.
I refer directly to Tom Myer's myofascial meridians from his book 'Anatomy Trains,' and draw heavily upon assessment techniques from the works of Leon Chaitow, Dr. Ben Benjamin and Pete Egoscue as well as others. I relate this very concrete and physical myofascial 'weave' of the body described by Mr. Myers to the Ayurvedic System of Marma Therapy (drawing principally on the work of Dr. Vasant Lad in this area) in order to expand our understanding of the effects of postural work to the subtler 'flows' or 'srotas' of energy which affect organ function and the various systems of the body which can often be understood more intuitively in Ayurvedic terms of the doshas. This also includes influence upon the emotional and mental body.
For this reason, while the anatomical descriptions in 'Yoga As Therapy' are based firmly upon Mr. Myer's myofascial lines or 'meridians,' I describe these 'lines' in terms of 'sutras' in order to include elements from Ayurveda that are not part of Mr. Myer's own seminal work. I distinguish the terminology principally to avoid confusion about whether concepts of 'marma' are included in Mr. Myer's foundational definition of the 'Anatomy Trains' detailed in his own work, and to help yoga practitioners more easily relate the work upon these lines or sutras to postural practice (for instance, the 'Paschima Sutra' involves precisely the muscles stretched in the pose 'Paschimottanasana.')
The book also explores actions which can be practiced at the 'core' in order to provide stability and integrity that are essential to health, and which are really the essence of the actions of the 'bandhas' practiced in yoga. This aspect is actually prior to and in addition to our understanding of the 'sutras,' and I relate it in particular to the health of the sacrum and low back, as well as to providing the stability necessary for the health of the shoulders. The section on the anatomy and function of the shoulders is also quite extensive in this volume, with additional practical exercises for the shoulders provided in volume 2.
Volume 2 'zooms in' for description of specific problems with the feet, knees, hips, low back, neck and shoulders and so on through the 'lense' of the sutras, and provides specific and practical guidance in sequencing a manageable program of yoga stretches and exercises for healing.
The book does assume some familiarity with basic yoga postures and how to do them: and it provides insightful guidance meant to help you realize their full benefit.
The last chapter provides guidance specific to working with scoliosis.
Yogic breathing is an essential practice of hatha yoga that not only brings relaxation, clarity, focus and renewed energy; it is the doorway from asana (the practice of yoga postures) into meditation.
'Refining the Breath' takes you step-by-step into the yoga of the breath. It is ideal for both beginning and intermediate yoga students, it delves into principles of posture and the many forms of pranayama. It covers the practical details, benefits and purpose for doing pranayama, as well as the subtler energetics of the prana and its relationship to spiritual progress. The practices themselves are presented in simple, straightforward and clear detail, to be used as a guide for practice.
'Refining the Breath' is an in-depth but accessible treatment of the practice which sets pranayama in the context of the spiritual philosophy of yoga.
Yoga philosophy is richer and more varied than it is given credit for being. Its terms and concepts are the product of a rich evolution of meaning, from the very meaning of 'yoga' as 'union' onward. The philosophy of yoga is inseparable from its practice, but what exactly does the philosophy of yoga 'teach?' The richness of what yoga philosophy has to offer lies in exploring this very question.
This book follows the development of thought in yogic philosophy from its beginnings in the Vedas to the relatively recent forms of tantra. Its aim is to bring a greater and more balanced understanding of the philosophical landscape of yoga and spiritual purpose of yogic practice. The book has a special interest in introducing the reader to the Tantric philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism, which might be regarded as a culmination of the best of the philosophical insights that came before it.
The contributions of each school to the organic growth and development of spiritual understanding through the ages are highlighted, with examples and explanations that make these ideas relevant to your own interest in spirituality and yogic practice. The latter part of the book includes essays based on my own experiences as a teacher and practitioner.
This double audio CD provides you with tools for meditation practice: how to begin with a traditional invocation, and how to use Vedic and tantric meditation mantras - the Gayatri, Hamsa and Panchakshari Mantras.
The greater part of the CD is a series of guided meditations drawn from the Vijnanabhairava, with insights into the spiritual purpose of yoga practice.
This audio CD begins with the simple practices of the full yogic breath and Ujjayi breath, and then guides the listener through variations on Viloma pranayama. Viloma is practiced while reclining: it expands your capacity for the breath, and is an effective technique for relaxation.
Guided meditation is also included, using the simple 'Hamsa' mantra of the breath.
A recent talk on the relationship between the ideas of dharma and yoga; their meaning as these ideas developed from the earliest times, and the conflict that can arise between them as a conflict between 'duty' (one's responsibilities in society — dharma) and conscience (discovered through personal exploration through the practices of yoga). The dialogue of the Bhagavad-Gita presents this conflict in stark terms as the conflict of conscience faced by the warrior Arjuna. The question of conscience and the purpose of practice in a difficult and uncertain world remains just as relevant today.
The meditation mantra 'Om Namah Shivaya' is known as the 'Panchakshari' or 'Five Syllabled' mantra, which resonates with each of the five elements of the body as it is chanted, bringing mind and body into a state of balance and peace. It is also an invocation and honoring ('namah') of the purity of our own spiritual nature.
This musical rendition by Doug Keller is an aid to meditation. The melody and rhythm is steady, sweet and unvarying — and thus supports rather than distracts from your meditation. In keeping with the benevolent nature of the mantra, all proceeds from the sale of this CD are donated to Oxfam.
Duration: 67 minutes
The history of yogic philosophy, from the Vedas through Classical and Tantric thought, is explored in this talk with special emphasis on each era's understanding of the soul, God and the nature and purpose of spirituality.
The talk, given in the summer of 08 in Michigan, is accessible and to the point, helping the listener come to his or her own understanding of the relevance of yoga philosophy to one's own spiritual life.
The third CD gives a guided 30 minute Savasana relaxation and meditation.
This talk speaks directly to anyone who has ever wondered about the compatibility of yoga with Christian spirituality. In this talk, Doug delves into the basic assumptions behind classical yoga and christianity, both of which have shaped thought for centuries.
Tantra as well as the Christian mysticism of the middle ages — with Meister Eckhart as its greatest spokesman — were rebellions against these classical assumptions. They issued a call to let go of deeply engrained ideas of the fall of the soul, and embrace the presence of the Divine within.
In June of 2006 Doug Keller gave a workshop on the power of the Kundalini as it is experienced in the forms of yogic practice.
The Kundalini is the force of awakening at the heart of hatha yoga practice as it was originally conceived. The Kundalini is often mentioned in contemporary yoga, but rarely explained with any depth. Although many have had an experience of this, rarely is a context given for understanding the experience, even in yoga.
Through lecture and guided practices of pranayama and meditation, he draws upon his own personal experience of this awakening, as well as from a number of tantric texts and respected works, including Sir John Woodroffe's 'The Serpent Power,' Harish Johari's 'Chakras,' and the classic work, 'Devatma Shakti.'
What is emotion, and how does it enter into our perception of the world? How do we make a shift from less desirable to more desirable and fulfilling emotional experience?
The talk explores the relationship of emotion or the 'Rasas' to our individual constitution or 'Prakrti' as it is understood by Ayurveda. Our very experience of emotion is shaped by our own unique constitution, giving each of us our own emotional 'palate' for experiencing and expressing the richness of life.
Practical techniques of pranayama are explored as the means to making shifts in our emotional experience, giving a new and enlightening perspective on our relationship to the power of emotion in our lives.