Experts estimate that up to 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives.1
It doesn’t need to be this way. Your Spine, Your Yoga: The Course with Bernie Clark and Dr. Stuart McGill reveals how yoga and other movement practices can be applied in a way that respects our anatomical differences and optimizes back health.
This eight-hour course will guide you in developing a practice unique to your life and your body. It’s for those who experience back pain, yoga teachers and therapists, and movement enthusiasts from all walks of life who want to learn more about the function and mechanics of their spine.
The spine is a multi-faceted, multi-functional construct uniquely designed to provide both stability and mobility through our torso to our limbs. While physical yoga practices have been used for decades to increase the range of motion of the spine, the spine’s primary function is, first and foremost, to provide stability through the core of our body. Building this stability is protective for the lower back and prepares the body to endure (and adapt to) multiple forms and levels of stress.
Equally important in developing and maintaining spinal health is understanding how your own uniqueness dictates the nature of your practice. No one has your biology or biography, thus a standardized practice offered to every body is rarely the most effective way to work with your spine.
The code—the science of the spine
Professor McGill and Bernie discuss back-related themes through the lenses of biology, biomechanics, and pain mechanisms, including:
The art—making it real
Theory becomes practice! Professor McGill and Bernie demonstrate how to apply the knowledge of the spine to yoga, daily life, work, sports, and exercise. They explore:
Practices—taking it to the mat
Bernie Clark will apply the principles discussed in the code and the art in three guided yoga classes:
At the end of the practice segment are bonus tutorials with Professor McGill where he helps several students uniquely adapt their yoga practice for their bodies.
“I’m often asked about my opinion on yoga and the answer is always ‘It depends.’ It depends on the individual, how old they are, their injury history, and their personal anatomy. That’s what really motivated me to join with Bernie and put this project together to really help guide people toward making yoga their own.” —Dr. Stuart McGill
This course is not intended to be medical advice. If you have back pain or spinal conditions, please check with your healthcare provider before trying any suggestions offered.
1 Rubin Dl. Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Spine Pain. Neurol Clin. 2007; May;25(2):353-71.
Bernie has been traveling the yogic path for over 35 years, starting with a daily meditation practice that he established in his mid-twenties in order to deal with stress in his business career. In his early forties, he was introduced to the physical practices of yoga through hatha yoga, which assisted him greatly in his meditation practice.
He has a degree in science and spent 30 years as a senior executive in the high tech space industry, but he also continued to feed his intense curiosity about psychology, mythology, anatomy, and philosophy, which culminated in his writing several books about yoga, mythology, and anatomy.
Today, Bernie is a yoga teacher and educator offering classes, teacher trainings, and workshops in Vancouver, Canada.
Dr. McGill is a professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo, where he was a professor for 30 years. His laboratory and experimental research clinic investigated issues related to the causal mechanisms of back pain, how to rehabilitate back-pained people and enhance both injury resilience and performance. His advice is often sought by governments, corporations, legal experts, medical groups, and elite athletes and teams from around the world.
His work produced over 240 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers, several textbooks, and many international awards. He mentored over 37 graduate students during this scientific journey.
During this time he also taught thousands of clinicians and practitioners in professional development and continuing education courses around the world.
“I had the most exhilarating experience while practicing, listening, and asking questions during this course. Sharing the space with other students provided a deeper sense of understanding in terms of how to meet each person from where they currently are in their practice. The information that Bernie and Stu provided not only helped me as a student of yin yoga but also as a teacher of a variety of styles. They offered an approach that gave me insight into how to cater a practice specifically to a student based on what they understand, what their anatomy is, and the most accessible way to get them deeper into their practice to foster greater self-awareness and health.”
Premadasa G., Registered Yoga Teacher
“To have two leading experts in their fields, Bernie Clark and Dr. Stuart McGill, discussing spinal health as it pertains to movement and yoga was invaluable. Highlighting the importance of first establishing spinal stability before working with mobility in yoga and other types of movement is essential for the health and longevity of our practice. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from these two highly respected teachers.”
Cathy K., Registered Acupuncture Practitioner and Yoga Instructor
Yoga Alliance requires all yoga teachers to accumulate at least 30 hours of continuing education every three years. 20 online hours are allowed to count toward this requirement.
Fulfilling 8 of these study hours is as easy as logging into the Yoga Alliance website and entering your hours after you’ve completed Your Spine, Your Yoga: The Course. Continue your yoga education with this course and more from the Yoga International library!