Your Springboard for Learning in Bodywork and Movement

Focussing on areas of common interest

Early in December Handspring Publishing hosted a focus group to identify publication needs in yoga therapy and related areas. We met in the Dorothy Stringer School Library, Brighton, the get-together being ably assisted by yoga therapist, Jo Avison, whose next book ‘Yoga: Fascia, Form and Functional Movement’, will be published by Handspring later in 2013.

We invited participants based on their individual professional interests and experience. They included osteopaths, yoga teachers, Pilates teachers and yoga therapists. All of them at some point in their careers had studied and practiced yoga and its therapeutic applications, although some of them were now practising as therapists in other fields.

One of the participants, Pete Blackaby, originally qualified as an osteopath but has recently published his own book for yoga therapists entitled ‘Intelligent Yoga’. Mary Law and Sarena Wolfaard from Handspring Publishing both attended and helped to facilitate the discussion.

Despite the varying backgrounds of those present common areas of interest soon emerged. There was a general consensus about areas where new publications were needed to provide up-to-date and accessible, research-based information for yoga therapists and Pilates trainers.

An understanding of normal human function emerged as a key requirement for all those who are attempting to help correct human dysfunction. Attendees felt that there is often too much focus on anatomy and that as a result the study of function can be overlooked. It is function that governs anatomy so that emphasis should be reversed.

Tracey Mellor (Pilates teacher and yoga therapist) commented that there are now so many possible therapy options available (many offering similar techniques but using different terminology) that ‘it feels like holding a string of balloons each pulling in its own direction.

What is needed is the knot which can bind all the therapeutic options together.’ The requirement for all therapists to maintain their continuing professional development was seen as an opportunity to step outside the individual’s professional ‘box’ and to gain a better understanding of the relevance and interrelationships of different areas of clinical practice. In order to achieve this a common language is needed.

At Handspring Publishing we are working to develop materials to meet these needs and to ensure that they are accessible and relevant to all therapists working in this growing field. The evidence for their efficacy exists. We need to ensure that it is brought to the attention of practitioners in other professions and that therapists are also made aware of what is safe practice.

In the coming months we plan to hold more focus groups of this sort in other specialty areas. If you would be interested in taking part in future focus groups please contact us and tell us your area of interest. We would also like to hear from you if you would like to contribute to this yoga discussion. Contact us at www.www.handspringpublishing.com/contact-us.Please do comment and share these thoughts.

Mary Law, Director, Handspring Publishingwww.facebook.com/handspringpublishing