Seattle Yoga News – Unwinding into the Middle Way with Tias Little at 8 Limbs Yoga September 2010

This weekend I’ll be spending 3 days with Tias Little, a yoga teacher I met two years ago at this time of year. I had just started my 200-hour yoga teacher training then, and like the song goes, “oh how the years go by”. Though two years may seem like a really short time to you guys, I’ve come a very long way from where I’d been in my growth and understanding of this thing we call yoga.

What impressed me about Tias was his vast knowledge of the Chinese meridian and Indian nadi system. I also appreciated his sound teaching of the human anatomy. Beyond listening to his lectures on muscles and bones and alignment during the workshop, I listened to Tias’ dharma talk In the Flow of Presence every day for a couple months in my car, and, as I was going through a particularly rough time at work, the CD and Tias’ voice was good to have around.

Here are the details of the workshop, copied and pasted here from the 8 Limbs Yoga website for my record, since they do not archive their workshops, and there’s no direct permanent link. See you there if you’re going as well.


Freeing the Foundation: Feet, Ankles and Knees
Friday, 2: 00 – 5:00pm
A yoga practice begins with the feet, for the feet are the foundation to the temple of the body. This class guides students to activate their feet, initially by lying on the back and then in standing poses. We explore the architecture of the foot and review common strain patterns that reside in the feet and ankles. An invaluable class for yoga teachers to learn to help students activate their arches and stabilize their knees.

The Middle Way
Friday, 6:00 – 8:00pm
The Middle Way is a place free from extremes, extremes that polarize and isolate and cause imbalance. The Middle Way path is accessible mystically and physiologically as our central axis through the body. One of the names for the mid line is the Madhya Nadi or middle channel. This class works deep with the spine—the vertebrae, the discs and surrounding musculature– to harmonize and illuminate the central channel.

The Sacred Sacrum
Saturday, 9:00am – 12:00pm
The sacral bone is the key bone of the pelvis and it is the key bone of the spine. Postural balance and centering occurs at the sacral level (svadhisthana, the second chakra) and the sacrum initiates the strong centering movement of the tailbone (mulabandha). This class looks at the powerful ligaments and muscles that hold the sacrum in place and we practice postures that balance the sacrum.

Unwinding the Low Back
Saturday, 1:30 – 4:30pm
Lower back compression is so common in our culture– 85% of our society suffers from low back pain at some point in their lives. Typically this pain is due to asymmetrical strain patterns, i.e excess tightness one side of the body. The class aims to release constriction in the lumbar and sacral area through gliding and rocking and stretching movements. In particular, our aim is to unglue the tightness in the muscles, tendons and ligaments by irrigating blood into the lower spine and sacrum.

Unwinding the Spine
Sunday, 9:00am – 12:00pm
The ideal of a yoga practice is to align the spine so that there is a free flow of nerve impulse through the spinal cord. All too often, however, the vertebrae are twisted, rotated, stuck forward or stuck backward due to compression and tightness. This class will focus on releasing the musculature around the spine and unwinding compression in the small ligaments and tendons that hold the vertebrae together. Our practice will aim to bring fluidity and greater buoyancy and support to the inter-vertebral discs. It is very common for yoga students to force their spine into poses without addressing the underlying holding patterns in the soft tissues. This can create further hardness and strain. In this intensive, we will use gliding and rocking and stretching movements in order to gently re-align the spine.

Unwinding the Neck
Sunday, 1:30 – 4:30pm
I always joke with my students that chiropractors make their living adjusting imbalances in the neck given that neck pain is so common! This class is aimed to release foreshortening in the neck muscles and compression around the nerves and discs of the neck region. Neck pain frequently results in headaches, insomnia, jaw strain and fatigue. Given that the neck is so tied into the shoulders, this class will address the ways that neck tension is coupled with shoulder restriction. We will use non-force techniques to unwind tension in the neck, particularly with spiral movements for the neck and shoulders.

Tias Little’s teaching is steeped in the classical yoga tradition, while his clear and insightful approach offer a contemporary perspective. He combines the precision of Iyengar Yoga with the grace of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Tias’ teaching is a rich weave of poetry, anatomical detail, precision in the asana forms and wisdom that stems from the Dzogchen, Vipassana and Zen traditions. Tias has a Masters degree in Eastern Philosophy from St. John’s College. Since 2006 Tias has been studying trauma and recovery through Somatic Experiencing. Find out more at