59. Critical thinking to dispel Avidya with Matt Huy, author of Physiology of Yoga

The yoga world is rampant with teachers saying things because their teacher's teacher said them. Some of these things are true, and some of them are purely based on speculation or personal experience (which, ultimately, can be marred with avidya!). Many yoga teachers have low scientific literacy because it feels daunting, confusing, or unhelpful. This epsiode, and Matt's book (and upcoming live course!) is here to help with that! Matt's mission is to empower yoga teachers to feel more confident in their teaching!

So what is Avidya? Matt teaches us how typically, the higher quality of evidence, the lower the biases of that evidence. Lower quality evidence is loaded with personal biases--or avidya! So how do you dispel that avidya? Learn to understand research!

Avidya can loosely be translated to ignorance--where you don't even know what you don't know  (see also Dunning Krueger effect) -- notice how people that know a lot, like Matt, are really careful about the claims they make. Be wary of people who don't do that.

Learn more about the Kleshas on this Episode 21 of The Science of Light: Perception is Reality: Intro to the Kleshas

Does reading research feel daunting, confusing, or full of jargon? Do you want to make sure your cueing (or what your yoga teacher says) in a yoga class is really TRUE? How can we learn to move our bodies in safe ways (or teach our students not to fear moving their bodies in new ways) WITHOUT using fear based language?

This episode is for you if you want to learn the thought process (critical thinking) behind understanding research by way of several (relevant to yoga practice) examples. 

About Matt:

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Matt was studying biology at university when he enrolled in a dance class upon the whimsical suggestion of a friend. Something changed in him during that first dance course; he discovered an absolute love of movement. He next enrolled in a yoga class and decided he wanted to study movement instead of biology.

Several years later, he completed a BA in Dance from California State University Long Beach, a yoga teacher training at a Sivananda ashram in India, an several other movement and body-oriented certifications (like pilates and massage).

In 2022, he completed a Master's degree in Sport, Health, and Exercise Science at Brunel University London, where he focused on exercise physiology and pain science. His master’s research focused on the impact of yoga teachers’ language on their clients--examples of which we cover in today's episode.

 Along with his colleague Dr Andrew McGonigle, Matt co-authored The Physiology of Yoga, which is an evidence-based exploration of how yoga affects the physiology of the various systems of the body.

  • Matt's yoga story 
  • Pain science: chronic pain as a field of research
  • Biomedical model vs biopsychosocial model
  • An example: cueing chaturanga
  • Addressing preventing overuse injuries without fear based language using the science of training adaptations
  • Myth or fact: bending the spine forward and back too much will cause it to "snap like a credit card" or bending the spine creates bulging discs (learn the answer supported by research)
  •  An example of how research conclusions get distorted via blogs, articles, etc (and how to decipher of if what you're saying is evidence-based or not)
  • Myth or fact: "yin yoga targets the fascia" -- (or "regular yoga" does not target the fascia in the same way yin does). Does holding a stretch for longer give better results in targeting the fascia? Tune in to find out!
  • Should yin be practiced on cold or warm muscles?
  • An example of the thought process of research and how to determine if things are "true" or evidence based or not
  • Critical thinking, scientific literacy in yoga, and the dangers of parroting things your teacher's teacher said that are ultimately based purely on speculation or personal experience (do twists really detoxify the liver??)

 To work more with Matt:

8 week book club starting in January: https://www.matthewhuy.com/service-page/live-online-8-week-book-club-1 

www.matthewhuy.com www.thephysiologyofyoga.com/ Instagram: @yogawithmatt FB: @matthewhuyyoga

To work more with Rosemary:

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