Dharma Drops Podcast Recap: Episode 5 Mythbusting the Perfect Yoga Pose with Jess Hartmann


Mythbusting the Perfect Yoga Pose

A Conversation with Jess Hartmann

March was an exciting month for Dharma Drops: Yoga, Life, Whatever. Not only did I survive yet another month of podcasting as a newbie, I also booked interviews for the next month and a half. That means, my friends, for now, you aren’t stuck listening to me and only me. It’s your lucky day!

In Episode 5: Mythbusting the Perfect Yoga Pose, I sat down with physical therapist, medical therapist, and educator Jess Hartmann. And though I do not expect guests to speak to my beliefs, Jess touched on the very cornerstone of Dharma Drops, emphasizing that yoga does not have to look a certain way. Often, I talk about that in the you-can-do-you-and-be-a-yogi way. But she means it literally. Your physical yoga practice does not have to look like anyone else’s, not even the ancient yogis or the great teachers’. And she reminds us that modern science can support that notion.

You can listen to the full episode on all major podcast apps and players. But, in the meantime, here is a quick recap of our conversation:

Rate, Review, and Subscribe: Please don’t forget to rate, review, and subscribe; especially on iTunes. Dharma Drops had an incredible month with six times as many listeners in March than February! And listeners are now in 12 countries. At the time of recording with Jess, there were listeners in nine countries. So things are growing. But Dharma Drops can’t be a success without your support. Every time you download, rate, review, and subscribe, you help the podcast move up the iTunes charts. This isn’t just about growing Dharma Drops. This is about sharing important topics and conversations and growing a diverse and authentic community of real-people yogis and non-yogis who want to spread the word that yoga is for everyBODY and everyone.

Don’t Feed the Crocodiles: Jess and I both led student study abroad trips in Costa Rica. We take a few minutes to share our experiences with taking a group of college students to Central America. And we boil things down to one important public service announcement: don’t feed the crocodiles! Also, I don’t care what she says, I’m not going whitewater rafting. ;)

When we think about how much we’ve learned about the human body in thousands of years, about biomechanics over the years, that we change other things in our lives as we learn more, as we progress. So why not change our asana as well.
— Jess Hartmann

Modern Science: The crux of the conversation is the fact that, though yoga traces back thousands of years, we know more about the human body now than ever before. At least in terms of modern medicine and advancement. As such, Jess suggests that it’s time for yoga and modern science to merge. She says, “It’s amazing to practice thinking about the traditions of yoga, thinking about the lineage of yoga. But when we think about how much we’ve learned about the human body in thousands of years, about biomechanics over the years, that we change other things in our lives as we learn more, as we progress. So why not change our asana as well.” We discuss this, not in terms of denouncing tradition, but adding to it. Like anything else, yoga asanas can evolve.

Modern Yogis: Physical yoga was developed for bodies that lived in a different time and part of the world. Jess notes that what might have worked for the physical body hundreds or thousands of years ago is different that what our modern, Western bodies need. For instance, we are not floor dwelling people. And many of the yoga asanas were designed for men in a time when practically all practitioners were male. But in modern, Western yoga, 72% of practitioners are women (correction: on the podcast I said 80%, but it looks like the dudes are returning to the practice. As of 2016, one source claims about 72% are women). As such, asana may need to change in order to meet the needs of diverse bodies in a different time and place. Jess states, “Our bodies are not necessarily going to be as flexible, as used to being on the floor. We’re not going to have the same mobility in our joints that people thousands of years ago may have had.”

The Origin of the Myths: We explore the origin of the belief that yoga has to look a certain way. Partially, this may come from tradition. After all, honoring tradition and lineage is part of the practice. But we suggest that it may come from other sources, too. For instance, social media posts often imply a specific shape or look. Also, the West’s body-centric psyche often values appearance over feelings. Despite the origin though, we agree that the need for postures to maintain a specific aesthetic usually traces back to our best frenemy—the ego.

Life and Whatever: Jess and I cover much more in our hour-long conversation. But we end it on the other pulse point of Dharma Drops: life and whatever. It doesn’t have to be all yoga all of the time. So we catch up on some of our favorite off-the-mat shenanigans: Game of Thrones, Fried Green Tomatoes, murder mysteries, and more.

That’s just a little sneak peek of Episode 5 of Dharma Drops. To get the full monty, tune in on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or SoundCloud.

To keep up with Jess, follow her on Instagram at @integrativerehabandwellness.

Have ideas or want to write for Dharma Drops? Send Dharma Drops a pitch! And don’t forget to stay connected. Sign up for updates, announcements, and more from Rebecca Warfield Yoga and Dharma Drops!

About Rebecca Warfield

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Rebecca Warfield lives in a small town on the southern coast of North Carolina. In addition to being an avid traveler and writer, she is a university English instructor and RYT-500 yoga teacher. Rebecca spent her 20s traveling solo around the globe, studying literature, and dancing. In her 30s, a New Year’s resolution brought her to yoga, and she hasn’t looked back. She currently teaches yoga full time and is dedicated to sharing yoga’s teachings with others. Rebecca is the founded Rebecca Warfield Yoga and Dharma Drops to celebrate the diversity of practices and experiences of yogis and non-yogis alike.