The Spiritual Side of the Detour

A few people have written in, asking how Detour Method Online will incorporate the spiritual aspects of yoga.

My short answer: it won’t.

My longer answer: Detour Method Online focuses on the physical aspects of the practice. And much of that physical stuff doesn’t actually look like yoga. There’s a reason that “yoga” isn’t in the course title.

Is it still applicable to yoga teachers and those who have a yoga practice? Absolutely!

But is this course a “yoga” training? No.

I describe Detour Method Online as the bridge between the worlds of yoga and everything else that the body needs for a balanced movement practice. It’s a continuing education opportunity for those who want to merge what they already know with more information about the things they’re increasingly curious about – like strength training, mobility work and task-based movement.

I chose to create a course that focuses on the physical not because I think that’s all the matters, but because it’s what I’m good at.

Understanding the body and how it moves has been my full-time job for the last ten years. This is what excites me and gets me out of bed in the morning. It’s the lens through which I do my best work and the means by which I can help the greatest number of people.

The other realms related to yoga – meditation, philosophy, chanting and anything else that comes to mind when you think of “spiritual” practice – aren’t my speciality. During in-person trainings we have guest instructors come in to teach these parts of our courses because it’s what they’re best at – they bring far more depth and authenticity to these limbs of the practice than I ever could.

Thinking I can do it all would be a sure-fire way to fail at what I’m trying to accomplish.

My intention with Detour Method Online is to share just that—the Detour method of practice—the same information from our workshops and teacher trainings that is gradually revolutionizing how people approach what they do both on and off the mat.

For many, this approach can foster something on the cusp of spiritual, but I’ll use the word “connection” instead. Students often come up to me after class and tell me they feel far more connected, far more aware of their bodies and how they feel, following the work I’ve brought them through. Sometimes they’re surprised at that result given that the class was slower and far less “advanced” (ie. no fancy tricks) than what they thought was necessary to achieve that level of connection. All I really did was ask them to pay attention.

In a recent interview for a new podcast, I was asked about my current contemplative practice. My response? I talked about how, every time I complete a workout at the gym, I take at least 5-10 minutes to calm down and shift gears. I sit on the floor where I have some space to move. I might do a bit of slow mobility work, using different positions like 90/90 just to assess where things are at. I frequently include some kind of spinal segmentation and might also throw in an inversion just for fun. I finish with calm, focused breathing in a seated position, staying there just for a few moments, long enough to feel like I’m ready to walk back out into the world again. There’s no “om”. No pranayama. No levitation (I wish!). But it’s the way I pay attention to what’s going on under the surface.

How we connect with ourselves and with whatever you might identify as “spiritual” is unique to every individual. Sometimes I seek connection through movement, other times I find it through alternative practices (perhaps one day I’ll write an email about my ayahuasca journey which I can confidently say was the most spiritual experience of my life).

Regardless of where I might find it, spirituality isn’t something I include in my teaching repertoire. And that works out well, because I don’t think spirituality is what you were looking for when you found your way to the Detour. Pain-free movement…non-dogmatic teaching…and limitless possibilities of what you can do with a mat and two blocks (ok, maybe throw a dowel and a wall in for good measure)…these are the reasons I hope you’ll join us in the online training.


P.S. I know several of you asked if I would expand on the elbow hyperextension article, which came up after I posted a video of myself yesterday with elbows locked out. If you want to check out the elbow article now, it’s here.

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