Yoga Therapeutics Series: an Interview with Diane Malaspina

Yoga Therapeutics Series: an Interview with Diane Malaspina

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Diane Malaspina about the Yoga Therapeutics Series she will be conducting here at Wareing’s. While it was my first chance to have a real, free flowing conversations with Diane, many of you probably know Diane from Tech & Restore and the some of the other yoga classes she has taught here at Wareing’s. Just recently, she has also conducted Yoga Teacher Certification Programs. The following is a transcript of that conversation.

Carlos: So Diane, I know that recently you did our 30 day PT Experience. I imagine that what you encountered in that program is very different from how you’ve trained in the past given that your background is yoga. Any thoughts as far as how that 30 Day Experience influenced or affected your Yoga Instruction or practice?


Diane: It definitely allowed me to better understand what you all do on the training side, and so that when I was teaching, I was actually catering my classes to where i knew my body was sore from what we had worked that week in the Small Group sessions. So it was a really nice collaboration that gave me a different understanding. And again, the same thing (with this Yoga Therapeutics Series)- when we talk about various topics, be it nutrition, lifestyle, or wellness- however you want to do it just having an understanding of what’s coming in from various sides, I think the clients will really feel embraced and empowered by that.


Carlos: That’s pretty great. I mean, that is our mission statement here, to be a haven for those who seek a healthier lifestyle. And the individuals who come to us seeking that healthier lifestyle come from all different walks of life, so it’s great to have different perspective to draw from and with which to relate to clients. I always tell visitors and prospective members that we are a community gym. From Doctors and Lawyers, to Police Officers and Waiters, Military and Civilian… we’re a community hub, all converging for pretty much the same thing; a healthier lifestyle.


So what I am hearing from you is a more Holistic approach. And I say that, not because it’s a really popular catch phrase that sounds good when you throw it out there…


Diane: (laughs) right!


Carlos: … but because I think that over time we have simply come to realize that all these things- strength training, cardiovascular fitness, Flexibility, nutrition- all these things are indeed connected.


Diane: Right. What are people’s lives like when they’re not here? Let’s say they spend and hour here, or two hours a day. Let’s say they take a class here and do a workout. Any type of class. It could be yoga, it could be a fitness class be it metabolic or cardio. It could be some Small Group Training or personal training. Or it could be them individually working on the weights. The point is that they are here 1-2 hours a day, 3-4 times a week. That’s a small amount of their life when compared to what they do the other hours of their life, and it’s what’s going to keep them feeling like they want to live in their bodies as a temple. You know, “How do I move well, live well, feel well? How do I sleep well, eat well? How do I discourage any joint pain, or increase my functional movement when I reach for my glass on the top shelf for a glass of wine at the end of the day and I like, pull my back out?” You know, or something like that. It’s like we can do with them what we can do with them in their time here, but what can they do outside of that? How can they take what they learn here and apply it outside of this setting and into their lives so that it helps them to overall feel more whole.


Carlos: That is the great goal, right? It’s funny because often times after coaching a class I will explain that the reason that we are here doesn’t dissolve once we leave Wareing’s. Going back to the idea of being a community hub, I always like to connect the dots and emphasize that we come here to learn how to feel better, and that if you walk away from your workout feeling a little better, a little stronger, or just feeling like hey, someone just invested some energy into my feeling better, the wonderful repercussions of feeling good about oneself because others have helped you to feel better is that you are then more likely to treat others well, and perhaps even have the credit in your account to pay it forward and help others feel good about themselves. So I love this entire way of looking at health and wellness.


What can you tell us about this Yoga Therapeutics Series and how it fits into this paradigm?


Diane: The Yoga Therapeutics Series is a 6 week program where we meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:15-9:15am, and it’s going to be a series of movements from your toes to the top of your head where we are going to work with deep opening and focus on myofascial release through the use of pressure. Sometimes we will use tennis balls, sometimes we will use yoga blocks. And then also we will go into some deep muscle stability training in order to either heal the body, to create more flexibility in areas that are chronically tight, or to help with rehabilitation due to either sport or surgery. And so the mission of the program is to give people the skills to move their bodies in ways that they typically don’t learn in a regular yoga class, but that they can take home and still feel well and feel good in their bodies. So by the end of the 6 weeks they should feel a dramatic difference between before they started and the end. I am also going to give them homework. I am going to give them a hand out where every week they have some of the moves that we go over in the class that they can continue at home for as little as fifteen minutes a day so that after the program ends they have something they can maintain and work with.


I’d like to get pretty deep into the muscles. I know that we are going to collectively spend at least 2-3 hours just on the foot and ankle. We will also cover all the other major joints of the body. It’s going to particularly be good for people who have issues with their hips and thier shoulders, back, spine, neck and knees. But the foundation of our body is our feet, so we are going to spend a lot of time on our feet because our feet lay the groundwork for everything that happens above.


And then we’ll also do some deeper muscle toning, where we will do some small, biomechanical  movement in order to strengthen the muscles that are closer to the bones.


Carlos: So again, it’s safe to say that this series will go much deeper than merely prescribing a pose.


Diane: Exactly. I mean I won’t be going into the overly technical anatomy with the participants because I don’t want anyone to feel as if they can’t potentially keep up with what were are talking about, but we will talk about our patterns of movement and how our alignment affects the body, as well as how our joints respond to that. How chronic tightness keep the bones from aligning well and create postural habits that promote pain over years. So I’m hopeful there will be a lot of lightbulb moments when it comes to our postural alignment or lack thereof. There will be time spent looking down at our feet, examining how we are currently distributing our weight and learning if there are better ways of doing so. But then we will also spend time lying on the floor rolling on tennis balls in order to work out those areas of chronic tightness. We will also discuss injuries. As an example, knee injuries. What are the muscles that surround and support the knee so that we can strengthen and tone those muscles so that over time we don’t have to worry about hurting your knee or developing that nagging knee pain because we’ve developed and strengthened everything that supports that joint.


There will also be a pre assessment at the beginning, followed by biweekly assessments, to see what kind of progress is being made. This way they can track. “Hey,  do I still have this range of motion? Have I increased my range of motion? I had this level of pain when I began, a 6. Now i only have a 4.” That way they can see first hand that doing this kind of a program over time and with consistency can lead to results, not only in a yoga program, but in their other individual pursuits.


Carlos: Measurable results.


Diane: Right.


Carlos: What type of individual do you think could benefit from such a program.


Diane: Wow, I really think just about everyone could benefit from this. Whether it’s a person who’s an athlete and doesn’t have any recovery built into their program, or if their recovery is limited to simple stretching. I think the myofascial release is going to be really key for helping athletes…. they should see improvements in their performance.


I think that people who have undergone an injury or have chronic pain due to something will benefit greatly, as well as people who are getting older and may suffer from arthritis or have had surgery. Finally, this would be a great course for people that for whatever reason are afraid that they may be moving towards an injury. So really this program can be prevention, or it could correction.


Carlos: That sounds really exciting. Diane, I really appreciate your time sitting here with me and going over all this for our members. If you don’t mind, I’d like to end with you telling us your idea of what you would hope anyone who takes this programs would get out of it.


Diane: Sure. I think this entire series will be successful if the people in it learn more about their bodies in a way in which they can start taking care of themselves so that they can prevent pain and feel good.


If you are interested in participating in this series, the following information should be of help:

Dates: July 19 – August 25, 2016 at Wareings Gym

Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:15am – 9:15

Cost: $399

Class size limited to 10 students

Register with payment at Wareings Front Desk

Once registered, contact Diane (email: for initial assessment.

Questions – call 757-589- 3882