ROM, Neuroscience + Yoga with Garrett Neill

Dr. Garrett Neill, or Dr. Yogi Gare as he’s known online, is a Chiropractor and a yoga teacher and I LOVE following his work on social media. He shares tons of helpful information for yoga teachers and holds the space for really interesting conversations for our community. 

In his work with patients Dr. Garrett employs Chiropractic Manual Therapies, Soft Tissue Techniques and Corrective Exercises that emphasize stability, strength, and efficiency to ensure his patients are capable of moving in the best way possible. He writes and lectures about anatomy, biomechanics, & neuroscience and how they relate to yoga and he teaches weekly yoga classes. 

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • all about the difference between Active Range of Motion and Passive Range of Motion why it is important for yoga teacher to understand the difference between the two
  • a discussion of the three main barriers to range of motion that show up in our joints
  • some of the reasons the body might “tighten” and limit our range of motion
  • what we should we be thinking about in terms of how we teach movement when it comes to creating stability
  • how mobility and flexibility are different from one another

Learn More From Garrett:

Some of the Resources Mentioned in the Episode:

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10 Responses to “ROM, Neuroscience + Yoga with Garrett Neill”

  1. Jennifer Lester

    Hello Lovely Francesca, I am listening and had a thought. I have just experienced the most pain of my life in a kidney stone episode. I have had other difficulties with the gallbladder. I don’t think it is out of the SOP for yoga teachers to be aware that limited ROM can be from any internal issue the body feels it needs to protect. The kidney stone had been brewing for some time as gauged by my limited ability to laterally flex and rotate in the spine. Hams on L were also reactive as was y my neck. No amount of chiro adjustments would hold as I kept getting tightness and headaches, etc. Just thought I’d chime in about this so others might have this on their radar. Organ distress is a huge factor in our ROM and abilities to breathe. Love, Jen

    • Francesca Cervero

      Oh wow Jennifer, I’m so sorry you went through that! I know kidney stones can be so painful. And yes, it is definitely good for yoga teachers to know how many disparate factors might impact someone’s ROM. The body is so complex! Thanks for sharing here!

    • Garrett

      Thank you for bringing that up Jennifer! Your very right, organs can definitely influence range of motion and mobility.

      That goes back to what I talked about regarding perceived safety. The nervous system may detect that inflamed internal structure and work accordingly to tighten your tissues to protect you by limiting your ROM.

      Thank you for adding this valuable addition to this discussion

  2. Barbara Carr

    Listening further into your conversation, I feel the urge now to study anatomy and neuroscience to be able to teach in a really precise way. The question of course comes up, do we want to give your clients soo much detailed information, so they move right back into their heads ( minds) rather then feeling their body? Thank you so much for your very supportive interviews Francesca.

    • Francesca Cervero

      You are so welcome Barbara! I’m so happy you appreciate my interviews! I certainly think the more we understand about the body and its mechanics the better able we are to help out students. And you are so right to point out that for some students it will be really helpful to give them the whole anatomy download, and for others it won’t. We can judge that on a student by student basis, especially in private lessons. 🙂

    • Garrett

      Barbara you’ve definitely touched on one of the toughest subjects for anatomy informed teachers. How much information do we want to share? And more importantly how much do our students want?

      I think it largely comes down to personal preference both in teacher and learning. As a teacher we definitely need to be aware if we’re taking away from the experience of self by talking too much, but at the same time Anatomy and learning the science of movement can connect one to a deeper level of self through understanding. Such is a balance we need to find and it shifts with every audience.

      I personally like to workshop things to explain the mechanics and intent. Then I let people try it without saying much during. Then I usually ask afterwards how it felt or what they thought about it. Essentially I present a bunch of info then give space for people to try it and reflect on it. Another great time to explain things is after class for the interested. Sometimes I’ll end classes with – “if you have any questions I’d love to explain more of what we did today after class”

      On a final note, some students love deeper anatomy and info. Others like to move mindfully with minimal info. Present things in your style and voice and I’m sure you’ll find a good balance.

  3. Shriram Sridharan

    I have a question. Does that mean that stretching doesn’t have a place at all? Or Stretching should always be supported by strength (meaning active range)?

    • Francesca Cervero

      That is a great question and I’m so glad you asked it! I absolutely think stretching has many benefits and certainly has a place in the context of an asana class. Passive stretching may not always create the kind of change in ROM that people think, but there are plenty of other reasons to do it. Let me ping Garrett so he can weigh in as well!

      • Shriram Sridharan

        Thank you very much for your response. Will wait for Garrett’s response.

    • Garrett

      Great question Shriram! Stretch does still have a place. Especially if you enjoy doing it.

      While it may not be the most effective at translating to movement it still has value as a teaching tool (in cultivating awareness and sensation). It also is something that feels good and there’s often value to things that feel good.

      I think the biggest shift for me right now is valuing stretching less as a warm up and more as a cool down to help calm the nervous system. Mobility exercises work great at preparing our tissues for challenging exercises and positions whereas deeper stretching can help us sit, breathe, and shift to a more parasympathetic tone

      All movement is good movement


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