“Striving Yogis” by Cecile Raynor
Since 2012 when the New York Times published an article called “Can Yoga Wreck Your Body?” followed by a Huffpost interview with Glenn Black, many yoga studios and teachers everywhere have been innovating to increase safety on the mat. Teachers have been learning how to assist yoga students. Practitioners at risk have chosen gentle forms of yoga, while many others shy away from yoga all together.
In the meantime, yoga studios are filled with a big majority of young yogis with forgiving bodies who still handle a lot of strain. For them, “no gain without pain” has been replaced by “no gain without strain”. Pushing to their limit just because they can (whether stretching or strengthening) is seen as a good thing. So they follow their teachers guidance and are satisfied to push and pull to their heart’s content as long as it feels good and they pay attention to not reach their pain threshold.
NO GAIN WITHOUT PAIN has become NO GAIN WITHOUT STRAIN
But is that enough for ultimate safety on the mat and is it even the best way to reach highest performance? Are yoga studios safer than before? Is yoga practice enough to keep yogis bodies strain-free and their minds able to manage stress gracefully between classes? How is it for you? Which part of your yoga practice is sustainable in your daily life and which is not? We all know yoga is not what wrecks people’s body, so why do many people still get hurt on and off the mat even when they exercise in the gym or on the mat?
For one thing, some of the assisting has been questioned to the point that some studios have created special tokens or cards used on mats to signal teachers whether they are welcome to assist or not. True, some yoga assists have turned into well received massage moments although some yoga students simply do not care to be touched and always want the option to say so; mostly, students asking for tokens have gotten hurt by teachers assisting hands. Why is this happening?
There are 3 main reasons for this happening. Despite the numerous assist workshops given out there, the first reason is a lack in quality touch experience in teachers as well as a lack of awareness of the mind-body foundation of all movements. These happen to be strengths of Alexander Technique teachers who have a 3 year training of 1600 hours before they get certified. Yoga teachers start teaching after 200 hours of certification with little training if any in these two aspects. Secondly, there is the way teachings were passed on through generations of teachers suffering from loss and misinterpretations which led to some asanas created only in the past century to be widely embraced even when not necessarily appropriate for everyone nor always in line with our innate body intelligence.
Last but not least, since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, men have been focusing on appearances, money and machines. We have come to think of the body as a machine with parts to exercise and replace when necessary. For all the buzz on holistic health, the norm remains to focus on body part exercising across the fitness world. Do you catch yourself chronically holding your back trying to sit or stand upright to slouch only seconds later? Could it be happening because it is neither comfortable nor natural to being up that way?
Organic good posture, no conscious efforting involved!
Many are disconnected from their “whole body” wisdom as they are exercising their “body parts”. Do you go to yoga to improve your posture, strengthen and stretch? Yet do you still experience neck or back tension, or strained knees on or off the mat? As it were, there are more gadgets than ever on the market to address “bad posture” and its consequences: neck, back, shoulder or joint discomfort or pain. However, are they only band-aid solutions or do they produce sustainable results?
Much of the teachings on posture tend to equate alignment with good posture which results in a static expression of aligned posture. Like posture gadgets, they also imply that muscularly correcting posture is the ultimate solution. The reality is that there is more to good posture than alignment. “Good Posture” is a dynamic and organic happening like in children!
Learning to activate your postural mechanism is the secret breakthrough skill that can lead you to improved posture with no neck, back or joint straining on or off the mat. It is a reflex-like system we are born with that is activated when we step out of our own way to let our body intelligence do its job. And every time we release excess tension without sacrificing our skeletal height, it gets activated. You probably stumbled unto it before when you suddenly reached your effortless balancing spot. Only it is a skill you can learn and access on demand based on undoing conscious and unconscious habits of movements. When under your belt, that skill allows you to approach every yoga poses from a totally different angle where straining is not necessary to strengthen or stretch with ultimate safety and to reach your highest performance!
FREE LIVE EVENT: BREAKTHROUGH SKILL << Not taught in Yoga Trainings >> March 16, 2016 @ 7.30pm EST
It is to bring you an experience of this breakthrough skill that I have been learning about webinar and e-course technology. I am now happy and excited to invite you to my first webinar offering and I will personally introduce you to this breakthrough skill which can help you open the door to ultimate safety even within high performance level! You will be given a chance to engage in some experiential activities and I am scheduling time for Q & A as well. I will also explain how this skill can lead you beyond band-aid solutions, to sustainable results.
Why mark your calendars and sign up asap? It is a global offer to yoga practitioners and teachers in the world, yet I am only offering 50 spots. Participants will be accepted on a first come basis. At the end of the webinar, participants will be given a chance to sign up for my 90 Day Interactive E-course First Launch at 50% off which includes loads of bonuses as well. Available only to 25 people!
So here is the link to sign up to the Free Webinar: https://offthematyoga.leadpages.co/free-webinar-breakthrough-skill/
Hope to meet some of you in cyberspace!
Alexander Technique Teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist & Kryia Yoga Initiate