Monthly Archives: May 2017

Chest & Heart Opener Poses Revisited

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Anyone practicing yoga has heard of “Heart or Chest Openers”. It sure sounds good which is why people go for it. But what is a chest or heart opener pose? Does the way you go about it really matters as long as it feels good?

As I was pondering about that, I realized that when chest openers and heart openers poses are brought up in class, they are not always done in line with our whole-body intelligence.

Whether you are in a restorative class chilling on pillows, fabric boulders or blocks to “Open” your heart or you are pulling your “Shoulders Out”, do you open the front of the torso at the expense of the back?

For instance you may be encouraged to squeeze your shoulder blades to open your shoulders or you may be in a pose on the floor that tend to exaggerate your mid back spinal arch while your shoulders open back past your collar bone line.

Is it desirable to go that far just because it feels good in the moment? How can you enjoy these poses without sacrificing any part of your body for the benefit of another part?

Look at the Indian who posed on a horse for this statue. His chest and heart are fully open in this stance as he is addressing his Great Spirit! Yet his shoulders and arms are neither rolled forward nor pulled back. His torso is open in front and back equally. As a result, the neck part of his spine is gently arching back but his head is not compressing the back of his neck.

That is what I call a healthy chest and heart opener pose!

1) Any opening that does not include every part of your body into expansion is not helping you as much as you think even though it may feel good in the moment.

2) Forcing the body into expansion, even gently, when it is designed to do so on its own is not the most efficient way to attain and benefit from expansion in a sustainable way.

3) If you don’t know yet how to make your body do its job so you can enjoy strain-free muscles and joints & good effortless posture on and off the mat, find out how to do so instead of correcting the same issue over and over.

Enjoying the Guidance of your Whole-Body Intelligence is easy when you learn how to activate your Postural Mechanism anytime, any place, on or off the mat!

And it has nothing to do with forcing your body into what you think is “Proper Alignment” because there is way more to good posture than proper alignment!

Want to know more? Check my blog site, sign up for my free email seminar, join my next online course in the Fall or contact me for private session in person local or online so I can help you revisit your own expression of your poses!

1) Free Email Seminar 2) Free Webinar

Call or email for Private Sessions with Cecile local or online!

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her B.I.A. Process to assist yogis enhance their practice bypassing the intellect. She is also a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and a Reiki Practitioner. Faculty at Akasha Yoga Teacher Training, she runs a 12 months Mastermind for Yoga Teachers with a Vision, and a 90 Day Virtual Program for trainees, new teachers and committed yoga practitioners interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat. She is currently writing a book on her personal and professional experience to be published this year with BlissLife Press, San Diego California.

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Chair Pose Redefined For Integrated Efficiency!

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Do you lead with your butt back or do you feel totally balanced above your feet?

This weekend, I worked with a teacher who had been teaching for a few years. She still experienced muscle and joint discomfort so I had her go into her expression of Chair Pose to assess what was going on in her way of practicing yoga.

She was working so hard muscularly at controlling her body in ways she had been taught that her body was a war zone of conflicts which fed her aches and pain. For instance, she was leading with her butt going back (like most people these days) and got herself off balance which was revealed by her struggling with preventing her toes from lifting off the ground and by a lack of integrated team work in her body as a whole.

Unfortunately, she is not alone in this struggle.

Chair Pose is one of the poses often disliked by yoga teachers and practitioners I have worked with and there is a reason for it. The way it has been taught comes from body builders of the 19th century influenced by the Industrial Revolution. They approached fitness viewing the body as a machine made of parts to be exercised in a controlled way.

In the same live webinar, a yoga teacher in training described the quads strain she felt in her chair pose as “natural strain” because what we get used to comes to feel more “natural” than the natural way itself.

The truth is that when muscles stand out by their hard work, this is a sign that the yogi in this pose is not using her body as the coordinated self that it is. The strain is actually the body communicating to you that you are in stress mode. Holding against your whole-body intelligence warning comes with risks of injury and chronic tension.


Do you search for the seat with your butt and use your hands for help one way or the other when you sit down?
Or do you feel absolutely relaxed and balanced all the way through?
And do you notice a parallel between your Daily Body and your Yoga Body way of moving?

An integrated efficient practice of chair pose keeps you easily balanced on your feet because you are released and the energy can flow up and down as it is designed to do. As a result, you develop the flexible strength of the cat!

In doing so, you are not losing any opportunity to strengthen. All you lose is the excess tension that gives you the illusion that you are creating more strength.

If you want to receive feedback on your chair pose to experience the ease and efficiency of an integrated chair pose like these other webinar teachers did, attend my free webinar too by clicking on this link: https://offthematyoga.lpages.co/free-live-interactive-webi…/

For those interested in a more integrated yoga practice for increased efficiency, at the end of the webinar, I will introduce my online course and make a special offer for participants only.

I will soon be closing the door to this program designed for an intimate group of yoga teachers and committed practitioners who want to journey with me for 10 weeks and learn about this breakthrough approach to yoga called the Body Intelligence Activation Process or B.I.A. Process to transform and revitalize their practice!

Want to learn more about how to activate your whole-body intelligence guidance 24/7?

1) Free Email Seminar 2) Free Webinar

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her B.I.A. Process to assist yogis enhance their practice bypassing the intellect. She is also a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and a Reiki Practitioner. Faculty at Akasha Yoga Teacher Training, she runs a 12 months Mastermind for Yoga Teachers with a Vision, and a 90 Day Virtual Program for trainees, new teachers and committed yoga practitioners interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat. She is currently writing a book on her personal and professional experience to be published this year with BlissLife Press, San Diego California.