Monthly Archives: July 2018

Yoga & The Hidden Dance in Your Practice

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As the well-known children song reminds us, the foot is connected to the head and neck via a series of bones and they all work as one unit. So any movement of any body part affects us from head to toes.

Do you listen to this hidden dance of your body when you do your yoga practice? Do you notice how each move you make affects all your muscles and joints from head to toes?

In my own practice, observing and allowing that dance to do its thing is more important to me than getting the perfection of a pose. I let the ideal pose be a guide, not a goal. If I get there, great! If I don’t because I allow the natural functioning of my body to do what it needs to do, I’m fine with that too. It is what it is at that moment! It does not define who I am or the quality of my practice whether my knees are released into a bend in Downward Dog or not. That is provided my hip joints are released which lengthens my back automatically! And this is better for your body than to have straight legs and a rounded back!

 

This approach to practicing reminds me of my favorite Rumi poem so I will share it with you. Let me know if either my post or this poem resonates with you and why? What is your experience when you practice?

Seek the wisdom
that will untie your knot
Seek the path
that demands your whole being.

Leave that which is not, but appears
to be
Seek that which is, but is
not apparent.

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her Body Intelligence Activation Process™ (B.I.A. Process) to assist yogis in enhancing their practice towards best performance with optimal safety. 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 Live Online Program for trainees, new teachers and committed yoga practitioners interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat in a way not taught in regular training courses. She is also the author of a June 2018 publication called THE WISE WAY TO YOGA which is available on Amazon or from Cecile if you are local to Boston!
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The Yoga of Vacationing!

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While on Cape Cod for a week vacation, I have been observing what it means for me, as a yogi, to vacation. And that is what I am sharing below hoping the spirit of my vacation can spill over your day!:)

First, it reminds me to take my time to do whatever I do without multitasking, a great skill with its downside. So I focus on eating only when I eat and I take the time to savor a cup of tea at the end of my healthy tasty meal without moving to the next thing with my cup in hand.

Second, it also reminds me that deep mindfulness can include every movement. When I was swimming, I was aware when I was breathing in, and when I was breathing out. I experienced my body moving through the water as I allowed my arms and legs to do their thing. I was doing laps but I was not competing. I was enjoying the poetry of swimming instead. While on my back, I felt like my arms were wings and I was a bird flying through the water effortlessly!

Last but not least, I realized that the spirit I associate with vacationing includes a depth of mindfulness the spirit of I want to keep in my daily life. I realized that I don’t need to be on vacation to chose not to rush. I can smell the roses even more than I already do.

I also realized that on or off the mat, on or off vacation time, it is always about standing in awareness as I go through life and its organic momentum. And that is what I want to focus on, today and every day when I am back home!

Namaste!

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her Body Intelligence Activation Process™ (B.I.A. Process) to assist yogis in enhancing their practice towards best performance with optimal safety. 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 Live Online Program for trainees, new teachers and committed yoga practitioners interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat in a way not taught in regular training courses. She is also the author of a June 2018 publication called THE WISE WAY TO YOGA which is available on Amazon or from Cecile if you are local to Boston!

Yoga & the Spirit of Discrimination

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The recent study referred to in the article below concludes, based on emergency room reports, that only yogis of age 65 and after are at risk for practicing yoga. Why is this rather misleading?

                  https://www.yogauonline.com/yoga-research/new-study-charts-yoga-injuries-over-13-year-period

I personally do not think the conclusion of this study is accurate. The poster child for pioneer yoga teachers in North America, Diane Bruni, and many other teachers and practitioners have been injured when much younger in their practice. Their injuries and challenges motivated their deep commitment to start a yoga revolution to improve the practice of modern yoga as it is still developing. The current flaws are nobody’s fault. Among other things, they are part of the evolution of an eastern practice in a western world.

Injuries don t always make it to the emergency room and older yogis are more likely to report to the emergency room than younger folks who may feel invincible and trust their injuries will heal quickly. Also, I personally know loads of young teachers and practitioners who would not last without serious injury if they were not going to their chiropractor and massage therapist periodically. Lastly, yoga injuries do not always manifest while on the mat. When the body is not used in line with its whole-body intelligence, it promotes excess tension and injuries can happen anytime, anywhere!

In fact, yoga injuries are often caused by misuse of our body off the mat as seen in the pictures below. As a yogi, you may think that you can fix your “Daily Body” by engaging with your “Yoga Body” on the mat. The truth is that you only have one body and it is crucial to learn how to better handle your body in daily activities if you do not want to promote excess tension and injury down the road. Ignoring slouching in daily life hurts your yoga practice. And tensing your back to sit or stand straight on or off the mat contributes to your irresistible need to slouch. Just know that there is a more organic way to do this as you well did when you were children. And the ability to do so is still in you, available 24/7. You simply need to learn how to activate it!

In the meantime, let’s not close our eyes to the danger still present in the way many practice yoga today. Yoga is not the problem of course, how it has been taught since the 19th century and how we use our body practicing yoga is. How we bring harmful habits from daily life to the mat is. How our physical sensations rule our practice is as well given that yoga warns us to not trust sensations alone. Besides, it is not because we can do something to an extreme that it is good for all our body parts.

We need to develop discrimination! And with it, yoga injuries can decline steadily!

We must face the underlying roots of these injuries so yogis can practice yoga the wise way (regardless of their body type, age, fitness level or yoga style), and keep injuries at bay.

It is a given that younger people bodies are more resilient and can handle more misuse. But is that a reason to assume their practice is flawless and safe?

Studies are helpful up to a certain point. Yet studies proving opposite points can easily be found if we look carefully. So we must use our spirit of discrimination when we read the conclusion of studies. We must learn to connect with our whole-body intelligence in a way so it can be activated on demand and offer guidance for what is right for us, individually, in each moment. And questioning outside information no matter where it comes from is part of yoga!

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her Body Intelligence Activation Process™ (B.I.A. Process) to assist yogis in enhancing their practice towards best performance with optimal safety. 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 Live Online Program for trainees, new teachers and committed yoga practitioners interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat in a way not taught in regular training courses. She is also the author of a June 2018 publication called THE WISE WAY TO YOGA which is available on Amazon or from Cecile if you are local to Boston!