Straining versus Challenging Yourself!


Do you believe that you can’t challenge yourself unless you strain your body up to a certain point? And perhaps, you think that as long as it does not hurt, you’re good. Does this way of thinking sound familiar?

Know that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT if, even with your yoga practice, you’ve been feeling some recurring tension and a constant need to stretch or strengthen in the hope to feel better. It is partly the result of the widespread “No Pain, No Gain” approach that permeates yoga and fitness since the Hatha yoga revival and the birth of Personal Fitness in the 19th century. And although more and more people agree that “No Pain, No Gain” is no longer the way to go; still many abide by “No Strain, No Gain” which I see as the toned down version of the old saying. Does this make sense to you?

Personally, I see a big difference between straining and challenging myself. I believe that “Strain is Delayed Pain” whereas challenging yourself can safely strengthen all of who you are.

She is challenging herself yet she is straining herself in the process
How worth is it for her head to touch her foot if she compresses the back of her neck in the process?

STRAINING is your Stress Mode activating itself when you are treading in dangerous waters. The strain is a sign that you are working against the integrated functioning of your body. Your whole-body intelligence is telling you that you need to reevaluate what you are doing at that moment if you do not want to injure the muscle or joint that is straining.

Now you may wonder how can you challenge yourself without straining even a bit?

CHALLENGING YOURSELF is pushing your limits as a whole-body. It means that no muscle or joint is screaming out as if it was taking the bulk of the work. Just like a team player not cooperating with the other players is actually working against the team, when you allow one muscle or joint to scream for attention by the amount of work it is doing, that body part is working against the benefit of your whole body.

Drop the Strain, Keep the Strength!

If you want to maximize your yoga practice without fueling excess tension and injury, drop the strain and keep the strength. Drop the excess tension in any body part so your body can better work as a whole! You will experience less on the surface of your body, and benefit more in your core and whole-body.

For more on how to practice any yoga style without causing yourself or your students some pain or injury, Sign up for this Thursday FREE WEBINAR by clicking on the following link:

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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