Monthly Archives: November 2018

IS THERE A SHADOW SIDE TO YOGA ADDICTION?

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Queuing to attend a popular yoga class!


Are you addicted to yoga?
Maybe not. But just in case, read on….

Yoga can be very addictive. And because it is recommended as a solution for good health, or because you have gotten some benefits from it already, it is easy to assume it is a GOOD ADDICTION.

Yet, are addictions ever a good thing when the foundation of all addictions is some loss of control over a specific behavior?

Why does this matter with your yoga practice?

When addicted to your practice, you don’t control your habit,                  YOUR HABIT CONTROLS YOU!

It affects your decisions and intention regarding your practice, It affects the quality of your movements…

YOUR HABIT PUSHES YOU TO OVERDO in an attempt to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Or it is simply ADDICTED TO WHAT FEELS GOOD AND FAMILIAR (whether it serves you or not).

All the while, you are unknowingly reinforcing limiting beliefs about yourself, all based on “I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH”. Yap, that’s right even if you do not feel this on the conscious level!

I know a yin yoga practitioner who was addicted to her yin yoga practice because it always felt so good to stretch her body. Yet she had killed her muscle tone in the process and her body was aching all the time when off the mat. She could not step out of the cycle because she did not understand the root of her predicament.

When addicted, you dread the thought of skipping a class. YOU’RE AFRAID you’ll get out of sorts or worsen without your daily fix.
You may feel you’re not good enough if you can’t do a specific pose the way you want. So, you keep at it. You assume persistence is the only way to improve even if it is not so.

Or else, you feel you need to do more yoga to keep thin. To get a firmer and stronger body or be more flexible.

In the process, you become A CATASTROPHE READY TO HAPPEN

The tension you stretch keeps coming back day in and day out. And sooner or later, you get injured and you wonder why?

Do any of these scenarios resonate with you?

THE TRUTH IS: – You can challenge yourself and get awesome results without being addicted to your practice.- You can get fit without overdoing.

To be truly fit, your body must function well as the integrated whole that it is. When it does, you don’t experience excessive bodily tension or poor posture in your daily life. And,
– You feel that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH BEFORE YOU GET TO THE MAT yet you don’t act overconfident acting from a need to show off (overconfidence is another form of not feeling good enough and it can still keep you disconnected from your whole body intelligence)
– Your yoga practice becomes a way to promote and MAINTAIN GOOD HEALTH rather than an ongoing attempt to fix your body.

If challenging yourself without fostering injury is what you REALLY want, if you want to enjoy yoga without the shadow side of addiction then join my next FREE MASTERCLASS!

“Learn 5 Strategies to Prevent Injury & Practice or Teach Yoga at your Best!”

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!

THE SHADOW SIDE OF YOGA TIPS

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Clearly, you have received helpful tips to date. Yet, can you think of examples where you were guided to apply tips and beliefs to your practice which did not make it easier? Although suspicious, you thought the teacher knew best and you did what they recommended. Only to find that your knees or back remained tense in your daily life. Or maybe, as I heard new teachers say, they developed sciatica from training and teaching.

When we give tips to students, it can be very helpful, or it can create trouble. Why?

  1. They do not necessarily apply what they were told, the way it was meant (mainly due to their personal habits).
  2. Or, it helps them with one aspect of their challenge, but it doesn’t change their overall approach to movement. As a result, they are still creating trouble for themselves in other ways. And still looking for tips to solve these challenges.

Teachers have a whole repertoire of tips & beliefs meant to help with yoga poses. And they are always looking for more. Some are helpful, and some are actually dangerous. Here are a couple examples:

  1. Do not let your knees go past your toes. In some poses, it is sound advice to save your knees while in other poses it actually kills your knee joints.
  2. Lengthen your back. When you hear it as “allow your back to lengthen”, it is fine. When you arch your back, thinking you are lengthening it, you are actually stressing your spine and your whole body. And since you do it out of habit, you may not even be aware you are doing it.

So, tips and beliefs around movements can create more trouble than they are worth even though they come from well-meaning teachers who heard it from their own well-meaning teachers.

Child Pose in a Classroom

The truth is that, although fitness was meant to help you be fit, it has evolved into a mixed bag. It helps you in some ways. You see some good results, so you stick with it. Yet, you can also damage your body in the process if you do not have a bigger picture. If you do not have an approach to use your body as the integrated whole that it is. And most of the time, you do not realize this. You do not necessarily connect the dots when an injury happens, especially if it is off the mat.

Listening to your body is definitely a first good step to prevent hurting yourself. However, until you know if you are catering to the preferences of your body habits or listening to the guidance of your whole-body intelligence, you may be reinforcing daily habits that are not serving you.

There is a deeper way to listen to your body that bypasses both your conscious and unconscious habits. When you learn how to do that, you are truly listening to the guidance of your whole-body intelligence. It takes you effortlessly into your best posture, your best expression of any pose or your most efficient movement, both on or off the mat.

With this deeper way to listen, you need a very minimal number of tips for your yoga practice. The more you know how to connect and listen to your whole-body intelligence, the less you feel you need loads of tips whether you practice or teach yoga. As a teacher, you can teach this amazing skill to your students who then, can let their own whole-body intelligence guide them.

Interested in learning this skill? Email me and we’ll talk. I’ll tell you what your options are after I ask you a few questions to assess where you are at right now. Remember that it is never what you do that you regret, but what you did not do when you had the chance! 

 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!

HOW SAFE IS YOGA?

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I want to share a video that I just watch on YouTube on the safety of practicing yoga.

Anthony Davis

And OMG! I love this yoga teacher! He is addressing the elephant in the yoga community room and says it like it is: practicing Ashtanga yoga and Iyengar yoga to the letter can and will eventually hurt your body! In this first video, he focuses on the common issues regarding flexibility, hypermobility, and joints.

We all know teachers and committed teachers who have badly strained their body or who had to have surgery at some point. The danger is that younger yogis may think they are not affected because often, damages happen slowly and progressively till it is too late and crisis strike.

The truth is that we need more teachers sharing those truths to prevent new yoga teachers and new students to injure themselves at some point or another. Teachers in training and yoga students need to be educated about the fact that being comfortable with the uncomfortable is totally a misunderstanding of yoga when it comes to asana practice.

Although we come from a different perspective, what Anthony says in his video goes right along with what I teach to the teachers and yoga students in my free masterclass or local and online courses. Namely, always remember the yoga principle of Ahimsa: do no harm to yourself or others. And to respect that, you better know that strain is delayed pain!

What he says in this video aligns with what I write about in my book The Wise Way to Yoga where I offer a new and very practical way to prevent injury and enhance performance. This approach supports the healthy evolution of modern yoga, away from the misunderstandings and misconceptions that currently permeate modern yoga teaching.

I reached out to him as I sense we could do great work together, along with other like-minded teachers and mind/body practitioners. We all have an important piece of the puzzle and together we can do more than each on our own. This is called forward thinking. It is called a win/win scenario. And I am all for it!

My piece of this puzzle is my awareness and expertise with the postural mechanism, an unknown aspect in the mind of most yoga teachers or fitness trainer. And yet, we all agree how good posture is so critical for enjoying efficient movement on and off the mat (or gym).

Let’s yoga practice be safe once and for all by being aware of some not spoken about truths. Kudos to him for starting this video series. Will be checking the following ones!:)

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, JOINTS & FAKE JOINTS

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I read a post from a yoga teacher who was listing all the ways yoga teachers can unknowingly hurt their students. And she was wondering what happened to the principle of Ahimsa, a deliberate choice to avoid creating pain (to ourselves or others).

Of course, no yoga teacher chooses 
to hurt themselves or their students on purpose.

So HOW DO THEY GET INJURED or promote injuries in students? Why are EXCESS TENSION and POOR POSTURE off the mat such common problems?

One of the reasons for this is a LACK OF CLARITY as to how to use joints appropriately on and off the mat.

UNKNOWINGLY CREATING FAKE JOINTS causes much tension build-up in your muscles and a common habit to lock your real joints both on and off the mat.

And these habits become a vicious cycle!

When you use your NECK AS A HINGE to initiate a head motion, you unknowingly create tension in your neck because your neck is not a joint.

When you use your BACK AS A HINGE to move your torso, you unknowingly create tension in your back because your back is not the joint to move your torso from.

THE TRICK IS
you may not always be doing 
what you think you are doing!

So, you go from unknowingly stressing your muscles and joints to stretching them – till you run the risk of killing their natural tone.

Your “fake joints” (usually muscles) eventually complain that you’re giving them a job that’s not theirs to do. All the while, you wonder why your neck or back hold such a level of tension when you work so hard at stretching your tension?

That’s one vicious cycle that keeps your body uptight in daily life, even when you’re not even stressed out! Being stressed out will naturally enhance this tension cycle.

FLEXIBILITY STARTS WITH YOUR REAL JOINTS 
being used appropriately and without excess tension. This promotes you functioning as the integrated whole that you are whatever you are doing. 

FOR NOW, START TO OBSERVE YOURSELF. Next time you go about stretching a muscle, check if your body is in a state of expansion or contraction?

How can you lengthen muscles when your body is in a shortened state?

How can your energy flow through you if your joints are locked while in a pose?

Want to change how you use your body and practice yoga more efficiently? Want to promote a state of expansion within which your muscles and joints can truly release? Want to experience natural good posture (even when you are not thinking about it). 

Am happy to assist you in any way I can, no strings attached. It is my life purpose to inspire and guide you to DANCE THE JOY OF WHOLENESS.

Besides, there is nothing like a fresh perspective to UP-LEVEL YOUR PRACTICE.

You’ve got nothing to lose 
in exploring this approach 
but habits that no longer serve you!

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!