Monthly Archives: June 2021

IS FEELING GOOD ON THE MAT ALWAYS PROMOTING WELL-BEING OFF THE MAT?

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Is your main concern to feel good when you are on the mat?
(Whatever that means for you personally).

Do you believe that if your practice feels good on the mat, it promotes your well-being off the mat? How sure are you that this is always the truth? Or that it is the WHOLE TRUTH?

Poised Pigeon

Have you ever thought that maybe, going far in a pose just because you’re able to, could potentially promote injury? Or do you think that the more the better whether you are strengthening or stretching (as long as it feels good in the moment)?

For instance, when you extend your head as far back as you can in COBRA or PIGEON, do you realize that you are actually compressing the back of your neck, and possibly your midback?

I know it is a common way to do this pose, some teachers do it this way as well and it is considered Instagram worthy. Yet IS THIS REALLY SERVING YOUR BODY AS A WHOLE?

And where does all that compressed tension go? Are you bringing it back home?

Could it be why daily tension seems to linger endlessly despite your committed practice?

Do you find yourself caught in this ADDICTIVE CYCLE that produces both benefits and drawbacks? And you are left not knowing how to get out of it without letting go of your yoga practice (which you naturally do not want to do)?

If that resonates with your experience, 
I want you to know that THIS IS NOT REALLY YOUR FAULT. 
And it can be confusing because a safe practice does feel good as well!:)

You’ve been taught to handle your body this way by your teachers themselves taught by their teachers since the 19th century. Only, the Hatha yoga revival of that time period came with challenges that are not yet really resolved.

The truth is, it is time to face and solve these challenges if you truly want to experience well-being off the mat. It is the job of every teacher and every practitioner to stand up for a safer approach to yoga regardless of body shape, fitness level or yoga style. 

Yoga feeling-good sensations can be part of the picture, but not the whole picture if you want to safely enjoy yoga for a lifetime. They are a very SUBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT of how you are doing with your practice.

When you understand that your MIND AND SKELETAL STRUCTURE have more to do with your STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY than your muscles, you can challenge yourself and also increasingly reach the best expression of every pose without the need to strain one bit. You stop telling your body how to handle your every move. You remember that your innate body intelligence already knows.

To learn to practice yoga with such EFFICIENCY, handle movements or improve your posture without muscle straining, choose to be exposed to The Wise Way to Yoga by attending my next Free Masterclass or be inquisitive and private message me. All you’ve got to lose is some unnecessary tension. 

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 30 years out of which came her Body Intelligence Activation Process™ (B.I.A. Process). It has supported yogis of all levels to enhance their practice towards best performance with optimal safety. She is also studying Energy Medicine to add another dimension to her work.

Faculty at Akasha Yoga Teacher Training, Cécile has run 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. Author of THE WISE WAY TO YOGA which is available on Amazon, Cécile launched a community for yogis which you are welcome to join by clicking WISE YOGA TRIBE

RESISTANCE: A Benefit or an Obstacle to Optimal Health?

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During a yoga class, as we were in a challenging pose, the teacher made the following comment, “your body wants the path of least resistance; in yoga, you want the path of most resistance.” Is this really true?

Not all yoga teachers would agree with this statement. Yet many people do associate yoga with a strenuous practice of some kind. In fact, there is a trend for resistance training that encourages this approach. And yes, it appears logical and practicing this way can yield results as well.

This may seem an appropriate way to do Cobra/Updog because it is a widespread way of doing it, even in India, but it does not mean that compressing the neck part of the spine is in line with your whole-body wisdom

Is it really necessary to go against the guidance of your whole-body intelligence to build up strength? Is there a price to pay if you don’t have an effective tool to assess when to stop (beyond your own subjective notion of what is enough or not)?

The truth is that without an objective tool to assess when enough is enough beyond whether it hurts or not, it becomes too easy to overdo and create excess tension while you are building strength. So, yes, you are getting stronger, but you are also getting stiffer in the process like the yogis compressing the back of their neck to expand the front.

Neck tension does not come from stress but stress enhances misuse and overuse of the body. So stress reveals neck tension more than it creates it.

What are the signs you may be overdoing unknowingly?

  1. You need to stretch your muscles constantly, whether on or off the mat
  2. You experience sensitivity or pain in your joints periodically
  3. You struggle with frozen shoulders or poor posture
  4. You behave in an unflexible manner more often than not

If you experience one or more of these challenges, you may be getting more than you bargain for while working on strengthening using resistance to an extreme.

This is an integrated expression of a pose. Head poised over hands.
No neck compression, yet she is working her body as a whole and getting stronger in the process!

In truth, you can challenge yourself and work with resistance in a way that does not have undesirable side effects. How?

  1. Approach all forms of exercise as a whole-body experience in the same way you approach walking, running, going up the stairs or riding a bike. In these activities, you don’t tell each body part how to do their job. You trust they know what they are doing.
  2. Discover how your skeleton and muscles can work as team partners to develop flexible strength. Your muscles don’t need to steal the show as if your body strength was their exclusive responsibility.
  3. Realize that challenging yourself as a whole is more efficient and effective than focusing on isolated body parts alone. For instance, doing a squat while still fully balanced above your feet benefits your whole body instead of just your quads.

Resistance becomes an obstacle that tends to backfire when you focus on individual muscles, isolated body parts, or pushing to an extreme while losing track of whole-body harmony.

It creates excess tension that shows up sooner or later and promotes injury.

Resistance is a benefit serving all of you when you practice resistance as a whole-body experience (whatever body parts you hope to strengthen). It works from head to toes in a mind/body partnership.

The fact is that the whole is designed to take care of the parts 
which is not true the other way around...

Would love to know your thoughts and experience with this.
Let me know what you think?

WHAT IS WISE YOGA?

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Today is International Yoga Day and we are supposed to educate people on the benefits of yoga or share our experience. Mind led me to create Wise Yoga to help the many yoga teachers and practitioners who came to see me to help them be free of chronic tension or pain or to help them feel more balanced in a mind/body way.

Beyond “Power Yoga” & “Gentle Yoga, there is a new approach which I call “Wise Yoga”!

It can be applied to any style of yoga to relieve and prevent chronic tension, pain, or injury in a sustainable way as well as deepen a practice.

It also aligns the essence of initial yoga with modern yoga simply by the way practitioners use their bodies in line with their whole-body wisdom.

The WISE YOGA TRIBE was just launched. This community exists for yoga lovers of all levels, and especially those with concerns and questions for themselves or others, as to chronic tension or pain not being resolved by the practice of yoga.

Banner of the FB Group we meet on
till retreats and in-person events resume fully!:)

Would you like to explore or be part of the discussion on how to practice and teach yoga the wise way?

Would you be interested in exploring the wise way to yoga as directed by your whole-body intelligence once activated? A very unique approach to working with your body more fully!

If so, I invite you to join this purpose-driven community to practice more efficiently as a practitioner, to deeply impact more students as a teacher, and, in the process, to contribute as a tribe to the wise evolution of modern yoga.

To join us, click I Want to Join Wise Yoga Tribe

If you have any questions about this, feel free to reach out to me by responding to this post!

Till then, enjoy International Yoga Day!

Cécile 🙂