Are all the expressions of Warrior 2 above Integrated Poses?

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 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.

As a yoga teacher or fitness trainer, when you 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.
By attempting to not let the knees go past her toes, she is sticking her behind way back and arching her back in a way that is not in line with her whole-body intelligence

Teachers have a whole repertoire of tips & beliefs meant to help with yoga poses and fitness trainers do too. 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 is 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. To avoid doing this, it is helpful to discover how to activate your Whole-Body Intelligence. It is your inner teacher and it is always 100% correct. Only there is a difference between listening to your body and listening to your Whole-Body Intelligence Guidance once activated.

Interested in learning this skill? Email me and we can ask each other questions and assess together where you are at right now and if this work is a good fit for you. Remember that it is never what you do that you regret, but what you did not do when you had the chance! 

Cécile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for about 30 years out of which came her Body Intelligence Activation Process™ (B.I.A. Process) to assist anyone use their mind/body the wise way to prevent or clear, chronic tension or pain, of body and mind.

She also works with yogis of all levels interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat in a way not taught in regular training courses. A Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and a Reiki Practitioner, Cécile is a faculty at the Akasha Yoga Teacher Training Course and the author of THE WISE WAY TO YOGA which is available on Amazon or from Cécile if you are local to Boston!

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