Category Archives: Postural Mechanism

YOGIS & THEIR POSTURE OFF THE MAT!

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A wonderful teacher off-duty enjoying a cup of tea!:)

We all know how important good posture is for our well-being. And at the same time, poor posture is a rampant concern for so many people. In fact, there is a booming industry of gadgets to straighten out poor posture and an endless number of yoga classes focusing on proper alignment as a way to help you improve your posture. However, as a yoga teacher and a practitioner, do you find yourself able to display good posture when on the mat (or in public) and twisted in a pretzel or slouched into yourself when sitting at your laptop for instance or drinking a cup of tea?

Although it is not your fault that you inherited an incomplete approach to “good posture”, it is now time to face this reality because it is impacting both teachers and students.

STOP IGNORING THIS DOUBLE STANDARD!

It is quite significant. It reveals a missing dimension in your understanding about good posture which is so fundamental in yoga and for your well-being.

I know you’ve been told that “good posture” is SOMETHING YOU DO and naturally that seems like the way to go. You are convinced that good posture is an effort,  something you must think about it if you are to improve it, hence all those posture reminder gadgets.

And this way has to do with positioning your shoulders back, squeezing your shoulder blades some, lifting your chin and chest up.

Then you’re told to hold and relax at the same time. How do these instructions work for YOU? Are they sustainable off the mat?

Or do you collapse into a SLOUCH WITHIN SECONDS the minute you stop watching?

Maybe you go from holding up to compressing your body down. And you still experience nagging tension in your neck, shoulders, and back. Maybe you have digestive issues or depressive moments due to this compression in your torso for so many hours a day and you don’t connect the dots. All this because you are CAUGHT IN THIS CYCLE which never feels comfortable for very long if at all!

Why this discomfort? Because, as with children, good posture is not meant to be work, GOOD POSTURE just IS.

It is the expression of your body functioning at its best. An indication that your body functions in an integrated way.

And this means that your body parts are working together harmoniously FROM THE INSIDE OUT!

Positioning may feel good in the moment (or not), depending on where you are at with your posture.

The truth is that THERE IS A BETTER WAY that never fails to improve your posture. It works without the need for muscle control. And it always feels great too!

As a teacher, it is an amazing expertise to claim as it enhances your TEACHING SKILLS to a high level without the need for yet one more tip to memorize. It is equally helpful for any yogi to learn this.

If you want to know more about this better way, just email me and we’ll take it from there. If I think I can help you, I’ll offer you a FREE BREAKTHROUGH SESSION.

If not, I’ll share some helpful insights all the same! 🙂

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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Tensing Is Not Strengthening!

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Tensing your muscles to strengthen them is a form of overdoing. It was started by the bodybuilders of the 19th century who were part of the foundation of modern fitness and modern yoga. However, as pioneers, they were not aware of the whole picture. They were not aware of the full effect of their tensing on their body. Their main focus was mind over body to bulk up which they saw as the only way to evidence their strength. Only it was one way to do it that had a side effect.

The thing is, although you DO strengthen when you tense up, you also add excess tension to your strengthening process. That is why you may always feel tense despite your yoga practice and you have an urge to constantly stretch whether you are On or Off the mat. Does this sound familiar?

The fact is that when you chose to tense up to strengthen, you are developing “stiff strength” instead of “flexible Strength” and that leads you to be addicted to stretching. It also limits you from reaching your highest strength potential. In truth, you can challenge yourself big time without tensing your muscles. Successful Olympic athletes and famous performers understand that and can perform with efficiency and grace.

To embrace a more holistic way to strengthen, you want to keep room for your muscles to release while you do a strengthening exercise. When you do it right, you suddenly feel the power of your body working as a whole.

And if you want to learn more about it, attend my next live Webinar for Teachers.

You can also listen to the recent podcasts below or buy my book The Wise Way to Yoga!

Cecile:)

WELLNESS INSIDER NETWORK Podcast

STELLAR LIFE Podcast

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!

Are Letting Go and Challenging Yourself Doable @ The Same Time?

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Below is a podcast interview for STELLAR LIFE about the importance of mindset for ease of movement on and off the mat! It covers how to let go at the very same time you are challenging yourself.

In this fun interview, Orion Talmay, a life coach, and athlete puts me a bit on the spot but it brings about lots of good information and I even guide her through an experience of more lightness in motion in a way I never did before (just via audio) and she never did this before either!

So if you are inspired and interested to hear about how to step out of your own way in movement and in life, click and listen or click and read the transcript below.

You will realize that there are different levels of body awareness and that there is more to being in touch with your body than experiencing the physicality of your body.

Hope you enjoy this podcast and topic!

And if you want to learn more about it, attend my next live Webinar for Teachers on Saturday, September 8, 2018

Cecile:)

STELLAR LIFE Podcast

WEBINAR for teachers 

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 Teachers & Burnout!

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I have been teaching yoga teachers as a faculty member in a yoga teacher training course and have asked yoga teachers on FB pages what was it they struggled the most with personally.

It seems that feeling burned out and having no time for their personal practice was a common response.

Newer teachers tend to commute a lot from one studio to another which adds to their feeling drained. Teachers who have been teaching longer and may have a more steady situation still experience the burn out in their own way. Either their body starts giving out and they need surgery (hip or knee). Or they feel they cannot do what they could do before.

So here are my two cents worth on the topic.

1) First, it is not their fault if they feel this way. Their experience has so much to do with the way modern yoga has evolved in our society since the 19th century under the influence of the bodybuilders which started the personal fitness movement.

2) Also, teachers and their teachers have tended to focus on the perfection of a pose form when for safety and maximum benefit, it is only meant to be a goal. And then, the yoga industry (and those who buy into it) magnified that for their own benefit by making us believe yoga is all about appearances.

3) Yoga has a body part focus which often does not agree with our whole-body intelligence and the needs of our body. Yet we push, even if gently because we think it is the way to get results. But results do not come from ignoring your body intelligence cues.

Yoga is such an amazing practice that even when we do not practice using our body in an integrated way, we still can get results which makes us keep going.

However, the time has come to explore unexplored dimensions which can help yoga teachers and their students get the best from their practice regardless of their yoga style, body type, and fitness level.

And this exploration starts by understanding that our muscles are not truly the foundation for our yogic strength, our bones and expanded awareness are. Letting our whole-body intelligence in the driver’s seat is. And it is also key to realizing that this intelligence guides the body yet, it is a higher level of awareness than our body’s sensations of “feeling good and safe” or not.

When these distinctions are part of your kinesthetic experience, you are not so likely to foster burn out, pain or injury over time when you practice yoga or when you teach yoga. They will also help you make different decisions both on and off the mat!

The trick is to know how to allow our whole-body intelligence in the driver’s seat? How to access this higher level of awareness in our body if “feeling good and safe” is not enough to do so?

And that is where knowing how to activate your postural mechanism is so crucial. It is an ambassador for your whole-body intelligence when it comes to balance, coordination and posture. Be curious about it. You won’t regret it! It can transform your practice and even the quality of your daily life. For more information, click the following link and join my FREE LIVE WEBINAR this Saturday. And if you can’t make it, sign up anyway and enjoy the recording!:)

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!

Are You a Yoga Teacher with a Vision?

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Do you teach yoga in a way that brings yoga practice back to its essence? Of course, there are different ways to approach this. However, it is important to have an expanded awareness of specific and crucial facts first.

Teachers have to realize that Western Hatha yoga is still evolving and in transition. Teachers must also realize that the way poses are taught still needs to evolve to avoid fostering pain and injury, and I am not talking about micro-managing body parts further.

Teachers and committed practitioners must be aware that it is possible to unknowingly overdo when stretching and strengthening, hence yoga injuries happening even when yogis thought they were being careful.

And they must remain open-minded and curious about new ways of thinking about movement. Otherwise, they are just promoting old ways of practicing that no longer serve us even when we already get some benefits from our practice.

Iyengar is known for his sense of pose perfection. However, he himself said referring to Hatha yoga or posture yoga:

“Science evolves, Art evolves, and Yoga must evolve too”.

And for this to happen, we need to learn how to practice any kind of yoga the WISE WAY!

We need to understand that the Hard Way and the Gentle Way still need to integrate more wisdom to be practiced safely. Pushing too hard is not the only way a yogi can get hurt. Focusing on the perfection of a pose, even in a gentle yoga class can also be damaging even if the damage happens more progressively. Why? Because students disconnect from their whole-body intelligence to fit their idea of a pose when the pose is meant to be practiced to serve them.

I am sharing this because…..

I am offering “The Wise Way to Yoga Online Course” to Yoga Teachers and Committed Yoga Practitioners who want to be a part of this evolution. 

As a faculty member in a Teacher Training Course, I have helped countless trainees, teachers and committed practitioners approach yoga from a unique perspective that promoted their best performance with optimal safety, regardless of yoga style, body type or fitness level.

Wise Yoga teachers appreciate learning this unexplored approach to activating one’s whole-body intelligence. They love that they can use it on and off the mat for improved posture and increased efficiency of movement.

This course can help you revitalize and enhance your personal and teaching yoga practice. It builds confidence not related to appearances but stemming from the inside out. It guides you and your students to the best expression of any pose in a way appropriate to each yogi.

As a result, yogis of any level can enjoy their best yoga practice ever without any reason to worry about strain, pain or injury down the line.

And, with the wise way to yoga, teachers do not need to feel they have to keep cramming more knowledge into their brain to help their students or to avoid burnout.

Activating your whole-body intelligence is SIMPLE and EFFICIENT. It allows you to feel the lightness of being ON DEMAND even as you are engaged in a challenging pose! It goes deeper than listening to your body sensations as your main guide!

If this is you or someone you know who might be the right fit, please share this blog with them and connect us.

We’ll set up a time to connect over the phone and explore to see if working together is a mutual fit. I’m committed to making sure we both feel 100% aligned and excited about moving forward.

Your wins will be my wins and your NEW GAINED CLARITY will fuel your making the world a better place as you promote the evolution of Hatha yoga in a constructive way.

Again, I’m only looking for teachers who are ready to take action for their own benefits as well as the benefit of all.

I’m all about making a positive impact and working with yoga teachers and committed yoga practitioners who are doing good in the world.

I am looking forward to talking soon,

Cecile 🙂

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 Sequence Flow versus Inner Flow

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Are you into a Bikram style of yoga where you “hold” your pose for a while? Or are you into Vinyasa and the “flow” of a sequence? Whichever one you are into, do you ever focus on the inner flow in your body? Breath flow, and as importantly, the space for excess tension to flow through the muscles so your body can function as an integrated whole?

My experience is that although breath is mentioned in classes, not every yogi knows how to breathe in a consistent manner without being reminded. How consistent is your breathing awareness?

Also, how many yogis know that there can be a flow going through their muscles even as they strengthen? Do you? Or do you think only of the flow in a sequence of movements, flow designed to make you sweat and detox like in Ashtanga yoga?

Do you flow through life or muscle your way through it? That is a good indication of how you handle your body on and off the mat.

My experience is that when I do not keep space for inner flow in my practice or in my life, I am overdoing. SO when I do a Tree Pose or a Chair Pose, I don’t focus on controlling every body part till I feel stiff as a rock or till my muscles scream. Like in a good Tai Chi practice, I stay in the pose as long as I can release over and over through my whole-body, enlisting the support of the earth and the two way dynamic between the earth and my body. I allow for this inner flow going down my muscles and up my skeleton, over and over, till my whole-body intelligence says it’s time to move on to another pose! Have you ever tried to practice this way?

If you like this post and you think it can help others, please share it!:)

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: www.cecileraynor.com

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!

Straining versus Challenging Yourself!

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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.

TIP OF THE DAY:
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: www.cecileraynor.com

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!