Category Archives: Stretching

Attention Yoga Teachers, Committed Yoga Practitioners, Big Picture Thinkers, and Spiritual Seekers!

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Today Is the Amazon Launch Date of The Wise Way to Yoga!

Why do you want to order it? Read on and share with the other yogis in your life!

Yoga has become a widespread activity to help you handle your health and fitness. And you gain your best results when you practice yoga regularly, in a “Wise Way”. So far, you are all familiar with the “Hard Way” and the “Gentle Way” to practice. However, the “Wise Way” to yoga is a new approach that guides you to your best performance with optimal safety. It can be applied to all styles of yoga regardless of body type or fitness level.

The Wise Way to Yoga is the Yoga of the Future!

It is launching the Movement of the Wise Yogi that has been long overdue! Be a part of it!

If you resonate with this, go to the following link for the Manifesto of the Wise Yogi! Namaste!:)

https://offthematyogablog.com/the-wise-way-to-yoga/

To Order the Book, go to:
https://www.amazon.com/Wise-Way-Yoga-Intelligence-Performance

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.
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Hyper-mobility, Flexibility, and Yoga!

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Have you ever thought about the implications of the act of stretching?

Stretching, even when it’s gentle, is forcing your muscles to lengthen. Yet, the more you force your muscles to stretch, the more it wants to tense. Think about how you feel when someone forces you to do something you don’t want to do. Don’t you at first recoil from the task? Similarly, you may strengthen and stretch in a way that keeps you feeling stiff and inflexible. It feels good in the moment, yet you are caught in a vicious cycle.

The solution is to always challenge your body as a whole, trusting your whole-body intelligence to step up to the plate as much as needed instead of trying to control its functioning. That is how you develop the art of flexible-strength. Although a natural happening, some unlearning may be needed to reclaim this innate skill.

Hypermobility can be impressive from an athletic viewpoint.
However, frontal expansion with neck compression is not in line with integrated functioning.

Hypermobility, a condition where joints easily move beyond the normal range, is a mixed blessing. It makes it that much easier to overstretch since there is less tension in the ligaments surrounding the joints. It’s easy to mistake hypermobility for flexibility. Because this compensates for the lack of stability in the joints, hypermobile people often have tense muscles. If you’re in this predicament, learning the art of flexible- strength becomes a necessity because it prevents you from overdoing, either while stretching or strengthening. It can help you regain better muscle tone and more stable joints.

The art of flexible-strength starts with allowing your joints to release which brings about lengthening in your muscles. However, it is also important to not sacrifice your skeletal height which keeps everything together yet in an expanded state as well. This combo allows your muscle tone to rebalance which creates stability around the joints. All this is the work of your postural mechanism at work. It is its job to handle your best coordination, posture, and balance when you do not interfere. It is an ambassador for your whole-body intelligence.

Learning to activate your whole-body intelligence via this mechanism you were born with is the most efficient way to function at your best, on or off the mat. And it is one of the golden keys to The Wise Way to Yoga which can be applied to all yoga styles.

Ready to embrace the Wise Way to Yoga?
Go check this page on my blog for the Manifesto of the Wise Yogi and the lists of Boston events around the book launch:
https://offthematyogablog.com/the-wise-way-to-yoga/

You can also sign up for my FREE EMAIL SEMINAR.

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 Virtual 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. 

And her book, THE WISE WAY TO YOGA,  is to be published in May 2018! To be followed!

 

“THE WISE WAY TO YOGA” Sneak Peek # 4: Bandhas, Bridge Pose, Block & Bones for Increased Flow!

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For those who have not been following me on FB, this was taken from Part Four of my soon to be published book for Yoga Teachers, Trainees, and Committed Practitioners!:)

Yogic bandhas are a form of energy activation via special centers in the body to temporarily contain the body energy (prana) in the torso. The three specific bandhas are Mula Bandha, energy activation at the perineum, Uddiyana Bandha, energy activation of the abdomen into the rib cage, and Jalandhar bandha, to energize the throat.

It is common to practice this energization by squeezing and tightening these centers to close the energy gates as a way to create energy flow when the tightness is released. Similar to a dam. However, when practiced, unnecessary tension can also be created from overusing muscles, either out of habit or because of cultural conditioning around the concept of more being better. But, as I have asked you before, is more always better?

Bandhas are about energy activation above all else. Although performed on the physical level, they are meant to function as an internal energetic process. The key is to not overexert muscle tension so that the energetic process can happen most efficiently and you can avoid building body stiffness in the process.


Lotus Pose

It is my personal experience, and the experience of yogis I have worked with, that when you focus only on the local area around the centers, you lose connection with the whole-body and the full benefits of its innate intelligence. You still can get results from your practice, yet you also develop or reinforce body tension and a habitual pattern to overdo at the same time. How can you avoid overdoing in this context? Stay connected to your bones and skeletal structure with an intention to not tighten all over your body! With a bit of experience in activating your postural mechanism, this is doable even when you do the three bandhas together.


Bridge Pose with Block Hugging

Overdoing with your muscles supersedes your skeletal structure and your bone strength. Try a yoga exploration using a block in your bridge pose. Explore energizing the root chakra with Mula Bandha by squeezing the habitual way. Then try it thinking that you are hugging the block with your bones. You can also explore this in mountain pose, lotus pose, or while standing in a forward bend. Then compare the typical squeezing to hugging with your bones.

Bone hugging instead of muscular squeezing prevents excess tension while connecting you with your complete skeletal structure and the support under it. It is helping you rise up from the roots created when you allow excess tension to be released into the earth. This way, your bandha activation permits your whole body to be engaged in an appropriate way, each part using just the right amount of muscle tension. The big outer muscles can let go, and the core muscles kick in, organically working with the skeleton and its support.

The energy activated by the bandhas is then both localized and generalized so that when released, the gates for the energy to flow through are wide open all over the body.

A yoga teacher in one of my class said that “squeezing the block involved a lot of effort and strain” for him, and it triggered a place in his back where he carries chronic tension. On the other hand, when hugging the block with his bones, he felt “more stable, supported, and at ease,” and it also relieved the tension in his back. What I saw when he switched to bone hugging is his alignment between head and knees improved organically and his butt was no longer collapsing down to the floor.

Ready to embrace the Wise Way to Yoga?
Go check the Manifesto of the Wise Yogi on this page of my blog:
https://offthematyogablog.com/the-wise-way-to-yoga/

You can also sign up for my FREE EMAIL SEMINAR by clicking here: http://eepurl.com/bll8hL

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her B.I.A. Process to assist yogis in enhancing their practice bypassing the intellect. 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 Virtual 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. 

And her book, THE WISE WAY TO YOGA,  is to be published in May 2018! To be followed!

“THE WISE WAY TO YOGA” Sneak Peek # 3: Why & How Can Surrender Make You Stronger!

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“THE WISE WAY TO YOGA” Sneak Peak # 3!
taken from Part Three of my soon to be published book
for Yoga Teachers, Trainees, and Committed Practitioners!:)

Image may contain: drawingSweet Surrender in Child Pose is Only One Way to Surrender

             It is common to feel constantly pressed for time. You may be rushing to get somewhere or to get something done, focusing on an outcome in the future. Maybe you are on your way to your yoga class. All the while, you are not present to yourself in the now. You are letting habitual patterns of body and mind control you, and in these moments, you are acting as a slave to your habits. In this common scenario, actions create lingering body tension and no matter how much yoga you do, it is never enough to address the effect of your daily behavior when unattended. Besides, it is tension that you do not perceive because the habits and the tension register as normal to you. In fact, you bring it to yoga with you and it affects your practice in ways you may not be aware of.

When creating the space to attend to yourself, combined with learning how to activate the guidance of your whole body intelligence, not only can you discover and acknowledge these habits, you also have the opportunity and the means to unlearn them. Consequently, you can increasingly behave as your true self because you are increasingly more present to what is happening, while it is happening and guided by an infallible source. And, most importantly, you realize that you are always equipped to handle any of the body or mind challenges coming your way.


Surrendering can happen in Tree Pose or Any Pose!

             You have to be ready to do this work. It is always your choice. You are free to keep rushing and creating tension for yourself throughout your life. Or, you can choose to explore how to manage your body and life differently and do your best. It is about taking ownership and being responsible for your experiences. It is an ongoing journey, leading you to find more peace by accepting what is, rather than resisting it. And by trusting your body’s ability to function optimally instead of micro-managing its every movement. It is a journey toward an increased ability to fully embrace the yogic practice of surrender as an act of trust and courage.

Similarly, at the core of yogic yoga practice is the ability to stop functioning according to old hardened habits, and the ability to let them go. As you exercise introspection and discernment, you develop the ability to choose and develop habits that support the health of your body, mind, and soul.

Learning to activate the guidance of your whole-body intelligence is a great tool to reach your yogic goals. It allows you access to a part of yourself that knows better than human-imposed rules and regulations. It develops trust and brings about change, not from a mindset based on these old habits, but a mindset based on what is truly possible in the moment. Your mindset is the key to the flexibility and strength of your body.

Are you READY to work on your challenges NOW? If yes, simply send me a message to schedule a free online time and assess if my ONLINE INTERACTIVE COURSE is good for you and if you are a good fit for it. It can transform your life for the better not only as a yogi but also in your everyday life. Check the content of the course by clicking here:

https://offthematyoga.lpages.co/no-payment-options-for-90-day-body-intelligence-activation-copy/

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her B.I.A. Process to assist yogis in enhancing their practice bypassing the intellect. 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 Virtual 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 currently writing a book on her personal and professional experience. THE WISE WAY TO YOGA is to be published soon! To be followed!

“THE WISE WAY TO YOGA” Excerpt on Krishnamacharya, Muscle Power & Strength!

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Hope this blog finds you well!

Here is a first sneak peek at my soon to be published book called “THE WISE WAY TO YOGA” which I wrote for Yoga Teachers, Trainees, and Committed Practitioners!

The excerpt today is from Part One and relates to Krishnamacharya, Muscle Power & Strength!

“Krishnamacharya was an Indian yoga master, an ayurvedic healer, a musician, poet, and a renowned scholar with many degrees to his name. He was the father of the nineteenth-century revival of Hatha Yoga, seemingly connected to the new international interest in fitness of that time period. He had been learning yoga philosophy and yoga postures from his father and other teachers since he was a young boy, so he was highly qualified to foster the various dimensions of this complex discipline.

During the 1920s, Krishnamacharya held many demonstrations to stimulate popular interest in hatha yoga. Like the bodybuilders of the time, his focus for his public displays was on physical strength. Probably because that appealed to men from time immemorial and it was a way to trigger their initial interest. These demonstrations included suspending his pulse, stopping cars with his bare hands, performing difficult postures, and lifting heavy objects with his teeth. Viewers watched with admiration and were fascinated by his abilities.

Here again, what is worth observing is that his amazing strength had nothing to do with him being a huge man with bulky muscles, for he was not. It had to do with his mind power focusing on his body as a whole to deliver the needed energy. This is a lesson modern yogis need to consider if they have bought into the “muscle obsession” so common in our current society, whether for strengthening or stretching them. More on this throughout Part Four and Five.”

Hope you enjoy it and that the content triggers some introspection into your own practice!

Cecile Raynor

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her B.I.A. Process to assist yogis in enhancing their practice bypassing the intellect. 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 Virtual 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 currently writing a book on her personal and professional experience. THE WISE WAY TO YOGA is to be published soon! To be followed!

http://www.facebook.com/CecileRaynorAlexanderTechniqueThaiYoga
https://offthematyogablog.com/
www.alexandertec.com
www.studiocecile.com

617 359 7841(cell)

Yoga Stretches & Chest Openers with More Lasting Power!

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ATTENTION YOGA TEACHERS, COMMITTED YOGA PRACTITIONERS, BIG PICTURE THINKERS, AND SPIRITUAL SEEKERS!

Do you go to yoga to relieve excess tension in the moment or to decrease your tension level off the mat? Do you do chest openers just because they feel good or would you like your posture to improve off the mat as well?

How is this working for you so far?

If your practice keeps you tension-free and poised off the mat, you’re probably happy with it and kudos to you for having a practice.

If you want to seriously decrease your tension level and your slouching habit off the mat, read on!

I remember yoga teachers and practitioners I have worked with feeling they could not skip a class or else! They were addicted to their practice. And yet, they still dealt off the mat with the posture and tension issues that brought them to yoga in the first place. Does this sound familiar?

And I remember them feeling stuck in a predicament. They loved yoga and what it can potentially do for them yet if they were honest with themselves, they still carried excess tension off the mat and their habit to slouch did not disappear. Some of the teachers actually stopped teaching altogether for a short while, to gain perspective. They were listening to their inner voice!

They were also exploring options to figure out a more organic way to teach yoga when they found my Body Intelligence Activation Process (BIA Process™) and signed up for my online course. Here is how a couple of them reviewed it on my FB page:

“Cecile is the real deal. Working with her has transformed my Yoga Practice, a practice I can honestly say feels empowering, grounding and tension-free. It is positively impacting my posture and movement in my daily life too.” Mona Kelly-US

“Cecile is very skilled in what she does & an amazing teacher. I have had so many insights due to her three-month program. Great for yogi’s, dancers and anyone who wants to feel better in their skin. This is sooo needed in the yoga world! Thanks Cecile for your beautiful work!” Relinde Moors – Holland

This course is for you if…

• You are a committed practitioner and you want the very best out of your yoga practice in any yoga style you are attracted to without unknowingly damaging your body over time.
• You are a new or experienced yoga teacher and you want to be the best teacher you can without burning out in the process.
• You are either a committed yoga practitioner or a yoga teacher and you are ready to unlearn ways of using your body that do not serve your body whether you are on or off the mat

My course is designed for motivated people on a quest for truth who want to practice or teach yoga in an integrated way, to be respectful of their Human Design.

I keep the video classes in this online course fairly for participants to receive great feedback, so you must be a good fit to sign up!

If interested in my winter session, private message me for more information and to assess if you are a good fit.

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her B.I.A. Process to assist yogis in enhancing their practice bypassing the intellect. 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 Virtual 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 currently writing a book on her personal and professional experience. THE WISE WAY TO YOGA is to be published soon! To be followed!

How Do Your Joints And Muscles Relate For Optimal Flexibility?

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Everyone knows the value of flexibility, and stretching has become the # 1 way to gain flexibility. However, do you remain flexible when you stop stretching? Or do you go back to feeling the tension is back to square one?

There is another way to gain flexibility that is more sustainable. And it can be combined with your stretches or used by itself. It has to do with the relationship between your mind, joints, and muscles. It has to do with allowing your whole-body intelligence, once activated, handle your flexibility for you. In essence, it is about discovering an unexplored dimension of how your body functions called the postural mechanism.

It is designed to handle your best coordination, balance, and posture when not interfered with. How to activate this mechanism to improve your body synergy and the efficiency of every move you make is what it is all about. Would you not like to learn this precious skill?

TIP: Try releasing as much as you can while in a challenging pose instead of bracing yourself in it. See what happens! And if the release is not substantial, you are not yet releasing to your highest ability!

I would be happy to tell you more about this kinesthetic experience of lightness and efficiency, and even give you an experience of it when you attend my FREE Mini Class this weekend.

Interested? Sign up by clicking on the following link:
https://offthematyoga.lpages.co/free-live-interactive-webinar-04/

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her B.I.A. Process to assist yogis in enhancing their practice bypassing the intellect. 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 Virtual 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 currently writing a book on her personal and professional experience to be published this year.