Category Archives: Posture

The Secret To Sustainable Good Posture!

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Postural challenges are increasing as we have become a society of people living from our heads more often than not.

Think of it, even when you do yoga, you tend to let your educated mind decide what your body ought to do and how to move. In fact, you trust your yoga teacher more than your own whole-body intelligence.

So you micro-manage your body parts in an effort to reach what you THINK is the perfect pose expression. You micro-manage your shoulders and back to reach what you THINK is your best posture. But is it? Who knows whether it is or not?

Your teacher knows the way the pose is meant to look like, but does she know your body? Can she guess how your body is feeling as you are doing your pose? Only your whole body intelligence can.

There is a mechanism within you that is designed to handle your best balance, coordination, and posture. When you micro-manage your body, you prevent this mechanism to do its job. That is why pulling your shoulders back does not last and you find yourself slouching within minutes if not seconds.

Learning about that mechanism and how to activate it is the secret to clearing posture issues and to gain increased freedom from the consequences of poor posture: namely, neck, shoulders and back tension.

If you are interested in learning more, please join me and others for my FREE WEBINAR this weekend to give you an experience of this mechanism. For more info, click 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.

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Why Is Muscle Engaging Not What It Is Cracked Up To Be When Practicing Yoga?

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Do you engage your muscles in an effort to control your skeleton when you do a mountain pose or a tree pose? If your answer is yes, what do you think the benefit of engaging your muscles in that way is? Do you think you are more stable? Or that you build up more strength? Is it even true? If you need that much engaging for a simple pose, how much do you use for a more challenging one? In the end, are you sure this common way of practicing yoga offers you optimal safety and best performance?

Have you ever tried to let your whole-body intelligence be more in charge so you no longer need to control your body parts that way? Or are you addicted to that tense feeling without which you believe you are not doing enough? Is that even true? What if you could stretch and strengthen without it?

There is a more holistic way to approach yoga practice, whether you are into gentle yoga or power yoga. It has to do with learning to practice in a way that is in line with your human design. It has to do with letting your whole-body intelligence be in the driver seat while your educated mind stays on the passenger seat by activating your postural mechanism. This is an unexplored dimension in the world of yoga and fitness and yet, it is a groundbreaking tool to promote optimal safety and best performance on and off the mat!

Practicing that way leads to optimal safety and highest performance with any style of yoga you enjoy. It has to do with activating your whole-body intelligence so you can follow its clear guidance anywhere, anytime.

Want to learn more? Come and join others to experience this for yourself on my Webinar this Sunday, November 5, 2017

Click on the link below to sign up!:)

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.

Easy Yoga Practice versus A Practice Handled with Ease!

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WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Beginners or people who have physical limitations need to start with an easy practice to avoid injury while still benefitting from a yoga practice. And that is common sense.

However, as a non-beginner or someone with no particular limitations, do you feel that the more you strengthen or stretch your body, the more beneficial your practice is? And if so, is it really true? How much stretching and strengthening do you actually need to live your daily life?

Have you ever considered that the best way to practice any style of yoga may be when every pose you do is good for every part of your body at all times?  Would that feel like the yogis in the drawing below? Probably not!:)

How would that feel like then?

You may have been instructed in a way that makes the suggestions below challenging. Yet, can you go beyond what you have been told to find out what agrees with your whole-body intelligence? Don’t even take my word for it. Play with these suggestions and see what develops! You may discover what it feels like to handle a challenging practice with ease, even in plank pose, chair pose or a vinyasa flow!

If you were to practice in a way that is good for every part of you, in every pose, maybe you would not compress the back of your neck so you could open your chest to a max? Maybe you would not overstretch your back just to touch your toes? Or maybe, you would not put yourself off balance just to challenge your quads in chair pose because you would know that keeping your weight evenly distributed on your feet is a way to cooperate with your whole-body intelligence?

What if you could still feel good and challenge yourself without such habits?

If you resonate with this way of thinking and you want to learn how to challenge yourself without flirting with injury promoting moves just because it feels good in the moment, you may enjoy attending my webinar on Sunday, October 29, 2017.

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 

The Yoga Of Vulnerability!

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What is your relationship with feeling vulnerable? Does it make you go into freeze or fight mode? Or do you overcome the feeling most of the time? Do you have memories of childhood that come back to the surface in some situations even though the danger is no longer there? Would you like to learn the yoga of vulnerability so you can be more who you truly are so vulnerability has less of an interfering impact on you? This is what I have been working on with live videos although using my BIA Process to get me through it! I am feeling the fear and doing it anyway and am not there yet when it comes to Live FB videos!:)

This topic around vulnerability came to me since yesterday because of a 21-day challenge I chose to commit to. I had decided last new year’s eve that this year was supposed to be my year to become visually visible. I have become very visible with my writing over the last few years, partly my blog with 25 000 views to date and my weekly FB posts which are viewed by 3000 to 7000 people. And there is my incoming book which I still hope will get published this year if everything goes according to plan. But since my decision for 2017, I had only made baby steps to be more visually visible.

Yes, I do like to challenge myself and I also know I have cutting edge knowledge and experience that I am meant to share to an increasingly wide audience if I am want to bring about the impact my work could have. Only FB Live video were a bit too much I thought and I kept postponing telling myself my book came first.

Day One: https://www.facebook.com/cecile.raynor/videos/10209922694120100/

Now that I am in the final stage of it, I no longer have a choice if I want to be accountable to myself and I just jumped on this opportunity to join others in embracing this challenge even though I knew I would feel quite vulnerable at first. So far, I am two days into it. And although I am pretty confident in general and have been on TV and radio before feeling at ease, as my gut told me, going live did trigger some feeling of vulnerability even though I know intellectually that there is nothing to fear.

Have you done jumps of the sort? How did it work for you? 

Like most people, you probably don’t enjoy the feeling of vulnerability and for a good reason, it was designed as a warning sign to alert you that something is not safe in your environment so you become extra careful. Your stress mode gets turned on and everything shuts down to be in protective mode. Depending on your personality, you may feel like getting ready to fight or flee or you tend to freeze or try to appease the source of trouble when possible.

All this is perfectly normal and appropriate.


Day Two: https://www.facebook.com/CecileRaynorAlexanderTechniqueThaiYoga/videos/1428922337187848/

However, like most of us, you may have integrated this way of feeling not only when you are truly in danger but also when you perceive you are in danger even when you are not. Your body can’t tell the difference. It follows your mind perception. You are not alone if you avoid situations that make you feel vulnerable. Even when you know on some levels that you are not in a life and death situation, it just feels like it and that’s enough to recoil.

The truth is that most often than not, you are perfectly safe and you miss out on life for not choosing to feel the fear and do it anyway. Now, am not suggesting you ignore the feeling exactly. You can acknowledge it and have a talk with the part of you that feels that way. Yet you can also realize that not all of you feels that way and that you can follow the part of you that wants to be free from fear. That is the part you can choose to follow to reach more freedom from imagined fears.

So here it is in a nutshell why I had to take on this challenge. I have felt fear and did it anyway in other situations and it always turned out ok so am taking this to the next level for my benefit and the benefit of my tribe who gets to see me live and ask questions instead of only seeing a picture of me near my writing.

Besides, it is my true purpose to inspire and guide people to dance the joy of wholeness and that happens increasingly when we are freer from unfounded fears.

If you want to learn the process I use to make me do things I did not think I could do both on or off the mat, go to my blog site for my  Free Email Seminar  or other paid programs including private sessions locally or online:  https://offthematyogablog.com/

And if you are a yoga teacher, trainee or committed yoga practitioner, send me a message to see if you qualify for a free session with me.

Also, if you want to see me growing through this 21-day challenge and get inspired, go to my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/CecileRaynorAlexanderTechniqueThaiYoga/

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 with Bliss-life Press, San Diego California.

 

Is Shavasana Always Good For You?

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This is another option or a pre-shavasana to nurture your back best!

Even Iyengar said: Science progresses, Art progresses so must Yoga. He changed postures as taught to him by his teacher Krishnamacharya and he suspected his teachers would also help yoga evolve. My work is a tool to do just that!

All yoga practitioners have heard of Shavasana which comes at the end of their yoga practice. Those who do yoga because it is good for them even though they don’t like to move much love it for obvious reasons. Those who love more active yoga welcome it at the end of their practice for equally obvious reasons.

However, is it good for everyone? And is it necessary? Is there another way to get what people get from Shavasana?

How do you feel about it?

If you have any issues with your lower back, you may have not welcomed this last pose as much as others because laying down flat on your back legs and all may tend to trigger your lower back into discomfort.

If you have a tendency to hyperextend your knees, they tend to drop to the ground when in Shavasana reinforcing your habit which is not so good for your whole body. You may notice that your hyperextended knees can create a feeling that you are locked in your pelvis as a result. This depends on your body shape and size as well.

If Shavasana works for you, by any means go for it. If you have back issues, you may try to bend a knee one at a time like in a tree pose while on your back instead, no need to bring your foot way up hi on your other leg though. It is easier to do than adding a boulder under your knees when you are by yourself or your teacher is not attending to your need.

If you want to play it safe, don’t worry about what others may think. Do what works for you. And I recommend you start by lying in a semi-supine pose and then move into Shavasana if you choose to do so. Notice that when up on your feet, you always have some flex in your leg joints, you are not flat like in Shavasana. SO although Shavasana still feels great for many, it is not nurturing your postural balance as semi-supine does.

If you choose the semi-supine option even as a transition, you may need to add a folded towel under your head (not under your neck) to make sure that your head neck and torso are aligned and your head is not dropping back and compressing the back of your neck. You may also want to bring your knees to your chest for a second or two then drop them one foot at a time down onto the ground. Lastly, find a balance place for your legs so they are neither falling in or out.

There is way more to this practice to get the most out of it than how to lay down but just doing so daily even at home will bring great benefits to your postural balance, and back, muscle and joint health. And it can be a great way to end your yoga practice with as it restores your best posture automatically.

If you want to know more about this semi-supine way of practicing that is also called “Active Rest” or “Constructive Rest” in Alexander Technique language, reach out to me and you can receive a free gift focusing on this amazing practice.

https://offthematyogablog.com/

TIGHT BACK? THE SECRET TO BACK LENGTHENING!

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Back and neck tension are totally connected!
Help your spine by releasing your hip joint socket and notice your neck releasing in the process as well!

Learn to allow your body to do its job instead of trying to muscularly control it!

When your back is tight, do you go into forward bends as a way to free your lower back from excess tension? Do you do them in the hope to lengthen your spine? And how are you doing with this? Does your back remains lengthened as a result or does it simply feel awfully good in the moment to stretch that tension but you need to keep stretching that same tension over and over?

The secret to back length is two-fold.

First, you need to focus on the lengthening of your whole torso, not just the back or part of the back. Of course, when you do so, your low back or other part of your back will lengthen on their own if need be.

Second, you can’t truly lengthen your torso or back without releasing your hip joint sockets. In fact, only your whole-body intelligence can truly lengthen your torso/back as a result of your letting go of hip joints tension.

Now, don’t you go do hip openers to free your hip joint sockets. That is not the same as using your mind to simply let go of the tension. Your whole-body intelligence responds more efficiently to thought that allow its functioning than to orders that muscularly forces its functioning.


Back and neck tension are totally connected!
Help your spine by releasing your hip joint socket and notice your neck releasing in the process as well!

Letting go is an intention, a decision that your body can carry out for you instantaneously when you know how to step out of your own way. By doing so, your whole-body intelligence can finally take action from the driver seat where it belongs.

If you want to learn how to activate your whole body intelligence, check my blog site offerings free or paid. If you are a yoga teacher, trainee or committed yoga practitioner, private message me to see if you qualify for a complimentary session with Cecile! https://offthematyogablog.com/

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her B.I.A. Process to assist yogis enhance 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 with Bliss-life Press, San Diego California.

To Tuck or Not To Tuck? Why Is This Even A Question?

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This is one of the most common instructions recommended to fix neck and back tension. “Tuck the chin so you can lengthen the back of your neck”. “Tuck your pelvis so you can lengthen your lower back”. ” Tilt is another word for it. “Tilt your head back to open your chest” etc…

Are you familiar with these tucking instructions? Do you find them helpful for every part of your body or just to give you a sense you are giving it your very best?

These instructions may not be as helpful as they may seem or as they may feel in the moment! Why? Because when you rely on this approach, you are going for band-aid solutions prescribed by your educated mind trying to make things better without having the big picture.

The consequence of this approach is that whether you tuck your chin down and your pelvis under, or you suck your belly in and you spread your feet flat on the ground, you are interfering with the natural functioning of your whole-body intelligence blocking your energy with every adjustment you make.

So when your teacher concludes the instructions by saying, “then make sure you are breathing and remain relaxed”, it is not really possible to have a full breath and flexible muscles with all that muscular engaging and holding in a specific posture. So you may release 10% of your perceived tension which makes you think you are relaxed when in reality, you only took the edge of tension away.

Tucking is not serving you as you may think. It only promotes the feeling each body part is separate from the rest of your body when in fact the muscular tension in your tucked pelvis is somewhat spreading through your body from head to toes.

And tucking your pelvis back is part of arching your back and lifting your chest. Tucking your pelvis in is part of rounding your back and shoulders.

Learning to activate your postural mechanism allows you to practice yoga in a way that makes all your body parts work together harmoniously, along with your mind and body cooperating instead of at odds with each other from a lack of deep communication.

Yoga is not about “Separateness” but about “Union”.

Want to learn more about the Body Intelligence Activation Process to promote optimal safety and highest performance on and off the mat? Sign up to my free email seminar, free webinars or online programs. If you are interested in my BIA Process Online Live Program for yoga teachers, trainees and committed Practitioners, send me a message through my contact info to set up a free consultation!:)

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her B.I.A. Process to assist yogis enhance 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 with Bliss-life Press, San Diego California.