Category Archives: Posture

Challenging Yourself with Yoga The Wise Way!

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Many yogis would tell you that they do not believe in the “No Pain-No Gain” paradigm. However, they believe in the milder and modern equivalent “No Strain-No Gain”.

What do I mean by that?

It is common for yoga teachers and practitioners to believe that a strenuous practice is a good thing, not realizing that strenuous and challenging are two different things.

1) A strenuous practice includes muscles and often joints strain. In a strenuous practice, you play with the stretch edge or the strength edge of various body parts. By flirting with strain, you are actually placing your body in stress mode. Excess tension is being created at the very same time you are working on helping your body. Reaching your maximum edge is not necessarily the best for every body part. Although it feels good in the moment, as time goes, yoga teachers and committed yoga practitioners develop pain or injury. Hence my saying “Strain is Delayed Pain”!

2) A challenging practice is a whole-body practice where the focus is on releasing muscles and joints instead of engaging them. As a result, your whole-body intelligence is back in the driver’s seat. It micro-manages your muscles and joints to perfection in every pose. And yes, you can release tension even when practicing a plank. And your Cobra or your Warrior One does not include neck or back compression. As a result, you are developing flexible strength instead of stiff strength. Your energy naturally flows through you in every pose.

This is the wise way to challenge yourself towards best performance with optimal safety. It is the wise way to a life-long yoga practice for both practitioners and teachers.

Interested in The Wise Way to Yoga? Check my blogs, read my June article in the Natural Awakenings Magazine, buy my book on Amazon, or come to one of my events if you can! Also, share this blog with the yogis in your life, they will thank you for it!

AMAZON BOOK LINK:
https://www.amazon.com/Wise-Way-Yoga-Intellig…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

ARTICLE ON THE WISE YOGI EMERGING MOVEMENT:
http://www.naturalawakeningsboston.com/…/The-Wise-Way-to-Y…/

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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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.

“The Wise Way to Yoga” Book Launch

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Do you want to maximize your practice without straining (regardless of your yoga style, body type or fitness level)? Are you ready for the Wise Way to Yoga Book I have been mentioning to you for a while?

Then Mark your Calendar: June 4, 2018, is the launch date. This groundbreaking book has been a long time coming but it is finally here. It is finally being launched next Monday!

So many yogis told me they were looking forward to this date. I am too and hope you are as well. If you want to buy the book for its content or/and to support me to reach its best possible Amazon ranking, please order it on the launch date if you can. The number of orders and the number of reviews for the book is what affects the ranking. Not that it is a big deal but it does help to spread the book and its content which can help more people practice Yoga the Wise Way.

Be part of this Movement of The Wise Yogi!

I am convinced that it will become the Yoga of the Future!

In case anyone wants to buy more than one copy of this groundbreaking book, I was told that Amazon counts an order as one, no matter how many books you order! (Bummer)

All you need to order is the title and my name: The Wise Way To Yoga by Cecile Raynor.
Will post a direct link when I get one.

Such an exciting time after such a long journey!

This book helps you figure out where you stand in your yoga practice and why you do what you do. And to support you if you are or want to be a Wise Yogi, I also decided to create a Movement with a Manifesto of the Wise Yogi to assist you and others find the words to express your yoga experience and your yogic goals. This way you can make choices about your practice with more clarity. To access this Manifesto, you can check:

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

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. 

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 Sneak Peek # 2: The Body Awareness Journey & Yoga!

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Excerpt from my book soon to be published,
Part Two on How is Your Body Image and Body Awareness Relationship Affecting Your Yoga Practice?

“We are in a mind-driven culture. So, our mind tells our body not only what to do but how to function as if it knew better than our whole-body intelligence. Hence, the increasing need for us to develop our body awareness towards a more unified and balanced functioning of our body and mind.

This journey leads us to realize, beyond our intellect, that our body is not separate from our mind even though we often unknowingly act as if it was. The reality is that the way we think and behave affects our body functioning and how we use our body affects what we think and how we behave, whether we are aware of it or not.

I am still working on this myself, as it is an ongoing process. I have enough experience with it to understand and write about it, yet I have my own journey to keep attending to. And, I have come to realize that it is not from increasing my practice of yoga postures or meditation alone that I can go deeper into the amazing, peaceful experience of being. It is by working on deep self-acceptance, embracing all of who I am, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the pleasurable and the painful. Otherwise, it is so easy to function, even on the yoga mat, from a place of “I am not good enough” which fosters our overdoing energy.

Fully connecting your mind and body is a major achievement on your human journey. It creates more balance and peace in your life. The different stages of awareness are all connected in a personal and complex web. They each prepare you for your next step in the discovery process of your body awareness journey. It is a beautiful journey, with ups and downs, tears, laughter, and moments of blissful awareness and deep understanding of who you truly are. These moments keep you motivated to continue.

And that is true yoga, this union or alignment of who you think you are with who you truly are, alignment of the individual and the universal, the separate and the pervading oneness of all things.”

I have a few more Sneak Peek in store for you before my book is launched. Stay tuned!

Also, coming up is one of my last couple FREE virtual class on the Drishti-Balance-Posture Connection which can help reduce or eliminate your lingering neck tension. If you are READY to work on this NOW. Join other yoga teachers and committed yoga practitioners from around the world by clicking this 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. THE WISE WAY TO YOGA is to be published soon! To be followed!