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If you do not listen to the whispers of your body, it will yell out loud”
Leonardo Da Vinci

Yet, this common scenario is often reversible and preventable!

WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT that exercising or practicing yoga is THE SOLUTION to feeling better.

TRUE YOGA in its full spectrum is a good way to develop some level of body awareness, increased mindfulness, and wellbeing.

MODERN HATHA YOGA & STANDARD EXERCISES as currently taught, are at best A SOLUTION to minimize the discomfort of chronic tension and the limitations of chronic pain.

Nope. Not usually anyway!



If you have a leak in the ceiling of your dining room,
do you plaster the ceiling area where the leak is showing up?
Or do you find out what is going on above the ceiling, most likely in the roof so you can fix the problem once and for all? Sure you would if you could! Right?

STRETCHING OR STRENGTHENING YOUR MUSCLES to address chronic tension or pain is like plastering a leaky ceiling. It can help as long as you do it up to a certain point……

When you feel good in your body, you can jump for joy on a beach!
It is your birthright to do so, whatever that looks like for you!

ALL IS GOOD AND WELL WHEN THERE ARE NO SIGNS that you may be misusing your body one way or the other.

ONCE YOUR BODY STARTS COMPLAINING even though you are a healthy individual it is likely complaining about the way it is handled in daily life. And if you have health challenges, the way you handle your body in daily life can decrease or enhance your tension or pain.

THE ONLINE EVENT BELOW CAN GIVE YOU INSIGHTS AND KINESTHETIC EXPERIENCES to reach these insights. You start to understand MOVEMENT & POSTURE in a way that can change how you approach exercise, meditation, and any daily activity from sitting at a computer to playing an instrument.

PLEASE, JOIN ME and other people globally and let’s explore these things together!

By clicking on the link to access the event page, you will learn more about the event agenda and about why I am so passionate to help you get to your next level of embodiment, starting wherever you are, because I have been there!:)

JOIN US by clicking this link: Freedom From Chronic Tension & Pain

See you in cyberspace soon!:)

Cécile Raynor has been teaching for 30 years, published the Wise Way to Yoga as well as numerous articles, and she was featured several times both on TV and on an “Expanded Awareness” radio show. Her blog has been read by thousands of people in over 100 different countries.
Her work is based on the Alexander Technique, the best-kept secret of Olympic athletes and famous performers. They swear by it because it allows them to perform at their best with optimal safety. Although it is now commonly used by everyone. She also created the Body Intelligence Activation Process™, a mind, body, heart and spirit work that affects her students in all aspects of their life as they experience increased wellbeing.

Cécile has been helping people with poor posture, chronic muscular tension and pain, joints issues and headaches reclaim their ease of movement, their natural good posture, and the joy and peace of mind brought by well-being. She has also been a mentor for many students interested in embodied and integrated personal growth.



Discover the 3 foundational pathways to developing the natural good posture
and ease of movement leading you to a pain-free body!

It’s easy to get used to pain and forget that living pain-free is possible when you are under the influence of unconscious habits, constantly interfering with the natural way to be in your body.

Most chronic tension or pain is due to or enhanced by how we use our body consciously or not, first in daily life and then while we are exercising. And that is itself influenced by the way we have been taught about posture and movement through the modern fitness model.

Three Pathways to where you want to be

That is why, when you redefine what your mind and body have come to associate with the word “fitness”, you open up to developing “flexible strength” (instead of stiff strength) and you decrease and often eliminate the risk of injury.

That is why, when you shift the way you approach movement in your daily life, instead of relying o exercise alone, you can regain ease of movement in a more sustainable way than being stuck in the common vicious cycle: creating unnecessary tension in daily life, stretching that tension, then recreate it over and over as soon as you stretch it.

That is also why, when you expand your notion of proper alignment to include your body as a whole, you can reclaim natural good posture effortlessly – like in children!

These are the 3 pathways I will address in my September LIVE Global Online EVENT which includes Q & A!

If these topics speak to you and you want to learn more and experience a bit of that possible freedom from chronic tension or pain, then click the following link to register: Save my Spot!

Imagine yourself feeling unstoppable because you can do anything you want again. You feel rested after a good night’s sleep, energetic as you go through the day, excited that your muscles and joints no longer call for your attention. 

Imagine yourself trusting your whole-body intelligence to work for you anywhere, anytime. 

The smile on your face says it all! This is the joy of living life in harmony with the wisdom of your body which allows healing space naturally.

Jumping for Joy with Vitality and Enthusiasm for Life

If this is what you want and you have not yet worked with me, this foundational 75 minutes event is just the thing for you. So, if you have not registered yet, here is the link to do so now:

Save my Spot to the 3 Pathways to Freedom from Chronic Tension or Pain!

I am so excited to meet everyone who attends and be of service to you so you can live with increased mind and body wellbeing!

Cécile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for about 30 years out of which came her Body Intelligence Activation Process™ (B.I.A. Process) to assist anyone use their body and mind the wise way to prevent or clear, chronic tension or pain, of body or mind.She also works with yogis interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat in a way not taught in regular training courses. A Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and a Reiki Practitioner, Cécile is a faculty at the Akasha Yoga Teacher Training Course and the author of THE WISE WAY TO YOGA which is available on Amazon or from Cecile if you are local to Boston!

STRAIGHT SPINE versus POISE: A Crucial Difference!


Whether you meditate or you practice yoga asanas, many teachers often recommend you to have a straight spine. Do you ever differentiate your back from your spine? Or your energetic spine from your physical spine? Do you see the difference between a straight spine and poise or upright posture?

These distinctions are crucial if you want to enjoy natural good posture.

KW 03 Poised Child Drinking

Children are naturally upright and never sit holding themselves upright or arching their back!

1) Straight Spine Focus
Although your spine is not straight and has natural curves, the shape of your spine changes somewhat with your movements. Your back may look straight, especially with poised sitting, but your spine always has some form of curving in it.

When you attempt “to straighten the spine” you are actually forcing a curve to straighten upward creating body stiffness and tiredness. This is why attempting  the common idea of “good posture” that way is not sustainable and time and time again you find yourself right back where you started, in a slouch.

2) Curved Back Focus
You may be aware of this dilemma, and may tend to go in the opposite direction. This tend to promote the opposite misconception namely that it is a natural thing to have an arched mid-back at all times. Unfortunately, that is not serving you because, again, you are letting your mind telling your body what to do as if it knew better and you end up creating back curves when they may ot be natural to your specific body.

3) Energetic Spine versus Physical Spine

I think there is a confusion between the physical spine (curved) and the energetic spine or Sushumna which can be thought of as straight when the focus is to direct energy up the spine!

Ancient yogis have told us that the spine could be thought of as a staff or a rod without making a distinction between your energetic spine they call the sushumna and your physical spine. However, we have the means to rectify this by letting our innate whole-body intelligence be in the driver seat.

How can you do this?

4) Curved Spine & Straight Back can Happen together
Learn to activate your whole-body intelligence via your postural mechanism designed to handle your best posture, coordination and balance. It gets you out of the way as you let it decide what is right for you in each moment. Your whole-body intelligence knows better than your mind or your teacher’s mind! It is your inner teacher and it can guide you beyond what feels “right” or “wrong” to you. Beyond what feels “comfortable” or not.

Your individual body synergy cannot be changed one body part at a time and stay the way you want it to stay as many of you have surely experienced in the past!

For sustainable results, you need to address changes as the self-coordinated system that you are and move as an integrated whole for optimal efficiency and wellbeing.

When not aligned above support and relaxed, gravity promotes slouching.
When aligned above support and relaxed
, gravity promotes effortless good posture.
Do you want to learn more about this mind/body approach to natural good posture? 
Or learn how to reclaim efficient moving and freedom from chronic tension or pain?
Private message me your contact info to be informed of my latest free webinars or other special offers. In the meantime, come to my next free Webinar:

” Discover 3 Ways to Freedom from Chronic Pain” – September 9, 2021



Our society has come to confuse appearances with reality in a way that took HEALTH out of the FITNESS EQUATION for many individuals.

We’ve all heard of people who had a heart attack as they were overexercising. Emergency rooms have seen yoga teachers who need a knee or hip replacement and massage therapists witness athletes of all kinds suffering from chronic excess tension or sore muscles.

LOOKING FIT often refers to a person that exercises a lot, tends to be slender, with defined muscles, a tanned skin, and preferably young looking. Any or all these features combined are seen as not only attractive but a sign of BEING FIT.

A man in tune with the beauty of nature after a whole-body activity,
one of the best ways to nurture health and strength of body and mind

WE HAVE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE that our muscles size and strength are what makes us fit and healthy – so, the world is in a frenzy when it comes to exercises and food that help us grow muscle power.


Is there even any truth to this modern fitness belief?
Do you know people who look fit yet have some health challenges?
Do you know people who are fit and healthy although they don’t look fit according to the widespread stereotype?


I am a proof of this. I am super healthy and strong.
I always have been, but I never was slender – simply not in my genes!

Although fitness is important for health, it seems that many people suffer from confusion around what fitness is or is not. Appearances and popular knowledge can be quite deceiving.

THE TRUTH IS THAT awareness of “Integrated Functioning” is missing from modern fitness even when it still brings about some benefits, which accounts for this mass confusion.People can get benefits and still hurt themselves at the same time over time.

Your body strength does not come from the size or definition of your muscles but from how they work in an integrated way with the rest of your body.

YOUR TRUE STRENGTH IS A MIND/BODY OUTCOME which comes from the balanced partnership between your skeletal structure, your joints and your muscles working in an integrated way – none of them stealing the show, all of them working harmoniously together!

IT IS YOURS FOR THE TAKING OR NOT depending on your mindset about movement and posture.


  • Do you believe that more is better?
  • Do you feel you are not doing enough when you do not feel isolate muscles exert themselves?
  • Do you tend to feel muscle tension nagging you in your daily life?
  • Are you addicted to stretching?
  • Do you feel addicted to exercising or yoga practice?

If you said yes to either of these statements or all of them, you may need to question your relationship with your body. You may realize that you feel better when you work with your body intelligence rather than trying to whip your body into shape.

That is what happens when people who exercise or practice yoga do not know how to activate their whole-body intelligence, they strain in their effort to do what they think is right

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you should quit challenging yourself. I love challenging myself and Olympic athletes use this work and swear by it.

After my 30 years experience as an Alexander Technique teacher, I can tell you that there is a way to challenging yourself as a whole body working as an integrated whole. And it is the answer to release and prevent chronic tension or pain while thriving in all your activities.

It is the way to feel empowered when handling your body and your life.

If you want to learn more about this holistic approach to fitness


Join this blog or private message me your email
to be informed of my incoming FREE WEBINAR on the topic below.

3 Ways to Release Chronic Tension or Pain:
A Journey toward Natural Good Posture,
Ease of Movement, & Lightness of Being

Till then, be well!



Are all the expressions of Warrior 2 above Integrated Poses?

Clearly, you have received helpful tips to date. Yet, can you think of examples where you were guided to apply tips and beliefs to your practice which did not make it easier? Although suspicious, you did what they recommended. Only to find that your knees or back remained tense in your daily life. Or maybe, as I heard new teachers say, they developed sciatica from training and teaching.

As a yoga teacher or fitness trainer, when you give tips to students, it can be very helpful, or it can create trouble. Why?

  1. They do not necessarily apply what they were told, the way it was meant (mainly due to their personal habits).
  2. Or, it helps them with one aspect of their challenge, but it doesn’t change their overall approach to movement. As a result, they are still creating trouble for themselves in other ways. And still looking for tips to solve these challenges.
By attempting to not let the knees go past her toes, she is sticking her behind way back and arching her back in a way that is not in line with her whole-body intelligence

Teachers have a whole repertoire of tips & beliefs meant to help with yoga poses and fitness trainers do too. And they are always looking for more. Some are helpful, and some are actually dangerous. Here are a couple examples:

  1. Do not let your knees go past your toes. In some poses, it is sound advice to save your knees while in other poses it actually kills your knee joints.
  2. Lengthen your back. When you hear it as “allow your back to lengthen”, it is fine. When you arch your back, thinking you are lengthening it, you are actually stressing your spine and your whole body. And since you do it out of habit, you may not even be aware you are doing it.

So, tips and beliefs around movements can create more trouble than they are worth even though they come from well-meaning teachers who heard it from their own well-meaning teachers.

Child Pose in a Classroom

The truth is that, although fitness is meant to help you be fit, it has evolved into a mixed bag. It helps you in some ways. You see some good results, so you stick with it. Yet, you can also damage your body in the process if you do not have a bigger picture. If you do not have an approach to use your body as the integrated whole that it is. And most of the time, you do not realize this. You do not necessarily connect the dots when an injury happens, especially if it is off the mat.

Listening to your body is definitely a first good step to prevent hurting yourself. However, until you know if you are catering to the preferences of your body habits or listening to the guidance of your whole-body intelligence, you may be reinforcing daily habits that are not serving you. To avoid doing this, it is helpful to discover how to activate your Whole-Body Intelligence. It is your inner teacher and it is always 100% correct. Only there is a difference between listening to your body and listening to your Whole-Body Intelligence Guidance once activated.

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

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

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



In May, I launched The Wise Yoga Tribe through a FB group by the same name. If you are interested in discovering the different aspects of Wise Yoga and up-leveling your practice, please join the group by clicking the following link: Wise Yoga Tribe with Cécile. Make sure to answer the 3 membership questions to help me help you as I know who you are and what you are looking for.

What is it and who is it for exactly?

Beyond “Power Yoga” & “Gentle Yoga, there is a new approach which I call “Wise Yoga”! It can be applied to any style of yoga to relieve and prevent chronic tension, pain, or injury as well as deepen a practice.

This community exists for yoga lovers of all levels, and especially those with concerns and questions for themselves or others, as to chronic tension or pain not being resolved by the practice of yoga.

Would you like to explore or be part of the discussion on how to practice and teach yoga the wise way? Would you be interested in exploring the wise way to yoga as directed by your whole-body intelligence once activated?

If so, I invite you to join this purpose-driven community to practice more efficiently as a practitioner, to deeply impact more students as a teacher, and, in the process, to contribute as a tribe to the wise evolution of modern yoga. Ready to Join Wise Yoga Tribe

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

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

Natural Good Posture & Osteoporosis


Recently, I read “Practicing good posture can reduce the risk of fracture”.

However, many people have an incomplete idea about what “Good Posture” really means.

The facts are:

  • It is not something you really practice.
  • It is not something you have to think about or position yourself into.
  • And it is not something you can stabilize with regular muscle strengthening exercises alone.

So, what is Natural Good Posture?
And how can it help prevent, delay, or reduce the side-effects of Osteoporosis?

Natural good posture is an expression of a body functioning as the integrated whole that it is designed to be – as we can observe in healthy children and tribal people. They do not need to think about good posture, they just embody it most of the time. And if they slouch during a specific activity, they spring right back into natural good posture when they stand up and start moving – partly because they usually do not sit in the same way for hours on end.

Natural Good Posture in Children

The beauty of “Natural Good Posture” is that:
* You do not need to think about it to be upright
* You do not need to use your muscles to position your skeletal structure just so
* It strengthens both your bones and your postural muscles organically

Like most adults, you may have integrated a habit to slouch into your daily movements. As a result, you believe that to reclaim it when you think about it, you must position your shoulders and chest a certain way. The thing is, how long does it stay in place? The minute you forget about it, your posture probably collapses right back down within minutes if not seconds. Does this sound familiar?

The truth is that most people are so self-conscious about their posture, they spend loads of money on posture-related gadgets. Unfortunately, even the best of the gadgets – those who help people become aware when they are slouching – won’t deliver results without undesirable side-effects when they actually deliver results. Why?

The nudge from the posture gadget triggers a “straightening up” reaction that is not helpful to strengthen your postural muscles at all. What it does is build up excess tension in your back movement muscles which are not designed to support your skeletal structure. This is why they get tired very quickly.

So, to come back to people who are concerned about osteoporosis, developing natural good posture is the best remedy to prevent or reduce the effects associated with this challenge. When enjoying natural good posture, the postural muscles work in cooperation with the skeletal structure and the body function as the integrated whole that it is designed to be. Posture supporting muscles along the spine and the bones of your skeletal structure strengthen organically from carrying your own weight in harmony with gravity.

As commonly acknowledged, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. To that effect, you may want to assess where you stand when it comes to “Integrated Functioning”. I actually created a Free Self-Evaluation to do just that in the privacy of your own home. Don’t hesitate to ask for it.

If you prefer me to help you assess in a more personal way, schedule an appointment by clicking the following link: Free Consult with Cécile

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

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



I read a post from a yoga teacher who was listing all the ways in which yoga teachers can unknowingly hurt their students. And she was wondering what happened to the principle of Ahimsa, a deliberate choice to avoid creating pain (to ourselves or others).

Of course, no yoga teacher chooses 
to hurt themselves or their students on purpose.

Yoga helps lots of people with their aches and pain.
How can people get hurt practicing yoga, even when they are being mindful?
How can mindful teachers promote injuries in students?

Maybe we may start by wondering about why are EXCESS TENSION and POOR POSTURE in daily life such common problems? Even with yoga practitioners and teachers!

The fact is that you can only be mindful of what you are aware of. And how people unknowingly misuse their hinges on and off the mat is not commonly in their range of awareness.

One of the reasons for this is a LACK OF CLARITY as to how to use joints appropriately on and off the mat.

UNKNOWINGLY CREATING FAKE JOINTS causes much tension build-up in your muscles and a common habit to lock your real joints both on and off the mat.

And these habits become a vicious cycle!

When you use your NECK AS A HINGE to initiate a head motion, you unknowingly create tension in your neck because your neck is not a joint.

When you use your BACK AS A HINGE to move your torso, you unknowingly create tension in your back because your back is not the joint to move your torso from.

you may not always be doing 
what you think you are doing!

As a result, you go from unknowingly stressing your muscles and joints to stretching them – till you run the risk of killing their natural tone.

Your “fake joints” (usually muscles) eventually complain that you’re giving them a job that’s not theirs to do. All the while, you wonder why your neck or back hold such a level of tension when you work so hard at stretching your tension?

That’s one vicious cycle that keeps your body uptight in daily life, even when you’re not even stressed out! Being stressed out will naturally enhance this tension cycle.

being used appropriately and without excess tension. This promotes you functioning as the integrated whole that you are whatever you are doing. 

FOR NOW, START TO OBSERVE YOURSELF. Next time you go about stretching a muscle, check if your overall body is in a state of expansion, contraction, or compression?

How can you lengthen muscles when your body is in a shortened state?

How can your energy flow through you if your joints are locked while in a pose?

Do you want to change how you use your body and practice yoga more efficiently?
Do you want to promote inner expansion so your muscles and joints can truly release?
Do you want to experience natural good posture (even when you are not thinking about it). 

I am happy to assist you in any way I can. It is my life purpose to inspire and guide you to DANCE THE JOY OF WHOLENESS.

Besides, there is nothing like a fresh perspective to UP-LEVEL YOUR PRACTICE.

You’ve got nothing to lose 
in exploring this approach 
but habits that no longer serve you!

If you are ready to be free of chronic tension or pain lingering despite your yoga practice, or you want to take constructive action to prevent this common challenge, schedule a Free Consult with me and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


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

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



Is your main concern to feel good when you are on the mat?
(Whatever that means for you personally).

Do you believe that if your practice feels good on the mat, it promotes your well-being off the mat? How sure are you that this is always the truth? Or that it is the WHOLE TRUTH?

Poised Pigeon

Have you ever thought that maybe, going far in a pose just because you’re able to, could potentially promote injury? Or do you think that the more the better whether you are strengthening or stretching (as long as it feels good in the moment)?

For instance, when you extend your head as far back as you can in COBRA or PIGEON, do you realize that you are actually compressing the back of your neck, and possibly your midback?

I know it is a common way to do this pose, some teachers do it this way as well and it is considered Instagram worthy. Yet IS THIS REALLY SERVING YOUR BODY AS A WHOLE?

And where does all that compressed tension go? Are you bringing it back home?

Could it be why daily tension seems to linger endlessly despite your committed practice?

Do you find yourself caught in this ADDICTIVE CYCLE that produces both benefits and drawbacks? And you are left not knowing how to get out of it without letting go of your yoga practice (which you naturally do not want to do)?

If that resonates with your experience, 
I want you to know that THIS IS NOT REALLY YOUR FAULT. 
And it can be confusing because a safe practice does feel good as well!:)

You’ve been taught to handle your body this way by your teachers themselves taught by their teachers since the 19th century. Only, the Hatha yoga revival of that time period came with challenges that are not yet really resolved.

The truth is, it is time to face and solve these challenges if you truly want to experience well-being off the mat. It is the job of every teacher and every practitioner to stand up for a safer approach to yoga regardless of body shape, fitness level or yoga style. 

Yoga feeling-good sensations can be part of the picture, but not the whole picture if you want to safely enjoy yoga for a lifetime. They are a very SUBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT of how you are doing with your practice.

When you understand that your MIND AND SKELETAL STRUCTURE have more to do with your STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY than your muscles, you can challenge yourself and also increasingly reach the best expression of every pose without the need to strain one bit. You stop telling your body how to handle your every move. You remember that your innate body intelligence already knows.

To learn to practice yoga with such EFFICIENCY, handle movements or improve your posture without muscle straining, choose to be exposed to The Wise Way to Yoga by attending my next Free Masterclass or be inquisitive and private message me. All you’ve got to lose is some unnecessary tension. 

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 30 years out of which came her Body Intelligence Activation Process™ (B.I.A. Process). It has supported yogis of all levels to enhance their practice towards best performance with optimal safety. She is also studying Energy Medicine to add another dimension to her work.

Faculty at Akasha Yoga Teacher Training, Cécile has run 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. Author of THE WISE WAY TO YOGA which is available on Amazon, Cécile launched a community for yogis which you are welcome to join by clicking WISE YOGA TRIBE

RESISTANCE: A Benefit or an Obstacle to Optimal Health?


During a yoga class, as we were in a challenging pose, the teacher made the following comment, “your body wants the path of least resistance; in yoga, you want the path of most resistance.” Is this really true?

Not all yoga teachers would agree with this statement. Yet many people do associate yoga with a strenuous practice of some kind. In fact, there is a trend for resistance training that encourages this approach. And yes, it appears logical and practicing this way can yield results as well.

This may seem an appropriate way to do Cobra/Updog because it is a widespread way of doing it, even in India, but it does not mean that compressing the neck part of the spine is in line with your whole-body wisdom

Is it really necessary to go against the guidance of your whole-body intelligence to build up strength? Is there a price to pay if you don’t have an effective tool to assess when to stop (beyond your own subjective notion of what is enough or not)?

The truth is that without an objective tool to assess when enough is enough beyond whether it hurts or not, it becomes too easy to overdo and create excess tension while you are building strength. So, yes, you are getting stronger, but you are also getting stiffer in the process like the yogis compressing the back of their neck to expand the front.

Neck tension does not come from stress but stress enhances misuse and overuse of the body. So stress reveals neck tension more than it creates it.

What are the signs you may be overdoing unknowingly?

  1. You need to stretch your muscles constantly, whether on or off the mat
  2. You experience sensitivity or pain in your joints periodically
  3. You struggle with frozen shoulders or poor posture
  4. You behave in an unflexible manner more often than not

If you experience one or more of these challenges, you may be getting more than you bargain for while working on strengthening using resistance to an extreme.

This is an integrated expression of a pose. Head poised over hands.
No neck compression, yet she is working her body as a whole and getting stronger in the process!

In truth, you can challenge yourself and work with resistance in a way that does not have undesirable side effects. How?

  1. Approach all forms of exercise as a whole-body experience in the same way you approach walking, running, going up the stairs or riding a bike. In these activities, you don’t tell each body part how to do their job. You trust they know what they are doing.
  2. Discover how your skeleton and muscles can work as team partners to develop flexible strength. Your muscles don’t need to steal the show as if your body strength was their exclusive responsibility.
  3. Realize that challenging yourself as a whole is more efficient and effective than focusing on isolated body parts alone. For instance, doing a squat while still fully balanced above your feet benefits your whole body instead of just your quads.

Resistance becomes an obstacle that tends to backfire when you focus on individual muscles, isolated body parts, or pushing to an extreme while losing track of whole-body harmony.

It creates excess tension that shows up sooner or later and promotes injury.

Resistance is a benefit serving all of you when you practice resistance as a whole-body experience (whatever body parts you hope to strengthen). It works from head to toes in a mind/body partnership.

The fact is that the whole is designed to take care of the parts 
which is not true the other way around...

Would love to know your thoughts and experience with this.
Let me know what you think?