Category Archives: Uncategorized

HANDS-ON ASSISTS Versus ADJUSTMENTS

Standard
Assist in Mountain Pose

Hands-on work by yoga teachers during yoga classes is a hot topic at the moment! Teachers touching students (with no training to do so) can be a problem and it has created all sorts of challenges, including injuries.

As a matter of fact, it has been a serious problem for enough students that some studios now have consent cards so each student can let their teacher know how they feel. Not a widespread practice yet. And because they often place their teacher on a pedestal, or at least assume they know best, students tend to disregard their own body cues or won’t dare speak up in a class environment.

So injuries have happened. 
Students with a trauma history have been triggered. 
Many students have experienced discomfort under the adjusting hands of their yoga teacher.
And new yoga students have been turned away from yoga all together!

TEACHING YOGA IS A BIG RESPONSIBILITY!

Hands-on adjustments are not the only way students can be hurt by teachers. The cuing language has a lot to do with it! For instance, assuming that every student enjoys and can relax while in Child Pose is not being aware that different bodies have different needs. “Straighten those legs” when in a Downward Dog can be damaging to some students also. It is an invitation to adjust one’s body to fit the form of the pose instead of letting the pose be an opportunity for the student to stay connected to her body.

THE PERFECTION OF A POSE NEEDS TO BE A GUIDE NOT AN END IN ITSELF!

Hands-on adjustments were meant as a solution to yogis getting injured but the focus remained on the perfection of the form as a goal. It was assumed that injured yogis were not doing the pose correctly so adjustments would correct the body to fit the pose. And it certainly has helped many students. It also became obvious it was hurting many others in the process as the pose are there to help the yogis not for the yogi to be a slave to the pose.

Some teachers came up with the concept of hands-on assists, which is more gentle and helpful because the intention is to help and cooperate with the student’s body needs. This led to a wave of massaging hands and aromatherapy being used in the yoga class, making these classes very popular.

However, we are left with yet a couple unaddressed dimensions.

First, does massage belong in a yoga class? Are students coming to practice yoga or to receive massaging hands? Don’t get me wrong, those are wonderful to experience and fit a purpose. However, maybe such classes could be named differently?

Second, and more importantly, what is totally overlooked is what the teacher passes on to the student despite herself. I mean that when we touch others we pass on to them something about how we use our own body. And I have seen one yoga teacher after the other, rounding their back or craning their necks, or twisting their body to help a student lengthen his back?!

Yoga teachers know a lot about the poses and some know about yoga principles. However, they are taught to think in body parts. Teachers are not taught how to use their own body in an integrated way.

ADDRESSING THE TEACHERS UNCONSCIOUS WAYS OF USING THEIR BODY IS A MISSING DIMENSION IN YOGA TRAINING.

What they’re taught is to control their body by positioning its parts. That’s not the same thing nor is it sustainable. That’s why you can find many yoga teachers in the privacy of their own life, slouching into a pretzel when they forget about themselves. Yet good posture is the expression of a well-integrated body.

If you’d like to learn more about how to avoid these challenges as a yoga teacher, be it hurting students unknowingly or holding back from fear of hurting them. Be it holding yourself in “good posture” then finding yourself in an unavoidable slouch.

Join me on my next free webinar for yoga teachers called: Five Breakthrough Realizations to Transform your Yoga practice & Teaching. Hope to see you there!:)

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her Body Intelligence Activation Process™ (B.I.A. Process) to assist yogis in enhancing their practice towards best performance with optimal safety. She is also a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and a Reiki Practitioner. Faculty at Akasha Yoga Teacher Training, she runs a 12 months Mastermind for Yoga Teachers with a Vision, and a 90 Day Live Online Program for trainees, new teachers and committed yoga practitioners interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat in a way not taught in regular training courses. She is also the author of a June 2018 publication called THE WISE WAY TO YOGA which is available on Amazon or from Cecile if you are local to Boston!

Advertisements

IS YOUR YOGA PRACTICE KEEPING YOU & YOUR STUDENTS TENSION FREE & POISED OFF THE MAT?

Standard

This blog post is for yoga teachers who want deep transformation for themselves and their students.

Asana practice is meant to create ease and flow in your life both on and off the mat. As a teacher, it is meant to do the same for your students. Is it? Do most of you feel tension-free and poised off the mat?

Integrated Cobra Pose

If you (or they) find that the feelings of wellbeing and good posture don’t seem to last very long after you step off your mat, it’s because you’ve fallen prey to modern yoga’s addiction with “results” and “control”. As a result, you must make progress at all costs on the mat even when your body is giving you clear signals off the mat that this way is not necessarily working for you.

If you feel a constant urge to stretch, if your muscles or joints ache in some ways, or if you find that you go right back to slouching after making an effort to be upright, it means that your idea about strengthening, stretching or good posture is not complete. It is missing an important dimension.

How to be sure when enough is enough beyond the subjective experience of feeling good? How to stay poised without holding your body upright consciously?

Could it be that you are unknowingly overdoing? Could assessing how much is enough come from a deeper place in you than how your muscles feel on the surface of your awareness?

How can you build a trusting relationship with your body if you’re misinterpreting or ignoring its signs? You may blame your tension on the stress of life or on sitting too many hours in the front of the computer but is it the whole truth?

Intrigued by these questions at the core of your practice and teaching? I would be happy to talk to you. Just email me or sign-up below for my next webinar which addresses these questions more extensively.

https://offthematyoga.lpages.co/free-live-interactive-webinar-for-yoga-teachers/

Till then,
Namaste

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her Body Intelligence Activation Process™ (B.I.A. Process) to assist yogis in enhancing their practice towards best performance with optimal safety. She is also a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and a Reiki Practitioner. Faculty at Akasha Yoga Teacher Training, she runs a 12 months Mastermind for Yoga Teachers with a Vision, and a 90 Day Live Online Program for trainees, new teachers and committed yoga practitioners interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat in a way not taught in regular training courses. She is also the author of a June 2018 publication called THE WISE WAY TO YOGA which is available on Amazon or from Cecile if you are local to Boston!

Yoga & the Spirit of Discrimination

Standard

The recent study referred to in the article below concludes, based on emergency room reports, that only yogis of age 65 and after are at risk for practicing yoga. Why is this rather misleading?

                  https://www.yogauonline.com/yoga-research/new-study-charts-yoga-injuries-over-13-year-period

I personally do not think the conclusion of this study is accurate. The poster child for pioneer yoga teachers in North America, Diane Bruni, and many other teachers and practitioners have been injured when much younger in their practice. Their injuries and challenges motivated their deep commitment to start a yoga revolution to improve the practice of modern yoga as it is still developing. The current flaws are nobody’s fault. Among other things, they are part of the evolution of an eastern practice in a western world.

Injuries don t always make it to the emergency room and older yogis are more likely to report to the emergency room than younger folks who may feel invincible and trust their injuries will heal quickly. Also, I personally know loads of young teachers and practitioners who would not last without serious injury if they were not going to their chiropractor and massage therapist periodically. Lastly, yoga injuries do not always manifest while on the mat. When the body is not used in line with its whole-body intelligence, it promotes excess tension and injuries can happen anytime, anywhere!

In fact, yoga injuries are often caused by misuse of our body off the mat as seen in the pictures below. As a yogi, you may think that you can fix your “Daily Body” by engaging with your “Yoga Body” on the mat. The truth is that you only have one body and it is crucial to learn how to better handle your body in daily activities if you do not want to promote excess tension and injury down the road. Ignoring slouching in daily life hurts your yoga practice. And tensing your back to sit or stand straight on or off the mat contributes to your irresistible need to slouch. Just know that there is a more organic way to do this as you well did when you were children. And the ability to do so is still in you, available 24/7. You simply need to learn how to activate it!

In the meantime, let’s not close our eyes to the danger still present in the way many practice yoga today. Yoga is not the problem of course, how it has been taught since the 19th century and how we use our body practicing yoga is. How we bring harmful habits from daily life to the mat is. How our physical sensations rule our practice is as well given that yoga warns us to not trust sensations alone. Besides, it is not because we can do something to an extreme that it is good for all our body parts.

We need to develop discrimination! And with it, yoga injuries can decline steadily!

We must face the underlying roots of these injuries so yogis can practice yoga the wise way (regardless of their body type, age, fitness level or yoga style), and keep injuries at bay.

It is a given that younger people bodies are more resilient and can handle more misuse. But is that a reason to assume their practice is flawless and safe?

Studies are helpful up to a certain point. Yet studies proving opposite points can easily be found if we look carefully. So we must use our spirit of discrimination when we read the conclusion of studies. We must learn to connect with our whole-body intelligence in a way so it can be activated on demand and offer guidance for what is right for us, individually, in each moment. And questioning outside information no matter where it comes from is part of 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. She is also the author of a June 2018 publication called THE WISE WAY TO YOGA which is available on Amazon or from Cecile if you are local to Boston!

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

Standard

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.

WARRIOR ONE & RESOLUTION SUCCESS!

Standard
Do you make resolutions around this time every year? Or do you do them ongoingly throughout the year? Do you stick with them or do you find it challenging? Below are a few tips to help.

Many of us make resolutions for the new year. We all want health, prosperity, joy, and love. However, how body, mind, and soul are connected and functioning harmoniously together does affect, not only your yoga practice but how successful you are in manifesting your new years’ resolutions.

Why is that? One way to get mind, body, and soul to work together is to let all your body parts also work together as the integrated and coordinated whole that you are. Following the guidance of your whole-body intelligence is the best way to succeed. And surrendering to the earth support while keeping your skeletal height is one way to activate that guidance.

Learn to approach your Warrior 1 as the integrated yogi that you can be and notice your practice and your life change for the better. This ability to surrender is natural for everyone although it may be covered up by unconscious habits of body and mind. Reclaiming this ability is the foundation for optimal safety and performance through any daily activity, especially your yoga practice. If you want more of this for 2018, sign up for my mini-class this Saturday by clicking on the link below.

Make a point to explore, discover and unlearn such habits!

In the meantime, here are a few tips I use myself:

1) Start by making a list of what you accomplished or enjoyed experiencing in the last year no matter how small it seems to you. Be grateful for these experiences, they are the platform from which you get added stimulus for your actions now and tomorrow.

2) Then Make a list of things you want to see happen in the future with no dates for them. Extract those that are reasonably reachable within the next year and prioritize them into two lists: one for the first 6 months of the year and the others for the second half.

3) When listing what you want to see happen in the future, you can dream big. Tell the universe what you are after. When you reduce the list to reachable goals,  remember that bite-size goals make for best results.

4) Last but not least, work on functioning as the integrated self that you are by learning how to activate the guidance of your whole-body intelligence to get support 24/7 to carry out your thoughts into actions.This is the best way to optimal safety and best performance.

Don’t wait next year to explore this.
Get ahead of the game this time and click on the link below to join me tomorrow at 3 EST!

Saturday, December 30, 2017, Mini Video CLass!
https://offthematyoga.lpages.co/free-live-interactive-webinar-04/My blogs plant seeds, the free class gives you an experience of what I am talking about!

Yoga is awesome but your yoga practice can benefit greatly from increased awareness of underlying daily habits which are the source of much of your returning tension. They are also what feeds your conscious harmful habits such as poor posture or excess tension off the mat. When you have less tension to deal with, you can access the deepest benefits of yoga! 

Take an hour out of your day and be inspired by tips that can make a noticeable difference right there and then during the mini-class itself!

You will not regret it!:)

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!

Holiday Lights, Presence & Tension Release!

Standard

As we cross the cold and darkness of winter, we are surrounded by lights everywhere. Simply being present to them is always beautiful and heartwarming. As I am surrounded by this palpable energy of the season, I can let go of any mental activity, and instead, I enjoy the warmth of the lights, smile, and breathe in gratefulness!

It is my wish for you to also allow the lights of the holiday season to be a reminder and an opportunity to stop your monkey mind chatter and enjoy the present moment. Notice how it helps your body’s ability to let go of unnecessary muscle tension. Notice how you can fully connect with the body of the earth and experience its reliable support.

This ability to surrender to the earth through your whole-body intelligence is natural for everyone although it may be covered up by habits of body and mind. Make a point to explore, discover and unlearn such habits so you can experience the lightness of being, one moment at a time whether you are on or off the yoga mat!

Reclaiming this ability is the foundation for optimal safety and performance through any daily activity, especially your yoga practice. If you want more of this for 2018, check my website and various offerings (including free mini-classes).

Cecile!:)

https://offthematyoga.lpages.co/free-live-interactive-webinar-04/

What Does it Really Mean to Work Smart Rather Than Hard?

Standard

To work smart rather than hard to gain an efficient and safe yoga practice has become a common phrase yet, it is not always practiced in the way it was meant. And the way it was meant can be a challenge for modern yoga teachers and practitioners who have become obsessed with muscle engaging. However, engaging your muscles focusing on body parts is the reason you keep needing to stretch the same tension over and over. Ancient yogis’ strength came not from the size or firmness of their muscles but from the power of their mind over their body as a whole, over their energy!

Maybe it is time to learn to be strong using brain and bones and stop overworking your muscles. It is a more holistic and efficient approach. And it actually feels easier simply because gravity becomes your ally and you can work out smart instead of hard! The only thing you lose when you embrace this new paradigm is body stiffness, not strength.

You may want to check a humorous black and white 3-minute Rare Jujitsu footage posted by Andi Brooke to see what I mean! It shows a woman in the early nineteen hundred, dressed in her everyday outfit, using some Jujitsu maneuvers to prevent a few staged assaults. Although she is a petite non-muscular bodied woman, she handles this quite well using the strength of her skeleton and whole-body use. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kj15lvQhoSI

There is a way to practice yoga with this mindset and gain in efficiency and safety while still challenging yourself. If you are interested in learning more about this, sign up for my free or paid events by going to my blog site menu  or click on the following link to attend my FREE LIVE VIDEO WEBINAR: https://offthematyoga.lpages.co/free-live-interactive-webinar-04/