Tag Archives: Alexander Technique



Like in many other expressive fields, playing music can be a technical skill that is acquired over time with practice or it can be a unique artistic expression when the musician and his/her instrument become one. Then, they both become a perfect channel for the music.

To reach this stage, the more your body functions as the integrated whole that it is, the more you can become a channel for the music you play and access the gifted musician within.

As a musician, if you focus mainly on the perfection of the music you play, it is likely that you disconnect from the guidance of your body intelligence, in the same way that yogis focusing on the perfection of a pose tend to be disconnected from their body intelligence. As a result, body “misuse” or/and “overuse” through repetitive movements builds excess tension in your body eventually promoting pain down the road.

Playing music as a yogic expression is allowing this synergy between your integrated mind/body/heart functioning, the integrated body of notes, and the integrated functioning between you and your instrument. This has the benefit to reduce, eliminate or prevent chronic tension or pain that is common among musicians, especially when playing professionally.

Playing music or practicing yoga works best as a true yogic expression when the energy can flow rather than when there is holding in the body.

Nice Poise and Nice Use of her Vision to support her Poise


1 – Stay Present to your Body as a Whole while playing: When you ignore your body or you focus on body parts at the expense of your whole body, you are not fully connected to your body intelligence and you may be building tension in areas you are not including in your awareness which can account for feeling uptight or tired after playing for a long time, or even getting hurt.

2 – Pay attention to how your body feels first then how you go about connecting with your instrument when you start playing: For instance, pay attention how connected and released you are within yourself first, then pay attention to how you pick up your violin to bring it up where you want it. As a pianist, pay attention to not carry tension in your body and arms even as you bring your hands and arms to the keyboard of your piano.

3 – Sit in a way that supports your skeletal structure rather than your muscles: It is common to slouch, hold up, or add support where we tend to get tired muscles. However, that does not necessarily help you sit upright effortlessly. Connect your sitz bones to a firm support and add support if needed behind your coccyx area rather than your lumbar region. The more you are supported in a way that keep your postural muscles doing their job, the easier it will become to sit upright effortlessly over time.


If this work speaks to you and you are ready to invest yourself in its process to be finally free of excess tension or chronic tension fueled by the repetitive movements to play your instrument…..

Then, sign up for the 2-session workshop I will be giving in January by clicking on the link below:
(Number of spaces is limited, so registration happens on a first serve basis)



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.

Cécile can be reached by responding to this blog or by contacting her through her websitehttps://cecileraynor.com/

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


Hope this blog finds you well!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cecile Raynor

Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her B.I.A. Process to assist yogis in enhancing their practice bypassing the intellect. She is also a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and a Reiki Practitioner. Faculty at Akasha Yoga Teacher Training, she runs a 12 months Mastermind for Yoga Teachers with a Vision, and a 90 Day Virtual Program for trainees, new teachers and committed yoga practitioners interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat in a way not taught in regular training courses. She is currently writing a book on her personal and professional experience. THE WISE WAY TO YOGA is to be published soon! To be followed!


617 359 7841(cell)

Physicality, Embodiment & Yoga


Do you feel that unless you strain when you exercise, you are not doing enough?
Are you sure that strain is necessary to get strong in body or mind?

Do you think you are connected to your body because you exercise or practice yoga?
Are you sure that being physical means that you are well connected to your body?

What if strain only added body stiffness to the strength you could build without the strain?
What if being physical was not enough to be fully connected to your innate body wisdom?

On the left she tightens and creates body stiffness in her outer muscles,
on the right she allows space to relax and let her core muscles strengthen themselves!
My  journey from physicality to awareness of disembodiment

When I started exercising and decided to eat right, I was motivated by wanting to look the best I could and keep my weight down. I used to exercise 3 hours a day. Half of that time was walking to and from campus for 45 minutes each way and the other 90 minutes were at the gym, running or an aerobic dance class plus using the universal machines of the time.

I thought I was very connected to my body and although I never strained to the point of hurting myself, I did judge the amount of appropriate tension by how much I was pushing myself. Burning calories was high on my list as I have a compact muscular body and always wanted to trim it down.

However, I had a profound realization that changed the course of my life. One day, while finishing grad school and being very pregnant with my first child. I found myself leaning on the table at the library so my belly was totally squished against the edge of the table. Noticing that was like a wake up call. I asked myself ” What am I doing to my baby? And what am I doing to my body?”. I started noticing other such instances. Maybe I was not as connected to my body as I thought? It made me realize that physicality was only part of being fully connected. I became aware that my physicality had been driven by my mind that acted as if it knew better than my body.

My journey towards embodiment of my aware mind

That profound realization led me to practice meditation and let go of a promising career teaching French Literature at the college level for which I had just studied several years. Everyone thought I was crazy. But academia was going to keep me in my head so I had to find another more holistic type of teaching, and I did. Although embodiment is a life long evolution, working in a mind/body field with the Alexander Technique has made a huge difference in my life, especially combined with my meditation practice.

Over time, I realized and experienced that my addictive straining was only adding body stiffness to the strength I was building. It was true in the gym or on the yoga mat. I found it to be a mindset that reveals itself throughout all aspect of my life as self-created stress if I let it. And when I am flexible and strong in my mind, I can enjoy flexible strength in my workout or my yoga practice.

It became clear that I wanted flexible strength and that flexible strength starts with an aware and embodied mind. When your mind is embodied, there is no room for strain when you are being physical because you are in harmony with your innate body wisdom. And this is a whole body affair through every movement and every moment of the day. When you focus mainly on physicality, you are missing a dimension and the door to injury is still wide open whether you are at your computer, in your kitchen or on the mat.

When your mind is embodied, there is no room for strain when being physical
because you are in harmony with your innate body wisdom.

Connecting to your body in a holistic way means that you are not tending separately to the mind and the body. You are aware of both whether you meditate or exercise. It also means that you allow your whole body wisdom to guide you as it is designed rather than controlling your skeleton muscularly according to the dictates of your mind as if it knew better than your innate body intelligence. It means organic good posture takes care of itself in a sustainable way like it does in children.

There is a breakthrough process that can help you access your whole body wisdom with ease whatever type of exercise you enjoy doing. It helps you to be embodied in a way beyond focusing on your stretch edge or your pain edge which represents only a small percentage of your whole body wisdom. It helps you reclaim organic good posture and strain-free living.

Interested in exploring this further? Then check:

1) My Free Email Seminar 2) My Free Webinar 3) My Beta 90 Day E-Course Special.



OFF-THE-MAT YOGA with Cecile FB Closed Group!


Dear Blog Followers,

Off-The-Mat Yoga with Cecile is exclusively for people who have taken classes or workshops with me. It is also for those who have read and enjoyed my Free Email Seminar, my blog posts and/or the teachings I offer based on the Alexander Technique and other related experience from Meditation to Thai Yoga and Yoga Philosophy.

These teachings are all about moving and doing yoga in a manner that is in line with the Natural Design of our Innate Body Wisdom on and off the mat. They are also about how we can apply the Alexander principles and Yoga philosophy to how we live our life to help us reach our highest potential. They are all connected one way or the other with becoming more aware of our tendency to react so we can respond as we truly want.

This group is designed for you to ask questions, get answers from Cecile and other members, as we are all sharing our journey practicing yoga and living our life based on the reality that we are a coordinated self, mind body and soul!

Mind and body are the two sides of the same coin and cannot be separated to enjoy an integrated way to function as a whole person. Let’s integrate that understanding in togetherness with other like-minded yoga lovers.

For your information, I am now offering Skype sessions. They are designed for you if you want to work with me and are too far away to come to workshops, classes or private sessions. They can help you with how to use yourself more efficiently in your daily movements and yoga practice. They can also be great for you if you want support on being personally accountable to the private you in achieving personal growth goals. Just contact me via the blog for now.

To join the private OFF-THE-MAT YOGA with Cecile FB group, click below to request being part of it.

Hope to see you there for an interesting, friendly exchange and learning experience!
Till then, be well!:)

Cecile Raynor