Tag Archives: joint tension

Can Fitness Goals On the Mat Decrease Wellness Benefits Off the Mat?

Your fitness goals affect how you go about a pose
and how you feel once you are off the mat.

Fitness is defined as the condition of being physically fit and healthy. However, is it still the case when fitness is more about appearances than wellness? How does this fitness goal affect yogis and yoga teachers on and off the mat?

Let’s look at your experience!

Do you think that being fit means having a firm and defined body shape? Does it mean you can do challenging poses worthy of being posted on Instagram?

Do you push yourself as much as you can to reach these goals?
Or do you want more than that from your yoga practice?

In either case, how do you know that your fitness goals are not robbing you from your optimal wellness?


When your practice keeps you feeling tension free off the mat and allow you to enjoy good posture even when you don’t think about your posture, you’re doing great!

When, despite a committed practice, you experience daily excess tension urging you to stretch your muscles or joints throughout your day.
When you feel muscular aches or pain lingering in your daily activities. 
Or when you experience slouching and poor posture
repeatedly and unavoidably while off the mat.

Then, you know you have been sacrificing part of your wellness in the name of fitness.

The truth is that, unknowingly, you have been developing excess tension and killing your muscle tone at the very same time that you have been strengthening and stretching…. which is why muscles or joints tension shows up in your daily life.

And yet, puzzled, you’re not quite sure
why you experience so much tension or poor posture
when you are so very committed to your practice?

Know that, if you are suffering from this common cycle,
you are not alone! And it’s not really your fault!
You are just a product of the evolution
of popular fitness and modern yoga since the 19th century.

The good thing is that, it is never too late
to approach your practice differently and avoid this cycle.

Becoming aware that you’re stuck in a cycle is the first step towards improvement since you can’t change something you’re not aware of.

It’s never too late to approach daily movements and posture in a more holistic way.  You just need to discover the unconscious habits that are keeping you in this cycle and learn how to unlearn them.

Such a discovery process anyone willing and ready can learn.

And if you’re a yoga teacher, new or experienced, this process will enhance your teaching skills to a higher level adding clarity and simplicity to your teaching process!

If that resonates with you.
If you’re open and ready to change, let me know.

I’d be happy to answer any question you have about what’s keeping you away from your natural good posture and optimal well-being. As a result, you’ll feel better in your body whether you are on or off the mat!

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!

The Art of Flexible Strength: Drop the Strain, Keep the Strength!


Striving to Stretch

As a yogi or fitness practitioner, do you  feel it is important to develop strength and flexibility? And yet do you truly feel you are developing flexible strength in the process? The flexible strength of the cat for instance which allows the cat to be totally tension free one minute and in an instant, display amazing strength, flexibility, accuracy of aim and speed of action.

If you are like most of us, the answer is no, not really!

Beautiful natural integrated stretch

The truth is you strive for more flexibility and you may succeed up to a certain point. Yet are you tension free between yoga classes or even on the mat? If you can say yes, then you can stop reading right here. If the answer is no, then read on.

One reason you may not feel as flexible as you would want to be in your body (even though you work hard at it), is because flexibility starts in the mind, it is not just a body feature. And since the mind and the body are the two sides of the same coin, if your mind is not flexible, your body will reflect that by feeling uptight and it goes the other way round as well if you are flexible as a whole rather than having some flexible parts.

DSCN8391 DSCN8402 DSCN8394
Different bodies and awareness levels, different practices, different level of benefits

Another reason is that you may have unconscious habits of movements that are in the way of getting the result you are working for. I have found this to be a common explanation for nagging muscular and joint tension. In fact there are five such common habits that stem from misconceptions of movement. They have to do with you using parts of your body to do the job of other parts of your body so naturally, the misused parts end up complaining that they are not suited for the task. Becoming aware of this in your own body is a game changer.

The young man in the picture is aware of the way the pose is supposed to be but some of his unconscious habitual patterns prevent him from doing the pose the way he sees it and if he tries to straighten his back muscularly, he can only strain. Luckily he sensed that and was not trying to force anything. And the habits could manifest more subtly and be harder to detect but still doing a job on the synergy of your body. The fact is these common unconscious habits make you use your body in a way that is not in line with your innate body wisdom. As a result, no matter how much exercise you do, you feel you are not getting the results you want or when you do, you find them not to be sustainable.

One way to address this is to attend my free webinars or better yet sign up for my 90 Day Live Interactive E-Course. The work I do is very practical and can benefit you from the start by expanding your awareness with a new way to approach movement. It can also help you handle mind or body stress from a fresh new perspective and truly transform your life.

For more info or to sign up to June 9 webinar, go to: https://offthematyoga.leadpages.co/free-live-interactive-webinar/
For the E-Course, go to: https://offthematyoga.leadpages.co/cecileclearofferinteractivee-course/