Tag Archives: Postural Reflexes

How Your Body Image affects Your Body Use into Straining & Slumping!

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Have you ever consciously thought about what your body image is?

The one that drives you to eat, exercise, or dress a certain way? As a woman, do you want to look thin, sexy, professional? As a man, do you want to look strong and unaffected? Whether man or woman, do you think your looks and wealth equals your worth? For better or for worse, those values are actually 19th century by-products of the Industrial Revolution in a society that has been valuing: appearances, money and machines.

On a more personal level, where is your body image coming from?
 And is it serving you?

Considering your body image shapes your current beliefs, you may want to explore your thoughts on the subject. They are creating feelings and actions that are possibly holding you back. Once you uncover these thoughts and beliefs feeding your body image, you can choose to create new ones if need be and see your life change progressively; sometimes drastically. Check this inspiring one minute video with Kate Winslet:

Kate Winslet

Unlike Kate do you remember words from a parent, friend or teacher that sent you on a specific body image path?

My Story with Body Image

My well-intentioned mom projected her limiting beliefs about weight on me at a very young age.  I became a slave to my body image around weight for decades.  The process to free myself from a body image that did not serve me started when I was pregnant with my first child.

One day, when very pregnant and quite absorbed in my studies, I caught myself in the library studying with my belly squished against the table. It was a powerful moment. I wondered about what I was doing to my baby and to my own body? And in a flash, that is when I realized something had to change. Being in my head so much as a PhD student only emphasized a mind/body disconnect that had started long ago with my compact body image. I saw this clearly then. My mind had taken over and I did not experience my body fully except as a number on a scale.

In short, this led me to a meditation practice, to a career change and to train as an Alexander Technique teacher in the hope to become a more integrated being. Although this tends to be a lifelong journey, training then teaching this work has made a serious difference. I have discovered my body from a different perspective and learned to appreciate many dimensions about it thanks to becoming more of an “embodied” mind.

One important thing I discovered was that my body image was affecting the way I was using my whole body, and the way I was using my body was affecting its functioning. On the other end, improving my overall functioning by improving the way I used myself seriously decreased the impact my body image had on me. Now, I can dance through life joyfully!

How Your Body Image Story affects Your Body Use

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Familiar slump leaning into the comfort of habits

 

Your body image is affecting how you use yourselves in everyday life and vice versa. When you are not happy with the way you look or feel, you consciously or unconsciously want to curl in, hide or cover up. Have you experienced this familiar slump where you lean into the comfort of your habit despite its cost? As you know, slumping often translates into back or neck discomfort, sometimes into breathing and digestive issues as well because your inside is being squished constantly interfering with the best functioning of your organs. Have you just been triggered to pull your shoulders back in an effort to straighten up because of what you just read? And yet, you know it is pointless since you go right back down in seconds?

Does this sound like you? Do you have muscles and joints discomfort, pain or tiredness? Are you prone to feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Do you tend to worry uncontrollably? It comes with the territory of this familiar pose. There is a reason for it as explained in this Ted Talk video. Luckily for you, there is a way out!

And it has nothing to do with you trying to control your body muscularly. Otherwise you may turn into a chronic holder when it comes to your posture and an over-doer on the mat.   Like many people, unless you strain on the mat, you may think that you are not doing enough, not strengthening enough, not stretching enough. And yet, you do not really want to strain, do you? You just want the benefits of exercising whether on or off the mat.

How to Stop the Straining & Slumping Cycle

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The difference between sitting in a balance way
and sitting with your gravity center behind your sits bones: A big difference!

 

What you really want is “Flexible Strength” and “Sustainable Good Posture”. And the secret to acquiring the flexible strength of the cat is to behave like one. No kidding! Do you see cats exercising one body part at a time? I don’t think so. They use their body as a whole when they move. And guess what? You are designed that way as well!

The truth is that you may not be moving and exercising your body as a coordinated self even if you know, intellectually, that all the parts are meant to function as a whole. The reason for this lies in a handful of common unconscious habits that interfere with your best efforts. Since you can only be mindful of what you are aware of,  becoming aware of and learning to overcome these common habits is the key to functioning with optimal safety and optimal performance,  the key to stopping the cycle from straining to be upright, to surrendering into your inevitable habitual slump.

Interested in exploring this further?

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

 

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3 Common Oversights by Yoga Lovers that keep their Muscles and Joints Strained Part #1

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Prayer-Twist-Yoga-Pose when all is in balance!

Prayer-Twist-Yoga-Pose when all is in balance!

* Do you still feel your muscles and joints complaining
even though you do yoga to stretch, strengthen, balance and relax?

* Do you find yourself micro-adjusting muscles and joints in search for balance,
never being sure if or when you will find your sweet spot?

* Do you want to know how to safely expand your growing edge?

* Would you like to enjoy the benefits of yoga without the strain?

* Would you like to improve your posture without holding yourself up ?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you will enjoy and benefit from reading this blog series!

Before revealing those 3 common oversights that may  keep your muscles and joints strained unnecessarily, I want you to experience what happens when in your daily life and on the yoga mat,  you plug into your beginner’s mind. It is helpful because your daily mind guided by habits tends to be attached to the way you do things, the way you think or talk and that is limiting.

If I say to you  “Less muscular efforts allows for more strength, observe how your habitual way of thinking receives this, observe if and how you want to react, yet choose not to and see what comes out of this choice. Stay in a spirit of discovery: “Let’s see what happens if I don’t try so hard…can I really get stronger?” and maybe you’ll discover that indeed you can get stronger and even gain flexible strength as it were. Mainly this blog is designed to inspire you and open doors to safely go further than ever into your growing edge! As a yoga lover, I know how much you love growing past your limits and I do too!

Sometimes, there is a blind spot in our awareness and we do not realize it till it is pointed out to us. Ignoring it holds a danger factor just as ignoring the blind spot while driving a car would. Keeping a beginner’s mind opens our gate of perception wider. Understanding and experiencing become deeper and more accurate!

As a yoga lover, you already have some level of mind and body awareness. However, there are many levels of awareness to open up to as you live, learn, and mature in your life journey. Studying Yoga from learning Asanas to developing Spiritual Depth which is the  purpose of Yoga is one such journey. Learning to practice yoga based on the natural movements of the body and its postural mechanism is one dimension of this same journey.  It allows you to move safely on-or-off the yoga mat, thus preventing injuries.

Natural movements based on the innate wisdom of your postural mechanism is a sound foundation and a perfect tool to progressively merge the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual at every step of the way on your life journey. It is a mind and body relationship that improves the quality of your life by improving the quality of your movements, the mind and the body being the two sides of the same coin really. And it is what Off-The-Mat- Yoga blogs, classes and workshops are here to assist you with!

Food for thought till next blog: Muscular Overdoing & Will Power.
When do you use Blind Will and when do you use Wise Will?

In the meantime, make a point to explore with your beginner’s mind between now and the next blog and I’d love it if you would share your experience on this blog!

Part 1: Why do you get hurt?

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Why do you go to yoga in the first place?
You want to feel good and take care of your body and mind, right?

Yet, do you not wonder why you or others, sometimes even teachers get hurt doing yoga?
That is what I want to blog about because there is a common way to get injured that can be prevented.

When you get hurt on or off the mat, is it because you pushed yourself too hard? Is it because you are not flexible enough? Or perhaps you start your routine too fast? Or maybe you think your body gets hurt easily?
Yes
, partly sometimes , but not only! You get hurt because no one told you how your body really works on a deep primitive level. When you understand that, your yoga improves and it flows into your everyday life as it is intended.

I have done Kripalu Yoga, known to be gentle as well as Baptiste Yoga even though I am no boot camp fan. I like the sweating part to get toxins out of my system and also I like to challenge myself in movements I don’t do every day. My body is not your typical yoga class slender body and I had to overcome lots before I took up yoga. In fact, I started to learn about body movement and poise by becoming an Alexander Technique teacher and then I inched my way into yoga by becoming a Thai Yoga Therapist. Finally, I just went for it and by then I did not have to worry about hurting myself or embarrassing myself if I could not do a specific pose because I knew how to activate my postural reflexes. Also I knew that  I needed the yoga teacher to learn the form, yet I did not have to depend on her to teach me how to use my body to execute the form, and in a crowded class, it is a plus. Postural activation is your best friend everywhere you use your body!

More coming on Postural Reflexes!