Moving as smoothly and lightly as a child again, could that be possible? Yoga teacher and writer Gert van Leeuwen is convinced: “Dissolve obstructions and your energy will flow.”
The Happi-boddy section of Happinez magazine introduces its readers to Critical Alignment Yoga. Gert van Leeuwen developed this type of yoga after years of research. Gert now travels around the world to share his method with others.
We lose our ability to move naturally and smoothly because we grow up in a society of performance pressure, stress, and ambitions. We go from being sensitive souls who are present in their bodies to rational beings, who are less aware of the sense of space in their bodies. This was exactly the reason why I decided to train as a yoga teacher in 2006. After having visited several yoga training institutes, I started my training at the Hara Yoga institute in Groningen. It was during this training that I learned to feel again. I was able to reconnect, with myself and with my body. It felt like coming home in my own body. It’s the reason why Yoga Ommen’s slogan is “Nice to meet your Self!”
In 2011, my exam year, I started teaching yoga to two trial groups. I remember finding it exciting and scary. But after a while, the number of yoga classes I taught increased. A large number of people who take my yoga class have, to a greater or lesser degree, (physical) complaints. To learn more about therapeutic yoga, I ordered a number of books on this subject, including the extensive book by Gert van Leeuwen. Initially, my response was: ‘Oh no, this book is huge! I don’t feel like reading this at all.’ So, I put it aside. Until at some point I took it up again and started browsing through it. It had drawings of strips and rolls, arches, and a headstand bench. I didn’t really understand much of it at first. I’d never heard of these props before.
But his way of writing was so empathic and easy to read that my interest and curiosity had been triggered. So, when the newsletter of the Vereniging Yogadocenten Nederland (“Dutch Yoga Teachers Association”) announced that Gert van Leeuwen offered further training for yoga teachers, I didn’t hesitate one second. In January 2014, I joined 16 other yoga teachers in Gert van Leeuwen’s beautiful studio at Blankenstraat 166 in Amsterdam. Almost immediately I knew: I had come home, once again.
Hara and Critical Alignment Yoga both have in common that they train yoga teachers on the basis of self-examination and learning to move from a state of relaxation instead of by willpower. Everything starts with self-examination. Only when you investigate where tension is generated can tension be released. “Where lies the deeper cause of that tension?” Critical Alignment Yoga uses props. A bench to practice the headstand on, for example. An arch that you use to bend backward, or a strip. They help to relax your body in yoga postures. This way, you can stay in position, reach deeper muscle layers and dissolve obstructions in your movement chains.