People often tell me I look like Dutch comedian Brigitte Kaandorp. Apparently, we have the same eyes, and my voice sounds a lot like hers. I make good use of that to convey things in my yoga classes.
The title of this blog is a homage in jest to a popular, comical song Brigitte wrote a long time ago that’s still relevant to this day, maybe even more so. It’s about those people who can’t seem to stop complaining. Everything is too difficult, too hard, and they’re just too busy and tired to do anything about it. Sounds familiar? 😉
Joking aside, there is a painful core of truth in Brigitte Kaandorp’s, now iconic, song, and you may not like to hear it. Let’s talk about why – and how – our very own difficult lives take their tolls on us. And what we can do about it.
Sooner or later, the difficult lives we – yes, we – created for ourselves, will take their tolls on us. Our bodies want to help us as much as possible, until they no longer can. It’s a painful truth. Literally. Many of us, like myself, come into contact with yoga when we fail to live up to our self-imposed demands. For some, this leads to physical problems or injury, maybe even to illness, for others, perhaps to mental and emotional problems. And, well, let’s face it, more often than not it leads to a combination of both. My Achilles tendon didn’t rupture by chance, for instance. You can read all about it in my blog “Listen to the Whispers of Your Body”.
What characterizes Critical Alignment Yoga is how you treat yourself and your body. It’s about (re)gaining awareness of your posture and movement patterns. The class actually starts when you step off your yoga mat. You could compare the classes and exercises with a laboratory setting. You take a break from daily hassles, park your worries, and shut out the noise. You leave everything behind for a while to turn your attention inward. To slow and calm down. This creates space for consciousness. I’ll give some examples below. Maybe you recognize yourself…
The purpose of yoga postures, or asanas, as we also call them in yoga, is to let you reconnect with your body. Yoga postures are our mirror. They make us aware of how we treat ourselves. Carefully, you carry out the movements. You experience what’s pleasant and what’s not and choose how you deal with it.
Yoga is not about the postures; they’re a means to an end. Yoga is learning to take good care of yourself and to not neglect or deplete your body. Your body is your home. It’s all you have when all else falls away. We tend to forget this.
“A healthy person has many wishes. A sick person has only one.”
It is not about whether you can put your nose on your knees, or whether you can perfectly assume the postures you see in magazines and books. None of that is important. So, what’s it really about?
Good alignment means you can move your body optimally, with as little effort as possible.
Your brain isn’t the only part of you that has a memory. If your body can’t properly release tension, it stores it, somewhere inside of you. This can lead to acidification, hardening, stiffening, and weakening of your muscles and tendons. And when this happens, other muscles or parts of your body will start to compensate, creating a vicious circle. You can then decide to visit an acupuncturist, a manual therapist, or a masseuse. But that usually won’t change your posture and movement patterns. Someone else is doing the work for you, not you yourself.
That’s where Critical Alignment Yoga (CAY) differs; you’re the one who has to put in the work. Through movement and self-examination, you assess where your body has stored your stress and tension. You literally feel your way through. The natural shapes of your spine and skeleton are key elements in this process.
Areas where we often experience problems are the lower back, upper back, and shoulders. (Also read my blog “The Crooked Upper Back”.) In CAY, you consciously work on those areas to improve your mobility. Starting in relaxation, then restoring strength and coordination. This way, your spine receives the support it needs while you create more flexibility and mobility.
To move as freely as possible.
And then, perhaps, we can live easier, and more carefree, instead of having a very difficuuuuult life!
Are you tired of having a very difficult life? Your self-treatment starts here!
Are you interested in yoga and would you like to experience the benefits of yoga yourself? You can! The exercises are easy to learn and (with a bit of practice) can also be done at home. If you don’t live in or nearby Ommen, our Online Back Care Basics program offers a great alternative! Or join our free 6-day challenge “From Back Pain to Back Gain” first, and discover what yoga can do for you!
If you live in the neighborhood or are visiting Ommen, feel free to visit us. Or sign up for a trial class or a private (livestream) class.