Yoga and Alexander technique: possibilities for pain free movement

Yoga tends to attract people with unusually large ranges of movements. At the top of that large range are people who persist long enough to become senior teachers with photogenic practices. It creates a distortion field in our perception of what’s possible when we only look at those people doing poses in photos and videos.

We hit a restriction, assume that it’s muscular, it’s our fault, we’re bad people. We’re desperate to fast forward through the difficult bits, we feel ashamed and power on through

Then we hit some pain and assume that there’s something badly wrong, we’re about to die.

What if pain, restriction, guilt or shame was a path to waking up into calmness and not a signal to blunder around in a panicky way desperately looking for someone to save you?

I’m asking myself: what would that shame and guilt free practice look like?

Well, restriction comes from tight muscles/fascia and compression of joints. A practice which is full of shame is going to mean that you’re just not going to be there, just interested to see if the restriction is something that will resolve itself with practice or something that is an absolute limit.

What if I treated all restriction as a place of possibility? Then see if there’s more possibility for movement. Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t.

What would it be like to be skilled, honest and open as I meet these experiences as they arise? As I go into more challenging movements for my body, what emotional skills do I need to be able to meet these challenges in an honest way?

I learnt something really important when I was assisting Donna Farhi in July 2017. Even though she had a very serious injury, she was comfortable. She was comfortable because she was utterly honest about her limits and used them with great integrity.

I learned that you don’t have to be uncomfortable or in pain even when up against really challenging physical limitations.

For me, it’s not about the result (nice though it might be), it’s about asking interesting questions and taking time to explore the answers that really makes the difference.

I’ve been asking these questions for the last 10 years as a teacher and sharing this process with students. Maybe I can help you ask some interesting questions and get answers of your own? Check out my one to one sessions here.

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© Kevin Saunders, Yogaground 2017

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