The thing about alignment is, it’s important. We should always be in agreement with ourselves. Not part of us doing something another part doesn’t like. So this is important.
It’s just not something we can think our way into. And it doesn’t come from outside us somewhere, from correcting, manipulating, or pushing. We fall out of harmony, out of alignment, when we don’t move well. When we make some bad choices. Sometimes we choose stress and struggle. If something challenges us we might choose force, instead of peace. We might practice aggression, instead of grace, ease. We fall into disconnection, disharmony, this way. We become limited, this way.
So we come back to harmony by making better choices, better movement. Moving well, we create a whole self in agreement, free of the habits that hold us back, that keep us playing this limited role of ourselves. Moving well is how we become who we are.
So we should be in a practice that has us in alignment all the time. Not moving badly, stopping, then trying to fix it. This is more a practice of being wrong. It doesn’t work so well. We want a practice that builds on what’s right about us. This works better.
We’ve been remaking the yoga forms in the last couple of trainings, following the same discovery process that developed the tai chi form. Which has been interesting. What we’ve found is, you can’t remake a good form from a bad static form. Which is what vinyasa and many yoga practices that call themselves “alignment-based” keep trying to do. Once it’s bad it’s bad. Tension, disconnection, disharmony. It’s difficult to make something good, from here.
So the answer seems to be somewhere in moving well first. Then having a context. What is this movement for? What does it need to accomplish? And from here, this combination of moving well, within a context, the form comes out of you. The form is you. So the Eastern approach is much better than Western thinking here.
Alignment isn’t copying a form. It isn’t something a teacher does to us. It’s not an idea, of what we should be, should look like. These kinds of ideas can be so destructive. Ideas of what we should be get so much in the way of what we are.
Alignment can’t come from ideas. It comes from inside. Releasing the bad habits that keep us stuck, keep us creating the appearance of what we think we should be, rather than simply being. So we reconnect this way. Create harmony. And learn to move well again, through everything.
One question often comes up about now. “What about beginners? Don’t they need some cuing, adjusting, correcting and copying, until they get all this?” It’s a really good question that surfaces so often, especially with people (like me) who are used to alignment-based external cuing and adjusting in yoga. Because this cuing and correcting is often explained as critical for beginners. So this kind of cuing and copying the look of things is one approach, but not the only one.
Another is a more Eastern path, which teaches you first to move well, and guides people carefully through this kind of movement, every step of the way. So the focus is on movement, which is very different from correcting people once they’re stuck in a pose that needs fixing.
An advantage here is your body puts itself naturally where it needs to be, through this kind of instruction. So you’re always practicing in a way that feels like it comes from you. Which is something different from practicing in a way that feels a bit awkward, and then needs fixing by a teacher.
Of course, this takes some study, to learn how to do this. And then some experience. But it’s a wonderful process to be in, beginning with your own body, your own life. So much good comes from here.
In many ways, this is what it means to be a Guide. It’s not that you’re teaching yoga, all the time. So many of us, Strala graduates everywhere, are implementing all this in everything we do, from art and architecture, to law and government, business and finance, health and healing.
Being a Guide means staying in this process of connection, harmony, ease, moving well. It means creating something clear in our way of being, in how we move through our lives, that points us in a good direction. And it does the same for the people around us.
Tara talked about this recently, following up from our trainings in London and Berlin. It’s about leading, how we move ourselves and each other. I’ll share with you a bit of what she wrote here.
“Saying the right things means little to nothing when you aren’t doing the right things. It’s nice to have what you say match what you do, and your words are only impactful if what you are doing is the practice.”
So it’s good to practice this, connection, harmony, ease, peace. More than anything, much more than what we say, it’s our being that we give to each other. It’s our being that creates everything there is.
– by Mike
About Strala Yoga Training
Strala combines the movement and healing wisdom of tai chi with the form vocabularies of yoga, tai chi, qigong, and Traditional Chinese and Japanese Medicine, to help people release stress, move easily through challenge, and live radiantly inspiring lives.
It begins with a mindset, that says our best way to get where we’re going is to feel good along the way. It also works miracles for whole health, helping us to find ease in our bodies and minds, and create the right conditions both for healing and optimal performance.
In our Strala Training Courses, you learn to shape your destiny on every level that counts, from your psychology, chemistry and neurology, to your chromosomes and even gene expression. The unique set of skills you develop – for connecting with yourself and others, unblocking your energy, healing what needs healing and accomplishing challenge with ease – uncovers your ability to create the life you want, and be an inspiring leader to the people around you.