When we enter the practice of Yoga, we are doing something very different from other human activities. Yoga is a pursuit one simply does for its own sake. It won’t take you anywhere because you cannot go to the place you are now. Yoga is to be completely here and now, to stop the turnings in consciousness. This is what it means to concentrate, to be in your center, to come to your senses. What we call thinking or worrying is nothing more than the mind attempting to catch hold of reality in terms of symbols and definitions. This clutching at thought is the habit Yoga seeks to break in both mind and body.
Being naturally attracted to this sort of philosophy, I took my first Yoga class in 1992 in hopes of being able to live out this ideology. I was also looking for relief from back pain and hoping to reverse the early signs of scoliosis. That first experience of Yoga was one of absolute pain and misery. I often felt much worse after a class than before. I was also so embarrassed to be surrounded by people who obviously didn't have the same problems I did. I couldn't understand why the simple act of sitting was so incredibly difficult and uncomfortable. I was looking to relieve suffering, not increase it!
It was in 1995 that I had my first encounter with the Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique is a practical way of coordinating mind and body in all activities of living. Instead of relying on the habit of clutching, one learns to consciously choose how the body is used. Practicing the Alexander Technique brings about lighter and freer movements along with an expanded field of attention and awareness. With better coordination comes easier breathing, more comfort in sitting, and greater endurance in concentration. My Yoga practice became something much more enjoyable, something that better resembled the philosophy I had originally been so attracted to.
By bringing Yoga together with the Alexander Technique I hope to provide for my students a gentle experience of stilling the mind and allowing the body to enter a deep state of relaxation. Sitting in meditation can then enable the senses to awaken into the eternal here and now.