I was trained as a yoga teacher and massage therapist beginning in the 1980s. Even so, I continued to experience recurring stiffness and pain. It wasn’t uncommon for me to injure myself in small ways while practicing yoga, and over time, I developed a chronic hip problem that sometimes kept me awake at night. While I appeared to have gained in “flexibility” from all the stretching, I didn’t realize that I had become dependent on stretching just to feel okay. In fact, it was the relief I felt after a good session of stretching, having released the tension trapped inside chronically tight muscles, that played a role in my falling in love with yoga in the first place.
By the mid-1990s, I had the good fortune to learn about the work of Jean Couch, founder of the Balance Center in Palo Alto, California, who was teaching what she had learned from Noelle Perez of Paris, France.
Noelle had developed concepts related to the body’s natural alignment based on her observations of adults and young children in the world, who moved with graceful ease and were free from stiffness and pain.
The story is a long one, so I’l jump to the part where I traveled from my home on the Big Island of Hawaii to have a session with Jean. Never would I have imagined that that first session would change my entire perception of my body and shine a light on the chronic misalignment that was causing me to “need” to stretch in order to hold the resulting discomfort at bay. I was in my late 40s by then, my three children were in various stages of being on the verge of launching into college, and I had no way of knowing that the entire trajectory of my life was about to take a dramatic turn.
In the twenty-five years since I first came to understand how to re-inhabit my body the way Nature had in mind for these human bodies, I’ve traveled to many places in the world and met with and photographed people who successfully live their entire lives according to this design. I’ve written books on this subject and taught principles of natural alignment to countless people in the classes and workshops I’ve taught. I’ve designed small, portable posture aid products, and I’ve now created an online course that makes this information available to anyone who wishes to learn this.
I’m 73-years-old as I write these words, and I can say with unending gratitude that I am far more limber, stronger, and comfortable than I was when I was in my 20s, 30s and 40s—and I haven’t stretched in well over twenty years!
Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than introducing these principles of alignment to someone and then knowing how much they have benefitted from applying this to themselves!
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