Alignment. Just hearing the word makes most people feel bad. And sit up straight. And worry whether it’s straight enough. And worry even more when they have to strain to stay straight.
Both as a student who practices this work, and as a teacher who teaches it, I have no interest in anyone feeling this way. At all. It’s not remotely close to what I want for you.
This old-school, rule-driven approach makes everyone so tense that we become more worried about being right than being right with our bodies. Besides, even if we were able to relax through the rules, the yelling, and the overthinking, they are beside the point. Rules are not the work. Fretting is not the work. And neither is anything like what Align Up is about.
Align Up shows you the specific practices that allow you to deeply relax—the actual mechanics of letting go, as required by your own particular body. It is an approach to fitness unlike that of most modalities in the fitness-industrial complex because it not only centers around you, but it is unique to you. You will learn to listen to the messages that your own body is sending about finding its optimum health. The messages embedded in your breath. I want us to discover the best and most pleasurable path to wellness. Together, we will test routes to the deep resting in your bones, teaching your body’s core and muscles the immense pleasure of tuning your body in to gravity. Your life will feel doable. The ways you’re inspired to move, easily attainable.
Align Up merges together a number of longtime practices and schools of body mechanics, together they have become something bigger than the sum of their parts:
The brilliant research of Noelle Perez-Christiaens, Ph.D. at Institut Superieur Aplomb and her 30 years plus of research of healthy, active people into their old age as the roadmap.
Chen Taiji as demonstrated and taught by Grand Master Chen Xiaowang, and his brother Chen Xiaoxing: healthy alignment, the building of chi and the deeply relaxing and healing strength gained through this art.
Dr. David Berceli (TRE: Tension Release Exercises) who developed TRE and harnessed our body’s innate ability to heal by a deep letting go of our stress and our most painful stories.
But it’s informed as well by all of my teachers and coaches over the years I have been learning and practicing alignment—yoga and tai chi, and meditation. By the progress that inevitably came from their compassionate teachings (and the lack of progress that came out of the opposite). With each Align Up session we connect to our inner-animal, gently coaxing it out, offering ourselves our own kindness.
The core of Align Up work is an incredibly simple, convenient practice that anyone can do throughout the day sitting or laying down. It’s part meditation, part alignment. It’s grounding, relaxing, agility training, and strengthening. It is beneficial for people with pain (back, hip, neck, etc.) and with fatigue issues. It helps weekend warriors and professional athletes to prevent pains and injuries, as well as to up their game. Considerably.
I hope you’ll join me, like my lovely student up there on the left, in exploring new ways to deepen the dialogue with our bodies in any given moment. Whether you choose to learn and practice Align Up or not, I believe that if you come to this blog with an open mind and a willingness to examine everything you’ve heard from the fitness industry about being strong, you will come away with a lot: a pain-free life of movement filled with joy, inspiration, and wonder.
Copyright © 2013 Karen Engler