Mana Yoga Center Over 30 years practicing yoga, Michaelle has developed a unique inspiring core based yoga practice, Yogalign.

The YogAlign® Method of Yoga ~ Pain Free Yoga from Your Inner Core

Breathe your way to natural, painless movement. A YogAlign class includes:


  • Breath and posture tuning from the inside out with YogAlign's Structurally Informed Posture (SIP) technique.
  • Guided self-massage and experiential anatomy mapping.
  • Balance the fascia, or connective tissue, connections that determine our posture, movement and even our moods.
  • Dynamic stretching techniques creating strength and flexibility simultaneously.
  • Neuromuscular re-patterning with (PNF: Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation).
  • Natural movement and spine alignment poses simulating real life function.
  • Meditation focused on improving full body awareness and living in the present.
Stretch and exercise in natural spine alignment with painless and functional yoga positions that simulate how you actually move in your body.

Sitting or exercising with poor alignment leads to poor posture, shallow breathing and chronic pain. The YogAlign Method uses poses that support natural posture with anatomically correct spine alignment.

Exercising to get tight six-pack abs can actually weaken your deepest core muscles, compress your spine and lead to more back pain. Our exercises train your core muscles with your psoas to stabilize your spine and eliminate injuries and pain.
YogAlign is a safe, painless, precise exercise system that increases vitality, strength and flexibility. A unique flow style yogic practice, it develops beneficial patterns and blueprints for core natural alignment, effortless breathing and a deep kinesthetic awareness of the body, mind and spirit. It is a transformational tool for loving and nurturing the self that develops deep core strength and graceful effortless posture

YogAlign practitioners feel like they have been to a strength, flexibility and alignment session, done Pilates, had a massage and chiropractic adjustment, and undergone therapy with deep breathing while meditating all at the same time.

YogAlign works on many levels so that everyone in the class is able to progress, transform and find an edge no matter their level of yoga.

Many people are weekend athletes who unfortunately have to spend a great deal of time sitting in chairs or driving in cars with the spine collapsed and the head carried too far forward. Serious athletes also have posture problems from repetitive movements causing imbalances that set the stage for serious joint and muscle injuries. Most people have compensated for these activities by developing dysfunctional patterns in body alignment, muscle balance and breathing.

Ease, comfort, strength and presence are the building blocks of YogAlign. The techniques guide people to first eliminate unnecessary tension in the body, relax the mind and develop the ability to reside fully in the present. YogAlign practitioners are taught to move from the core of the body from the psoas, diaphragm connection. Arms are kept deep in the socket while lifting from the core, increasing the range of motion while stabilizing the muscles and ligaments of the joints. Self-massage techniques are woven into classes to stimulate energy meridians and give the body the signal that it is not under attack and can release deeply held tension.

YogAlign recognizes the innate intelligence of the body and gives people tools to transform themselves and truly become their own best teacher.
Do you know where your psoas muscles are?

Psoas muscles

Diaphragm muscle showing psoas attachment

Psoas muscles connect your spine to your legs. The inner ribs connect to the perimeter of the diaphragm muscle from the toes looking up with psoas connection shown cut away. YogAlign shows you how to activate the psoas/diaphragm connection for radiant health and dynamic movement patterning.

One of the reasons people are drawn to yoga is to find peace in the mind and body. Unfortunately many of these people are finding that some ways of practicing yoga can hurt and they are getting injured or feel pain, tension and frustration from attempting postures that are taught and performed in an externalized, competitive, goal-oriented manner. Many give up, deciding that they just cannot do yoga. I have found some of the popular sequences being taught in many yoga classes to be harmful to the natural alignment of the hips, spine, neck and shoulder girdle. People are being asked to climb a mountain, so to speak, before they know how to put in the proper protection.

YogAlign recognizes the innate intelligence of the body and gives people tools to transform themselves and truly become their own best teacher. In my years of teaching, I have found that this process of transformation does not have to become a long, arduous task. Practitioners of YogAlign feel relaxed, energized and aligned from the very first class. They learn a process of yoga that they can apply to all aspects of their lives to become truly present and in union with the body, mind, and spirit. Yoga poses are powerful templates that can heal you or harm you. The practitioner must become his or her own best teacher by learning to develop deep awareness of the quality of energy in the mind and body.







Save Our Sacrums!

Yoga injuries are epidemically on the rise, and the most common injury is related to the sacrum. The truth is thousands of people are getting injured, many think they cannot do yoga, and some are sustaining serious injuries. Most people think it is because teachers are inexperienced or people are pushing too hard. However, I believe the biggest reason is that certain yoga poses are not natural for the human body. These yoga poses put the trunk of the body at a right angle to straightened legs.

When the legs are straightened and the ankles are flexed as in boat pose and seated forward bends, there is a tremendous compressive force put on the spine and sacrum. These are not natural human positions and there is no right way to do them. We are designed to squat! Primitive people who do not have furniture stay fit and flexible into extreme old age because they never sit in chairs. If you hate seated forward bends, I think you are very correct to dislike them. They are actually quite harmful for your body. YogAlign encourages the practitioner to use discernment and natural alignment models to decide when a pose is beneficial.



For the highly flexible who do the poses with ease, you may be destabilizing the sacrum in the long term. It is not a good idea to stretch your ligaments as you will weaken your joints by doing so. Look in a mirror at your body from the side in the lower back sacrum area. If your sacrum does not have a natural uplifting tilt and you look flat in the butt, you are chronically over-stretching your sacral-lumbar ligaments.


The natural vaulted bridge position of the sacrum has an anatomical purpose. If it is flattened, body weight then compresses into your hip and knee area. I have found many yogis who continue to practice these poses or do the tuck your tailbone adjustment are having hip replacements, SI joint pain and back surgeries.





We sit in chairs all day compressing our spine and sacrums and there is an epidemic of back pain because of it. The oxymoron of yoga is that many poses put your spine in the same compression as sitting in chairs. If we sit on the floor and try to extend our legs, inside the body the psoas muscles compress the spine at the origin in the lumbar sacral area. Many people teach that your ankles should be flexed as well when bending forward. When you flex your ankles and extend through your heels, the abdominals which connect through the fascia when you flex, then engage and restrict breathing. When the abdominals are pulled in, the diaphragm and psoas cannot function well for deeper breathing. These type of poses deliver a double whammy, you get a compressed spine and discs, weakening of the psoas and an inhibition of the diaphragm.

In the YogAlign system, poses are used only to strengthen natural spinal alignment and diaphragmatic breathing. Any pose which reverses the natural curves in the spine is considered contraindicated and unnatural. Even what is dysfunctional can start to feel normal. In other words, we get used to pain and compression and we begin to disassociate from our bodies. For many people, this includes forcing to do yoga poses which are unnatural and ignoring signals from the body to stop.

In my years of teaching yoga, many people have come to me with yoga injuries from practicing boat, staff, and seated forward bends. If you have any problems at all with your sacrum or SI joints, do not do these straight legged poses. For the highly flexible who do the poses with ease, you may be destabilizing the sacrum in the long term. It is not a good idea to stretch your ligaments as you will weaken your joints by doing so. Look in a mirror at your body from the side in the lower back sacrum area. If your sacrum does not have a natural uplifting tilt and you look flat in the butt, you are chronically overstretching your sacral-lumbar ligaments. The natural vaulted bridge position of the sacrum has an anatomical purpose. If it is flattened, body weight then compresses into your hip and knee area. I have found many yogis who continue to practice these poses or do the tuck your tailbone adjustment are having hip replacements, SI joint pain and back surgeries.

With repetitive practice of yoga poses that do not simulate how your body is designed to move in real life function, yogis become hypermobile in the ligaments that connect the sacrum to the pelvis. Many add abdominal tightening exercises that flex the spine leading to more compression of the hip socket. Extreme flexion and extension of the joints, especially the spine over time wears out the forces needed to keep our joints stable and strong.

Compression in the lumbar region or lower back causes the head of the femur bone to be pushed into the back of the hip socket as we lean forward, leading to Femoral Acetabula Impingement syndrome, and even hip replacements.

Being too flexible can be a huge liability, and many people do not engage functional strength forces in their practice but simply ‘hang’ from their joints, pulling on their ligaments, and undermining the necessary tensional forces that keep joints stable during movement.

With YogAlign we put you back in natural alignment without painful poses, compressive twists or toe touching poses. By coming into alignment, this allows the forces of your body to heal itself. We focus instead on increasing the expansion and lift of the trunk using the deep postural breathing muscles. Posture is everything and you can truly change your life if you change your posture.

EXPERIENTIAL ANATOMY LESSON

Everything that man invents needs to evolve. Imagine if we still believed the world was flat? Well the human body is made of curves and not straight lines. Bending with the knees straight undermines our curving forces. Just watch a toddler move. They are the posture gurus.

Tucking the pelvis or tailbone is a way of engaging the abdominals to create flexion of the spine and that has caused many to get hip replacements and have knee and neck issues since the body is a continuum where all parts affect the whole.

We age by flexing forward and this creates lumbar flexion which compresses the spine, pulls the head forward and leads to among other things; congestive heart failure and osteoporosis. By the way 80% of Osteoporosis cases are women.

We do need to be careful doing forward bends because they put the lumbar spine in flexion and also engage the abdominal trunk muscles via the nervous system software to create this movement. You cannot do a forward bend without contracting your abs. So do we want to train our abs to perform a function which enlists them as flexors instead of stabilizers? Just hold your navel in and try to walk around. Feels bad right?

Now hold your navel in and try to walk without bending your knees. What happens? It feels restricted but also you can feel how the ligament forces in the lumbar sacral region as well as the knees feel strained. Well, straight leg seated forward bends are like the perfect storm.
Here is what is happening far beyond the idea of stretching your hamstrings, (which are connected to your eyebrows through the back line of fascial connections)

Forward bends enlist forces that:

  • Engage Abs as flexors
  • Over-stretch the SI joint
  • Rotate the pelvis posteriorly
  • Stretch spine ligaments that keep vertebrae connected
  • Uses muscle forces to reverse the natural curves of the spine. yikes
  • Push the head of the femur back into the acetabulum, at the same time the ligaments of the hip needed for stabilization are getting stretched past neutral pelvis
  • Anterior spine is compressed and could cause disc herniation (In people with osteoporosis) Doctors recommend no straight leg seated forward bending because it causes compression fractures!

    We do not walk or run or do any movement with our knees straight so what is the point of stretching that way? We are designed to move so we need to consider if yoga poses or exercises are helping us to do that. We need to connect our parts together from the center not stretch the seams that are the very forces that hold us together.

    Flexibility in this manner is highly over-rated and dangerous and based on linear ideas engaging the human body in a compartmentalized muscle isolationist belief system. There are no straight lines in organic nature. YogAlign spine aligner pose engages the deep postural forces of the body.

  • For reservations and appointments contact: yogalignkauai@gmail.com
    Call: 808-652-3823 or 808-652-3823


    YogAlign Classes weekly on Kauai at Mana Yoga Center
    click here for schedule

    Private yoga classes for individuals or groups available.

    Bring Michaelle to your town!
    Schedule a Change your Posture ~ Change your Life Workshop


       


    ©2001-2013 Michaelle Edwards. All rights reserved.
    Site Designed by Lolouila