WHAT IS CRITICAL ALIGNMENT?
Freedom of movement is vital and essential for both our physical and emotional well-being. Chronic tension, injuries, and stress negatively affect our daily life. Critical Alignment (CA) is a movement method that releases tension and stress and combines medical anatomical insights with psychological knowledge. Through the CA practice, people will break the downward spiral of tension and stress, and finally be able to perceive feelings like ease, lightness, energy, and space.
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What is Critical Alignment?
The proactive Critical Alignment method distinguishes itself from passive relaxation and meditation exercises. It combines relaxation with movement. CA focuses not only on treating physical symptoms but also on the (physical or psychological) cause of the problem to prevent a recurrence.
The Critical Alignment method is offered on 2 levels (click on the link for a detailed explanation):
What distinguishes Critical Alignment (CA) from other yoga traditions?
Based on tradition and science
CA has been developed through intensive studies of existing yoga traditions, movement sciences, and modern psychology. The method uses a new combination of these disciplines.
In the (400+ pages) book of CA founder Gert van Leeuwen, he provides the philosophical, psychological, and scientific background of the method. The book offers comprehensive, illustrated descriptions of human movement patterns, the CA method, and the asanas. <insert link to buy book>
New insights into the body
CA uses a system of 11 movement chains based on connections between the bones. By following these connections in the body, each asana can be practiced in full balance.
The CA method is based on the idea that the upper back should be straight rather than curved. This ‘J-spine’ shape allows the body to release physical exertion from e.g., prolonged sitting, postural preferences in daily movements, and sports activities. In doing so, our regular actions leave no trace in the body.
CA offers a new connection between movement and relaxation, which distinguishes between movement muscles and postural muscles. Movement muscles are activated by willpower. Postural muscles become active through relaxation: the right alignment of the body will cause a reflex-activation in the postural muscles
New insight into stress and trauma release
The cause of all tension is based on our behavior during social interactions. Our negative response is (unconsciously) driven by old fears, traumas, and stress, whereby our natural needs are suppressed. This suppression creates tension in our bodies and instantly blocks the relationship between the outside world, our body, and our inner world. Once this relationship is restored, the body can produce connective feelings, such as the experience of space, tranquility, lightness, and relaxation. We can learn to look at tension from these feelings, rather than from our stress-related strategies
Language cannot articulate the experience of repressed feelings. After all, emotions are experienced in the body. If we want to break through the structural tension and trauma that have determined our posture, we must start from the body. We can resolve trauma through the body.
New insight into teaching
CA uses a new, comprehensive, “problem-oriented” teaching model.
CA’s teaching method creates a secure link between active yoga postures, our experience, and meditation. This allows the positive effect of CA to be experienced immediately in daily life.
The CA method uses a specific language style, based on the idea of relaxation in movement.
The lessons are built from a clear structure. Each part of a class is a coherent part of a larger plan, namely, to move beyond the limits of your comfort zone without willpower. Willpower is replaced by confidence.
The unique and ingenious props make it possible to mobilize seemingly inaccessible parts of the body, releasing tensions with gravity, pressure, and relaxation.
By using the props, all students experience the same tension in precisely the same location. This allows the teacher to accurately guide the process of releasing stress and regaining trust, step by step, layer by layer.
The CA therapy branch offers a unique method, in which students learn to take their lives back into their own hands. The transformation is based on the fact that it is not the teacher nor the method who is responsible for the healing process. The CA Therapy method supports the development of the clients. Still, it is the client who must confront the personal, more deep-seated tensions himself. This process ensures that the client takes matters into his own hands and, therefore, can go through life more confidently.