You’re Doing It Wrong

This cat is not showing proper alignment . . . probably.

This cat is not showing proper alignment . . . probably.

So one thing I’ve noticed in my obsessive study of . . . what was it again . . . oh, right yoga, is that everything is a brand.  People want to claim something that is supposedly an ancient tradition is their idea because money.  There are so many kinds of yoga and just as many yoga-ish programs.

Some of these have interested me because of my loosely attached neck that goes creeeak when I move.  I’m desperate because clearly doctors aren’t going to do anything unless I actually break my neck, which somehow I have thus far avoided.

But I don’t want to get taken either.  I’ll give you a few examples.  First up is the MELT Method created by Sue Hitzman.  Basically, it’s a foam roller.  That costs 40  bucks.  And a 20 dollar book that tells you how to roll on it.  The rolling is supposed to massage your muscles and prevent pain.  I think it also cures Leprosy.  It sounds pretty stupid, and yet . . . people say it works.  Is it just placebo?  Is it so bad if it is just the placebo effect?

I'm meltinggggg, I'm meltinggggggggg . . .

I’m meltinggggg, I’m meltinggggggggg . . .

I guess it depends on if you’re being harmed by it or not.  When investigating melting, I found a site of physical therapists who really, really hated this program.  Apparently, in an effort at D.I.Y., people managed to hurt themselves.  With a foam noodle.  That’s pretty impressive.  And then the therapists have to correct their correcting.  Sort of like when certain men think they can fix a house despite having no knowledge of house fixing because IS MAN (cue grunt).

Another one is called Yoga Tune Up.  Instead of a roller, Jill Miller has balls.  No, not those kind, I mean the kind you bounce.  They are toys for children.  Oh just . . . look at a picture, then.

Check out my balls!

Check out my balls!

From what I understand, they are Pinky bouncy balls (1 buck a piece at Wal-Mart) that she slapped a label on which ups the price to 12 bucks for two of them. Impressive.  She has you roll around on the balls on the floor or up against the wall.  It’s supposed to also work those sore muscles.  I tried this with one of my unlabeled Pinky balls.  I then wondered if this was such a good idea, rolling a ball up against my spine since I don’t know what I’m doing and spines are pretty important, or so I hear.  Jill does have experience with both physical therapy and yoga, whereas I mostly have experience in smacking into walls and falling over.

Finally, I stumbled upon something called YogAlign by Michaelle Edwards.  She says that the postures people commonly do in yoga are bad because bodies aren’t supposed to be right angles, they’re supposed to be all curvy.  So you know how you can’t bend over straight and touch your toes?  You aren’t supposed to – apparently this is why we have those bendy things called knees.

Well, she's aligned, but she's aligned over a lake.  That doesn't look promising.

Well, she’s aligned, but she’s aligned over a lake. That doesn’t look promising.

A lot of it makes sense, but in order to test it I have to pay 60 bucks for a book and a DVD.  The only thing I’ve heard from this program is praise.  Also, the creator of this program is really good at self promotion.  I mean, really, really good to the point of STOP IT ALREADY.  Find an article about yoga somewhere, and she’ll have comments on it that just happen to advertise her new form of yoga.

She could be right.  On the other hand, I find it suspicious that suddenly one person has discovered all the answers.  After all these years one person said, hey, bodies shouldn’t go bendy like that so let’s totally redesign yoga.  And then market it.  You can find her book on Amazon – there are only glowing positive reviews.  Either she really is the Yoga Messiah or something fishy is going on.  For one thing, I’m curious about just how different her methods are from the modifications you can find in many yoga books already, but at 60 bucks that’s a lot for an experiment.

But what if she’s right?  Or what if the other two are right?  All I need is some balls (cough) and a roller and the knowledge of how to do yoga differently than every other yoga teacher and I’ll feel better.  Or maybe I should just make up my own yoga program and make money and then I won’t care that my neck hurts because I will be able to hire someone to hold up my neck while I walk.

Try the Alice program now!  We promise results!

Try the Alice program now! We promise results!

What do you guys think?  Have you heard of any of these programs?  I’d love to know.  Also, check out the new Alice Roller Ball Yoga, on sale soon.

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49 responses

  1. Yes, your own system…Whirling Curvish. Don’t investigate melting too deeply, it sounds too much like Wicked Witchy behavior. If it happened in Oz it could happen in Wonderland.
    Later…

    1. What a world, what a worlddddddd . . . .

      1. Hi Alice, I absolutely love your blog and this article, if you are doing yoga wrong. I am Michaelle Edwards, the creator of YogAlign and yes I am on a bit of a crusade to help people get aligned without pain or props. By the way, you are right about the balls; there is no greater massage tool than the human hand.
        You are correct that I am popping up everywhere in an attempt to get people to understand that you cannot rub pain out of your body with balls or rollers. Its a band-aid because what needs to happen is to get to the root of why things feel sore. YogAlign works on the body globally so that parts that are trying to support weakness from the core get deprogrammed. Also we use a specialized breathing technique that aligns the spine from the inside out and creates lift and expansional forces so that the periphery forces are not trying to support the infrastructure. We have chairs to thank for all of our alignment and pain woes.
        I am afraid that many people are going to wind up with hip replacements from doing yoga poses that undermine the stabilization forces in the hip joint in particular. WE are not made to be in right angles. This is why we hate chairs and why sitting is called the new smoking.
        Did you see this NY times article?
        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/sunday-review/womens-flexibility-is-a-liability-in-yoga.html?_r=0

        My book is about $60 with shipping and it includes a DVD and almost 400 pages of the technique and hundreds of photos too. I would like to offer you a free book and DVD . ( no obligation) You just seem like someone really searching for answers. My program is not a gimmick and it requires everyone to take responsibility for their own health. We do not have a health care crisis in this country, its called a self care crisis. YogAlign allows people to get aligned and toned quickly with unique self healing tools that I created after I was injured doing yoga. Also as a professional bodyworker for many years, I felt a need to create a yoga style that actually works at the nervous system level so that innate posture and breathing habits can be changed at the source. It is easy, fun and also everyone can do it. I am the only yoga teacher ( as far as I know) who photographs her clients before and after to show how it works. oops there I go again. I am just so darn excited to show people how easy it is to be flexible and aligned and, hey guess what you do not have to beat yourself up to feel good. Also naturally aligned posture takes no effort because nature would not design a life form that is full of tension the way most humans are. YogAlign is about balancing tensional forces that hold us together and keep us upright. My work in creating YogAlign has been over two decades of work and thousands of clients. This is not a fad. Postural alignment is the most important determinant of health and vitality. YogAlign is about getting aligned not performing poses.. with aloha from Kauai, Michaelle
        http://www.yogalign.com

        1. Michaelle – wow, thank you so much for your comment. It’s true, I am searching for answers to stress. I have studied your website and wondered about your methods but I just didn’t have the money to test it. I definitely need calm in my life, but I want to do it safely. I would love to have a free book and DVD. How do I contact you to accept this offer?

          1. Hi Alice, great to hear back from you ! Just send me an email to yogalignkauai@gmail.com with your mailing address and I will have one shipped to you on Monday!

  2. I have not heard of any of those – but I’m not a Yoga guru – and I like to fall down a lot. I totally think I’m meant to bend at right angles, left angles, two winged angels – whatever – I’m a bendy-band. But yes, a lot of money is spent on branding one’s own form of “I KNOW IT!” – even Bikram is a bit of brand-whore; well a lot really – but since I like his style, I’m willing to pay…

    1. And it seems to work for you. I guess technically we can harm ourselves in millions of different ways. I could, say, poke myself in the eye with my fork while eating and accidentally break my brain and die. I know a lot of the ones who have a “new method” say the other ones cause someone, after years of doing it, to have hip replacements, etc. How do they know for sure it was the yoga that did it? Maybe they have bad aim with forks too, who knows?

      1. A fork in the eye can do untold damage that might not be seen for YEARS!

        Yes, people are basically willing to say most anything to get you buy their $20 balls.

        1. It certainly takes a lot of balls – or it should take a lot of balls to equal 20 bucks. I can just see the men wincing while she squeezes that ball sack.

  3. I tried the giant ball..and boy did it hurt when I lost my balance and landed on my ass. Never again, I tell ya..

    1. I’ve seen the giant ball. Supposedly you’re supposed to sit on it at your desk to help you with stability. I can just imagine how professional that would look. Especially since I wouldn’t be able to help bouncing around on it till I fell over.

      1. It only took me 39 seconds until I went tumbling down. A record, I am sure.

    2. When I had physical therapy for my knee, I had to do squats with one of those giant balls squished between my back and the wall.

      1. Did you stay upright for long?

  4. I don’t do Yoga, so I couldn’t tell you, but you should totally make your own Yoga and market it. Hipsters would be all over that.

    1. Yeah, yeah, I just need a PLAN. Some catchy name and some new old moves. Then I can discover a miracle cure, just like Columbus discovered America despite the fact that people were already living there.

  5. Make up some new yoga! We can call it 50 Shades of Yoga. Think about it, we’ll get the yoga fans AND the 50 Shades fans! Throw in the words Kama Sutra, and we’ll be billionaires!

    1. I see this becoming huge!
      Alice designs the program, you illustrate the books.
      Need investors?
      I just got my tax return, plenty of pennies to spare lol

      1. Yes, if you give us money, we’ll be sure to name a new pose after you. Downward Dog will become Doggie Style and thus get much more popular right away.

    2. I like it, I like it, yes. We could integrate buttplugs, floggers, and giant crosses into yoga. It wouldn’t be too hard. Just imagine “Legs Up the Wall” pose while shackled to the cross. Or you could have “partner yoga” where your partner slaps your hiney with a whip while you do Downward Dog.

  6. I’ve tried to get into yoga, but each time I ended up with a disc bulge or some other musculo-skeletal injury requiring several pounds worth of physiotherapy. My last foray into yoga was cut short by a sadistic instructor. I say: forget about yoga. Go with pilates – far more natural. Or.. there’s always yogalates. (I didn’t make it up). You can borrow a book about it from the library. Cheap as chips. By the by, that long and winding neck – while listening to me read Alice in Wonderland, my daughter (then aged 4.5) looked at the drawing of Alice in extended neck mode and said: ‘O, she looks like a Barbie doll.’ So perceptive on so many levels.

    1. I DID google yogalates. Huh. I admit I really don’t see that much difference in yoga and pilates except that pilates changes the names of some of the yoga poses and comes up with a few new ones (sort of like when the Romans took over the Greek gods).

      I like your daughter’s comment. Most people think of her big chest, but she also has an unnaturally long neck. I’d like to see Yoga Barbie myself – a Barbie whose legs you can bend back behind her head. Except I’d just leave her like that.

      1. 😛 Yes! Bendy Barbie, or Gumby Barbie, simpler still, Bumbie. Actually, pilates postures feel a lot more natural to me. I used pilates to strengthen my pelvic floor post-childbirth… to stem the leaks. Successful, too, provided I don’t attempt the trampoline on a half-full bladder.

  7. My wife tells me I should do yoga. Not sure I ever will, I prefer standard stretches and running. (if I actually workout)

    1. Yoga pretty much is stretching. Well, stretching and balancing and breathing. You get a nap at the end. I like that part best.

      1. I like naps. Stretching is good, but breathing and balancing too? That is three things to do at one time…

  8. I’m a sucker of exercise program (I used to own a thighmaster and an ab roller) but those yoga balls look pretty stupid.

    1. The way she’s holding them cracks me up. LOOK I’ve got your balls in my hand!

  9. not of ..”for” maybe I need a yoga ball?

    1. Maybe. I hope you got a chance to read my 50 Shades parody with Bambi Vagina and her true love Dick Head. That is if the doctor thinks your PTSD can handle it. You might need to watch a few more dating shows first.

  10. I vaguely remember hearing from a reliable source that rolling a tennis ball under your foot was supposed to be good for something, but I forget what. Probably not neck creakiness, though.

    1. It’s probably good for falling down, I bet.

  11. Until very recently I didn’t know that a lot of these programs are copyrighted. Many of these yoga studios are just like any other franchise which makes me sad. A harsh business environment seems so contrary to everything yoga stands for and wants you to accomplish…

    1. Power Yoga is the one that gets me the most. Cause you just know the ancient yogis were all aerobizizin’ their bad selves! The idea of sitting still a moment, and just being is so foreign to many Americans. You’re lazy if you aren’t doing a thousand things at once – badly. They won’t even stay for naptime, er savasana, but leap up and run off to the next thing. The nap is the best part PEOPLE.

      If you want a big workout, do a big workout, but don’t call it yoga. Okay, off my little stinky soap box.

      1. No, from what I know I totally agree with you. A loved friend of mine recently became a yoga teacher, but she’s just like you’re saying “doing a thousand things at once”, and the working environment at these franchises, imho, is far, far away from being relaxing in any way.

  12. I tried rolling around on my big balls and foam noodle. I didn’t feel any better, but now my doc says I’ll never be able to have kids. Thanks yoga!

    1. There are always hidden benefits to many of these products.

  13. (cue grunt) You mean, I can’t fix the house just because I’m a man?
    Hmm, I guess I was right to wonder why I was always needed a saw while doing plumbing projects…
    Eagerly awaiting Alice’s Roller Ball Yoga. I won’t be doing the yoga, but I can use the book to prop something up (it’s an established method of fixing things in my house) and I can use the DVD as a cat toy or something…

    1. Some men can – the ones they call contractors, etc. My husband seems to think he can, but I prefer he stick to cars since he’s a mechanic, rather than experiment on my house.

  14. I thought I had a witty reply to this, but I don’t.

    From the sounds of it, it’s not so much yoga that’s the problem as simply living. The only way to live forever is to not get conceived in the first place, I think…

    1. Or to get a foam roller.

      1. Nah, because that could cause injury. If you’ve not been born, then you can’t die, right?

        I think I’m just running in cynic mode at the moment – possibly relating to the fact that Sad Pony seems to have visted over the weekend.

        1. I understand. Sad Pony has been sitting on my chest and refuses to move. Meanwhile Squirrel races around my head saying look at another site, just one more, look again, let’s go!

          1. It’s enough to make you scream, isn’t it? Why can’t Sad Pony go and sit on Squirrel’s head for you? *love & hugs*

  15. Rohan 7 Things | Reply

    My mother practiced and taught hatha yoga for over 20 years. Then she discovered The Feldenkrais method: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feldenkrais_Method

    She hasn’t done a yoga session since, thats over 4 years ago and she’s never felt happier or healthier lol.

    Yoga was originally designed as a physical means to reach self realization, to transcend. Of course like everything it get’s turned into a fad and milked like crazy.

    If you’re looking for self realization, regularly practicing hatha yoga might help. If you’re looking for basic pain relief and health give these a shot:

    The Alexander Technique

    The Feldenkrais Method

    (a book) Freedom from Pain by Peter Levine

    Honestly you can thrown the fitness fad stuff in the garbage. The three methods mentioned above will solve your problem.

    All the best!

    Rohan.

    1. Thanks, Rohan. I will look into these.

      Alice

  16. Hi Alice! I practice and teach Michaelle’s YogAlign method as well. When I found Michaelle’s work I had so much neck pain I could not sleep, and could barely walk from hip pain. I had tried foam rollers (and actually was hurting mysel), “miracle balls” (blue bouncy balls, jokes insued), but nothing worked. Even with massage, chiropractic and acupuncture, I was in daily chronic pain. I am a licensed massage therapist, and have taken a Pilates teacher training; Michaelle’s book is a textbook with an incredible wealth of information that connected so many pieces of science that I had been seeking and studying. Lots of her clients find her on YouTube, where she has many free videos that introduce you to the technique.
    Her work gave me the tools to heal my pain and reclaim my life. I love teaching this to others as well, and understand the skepticism that comes from “miracle products” being constantly shoved down our throats. I look forward to hearing your feedback on the book!

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