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Showing posts with label alignment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alignment. Show all posts

Friday, 13 December 2019

Beginners yoga course


alignment anatomy beginners classes clients course new beginnings posture private special offer studio teaching workshop yoga yoga studio

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

New concepts

So, turned out that LETTING GO of some of the 'baggage' that I was holding on to actually had a massive impact on my pain levels. A LOT of therapy had gotten me to start realising and dealing with childhood stuff, and then some alternative healing sessions got me to a space of actually letting go of said issues, and then my pain all but vanished. For a while (but more on that here).Image result for yoga quotes
(update to New words)

So, turned out that LETTING GO of some of the ‘baggage’ that I was holding on to actually had a massive impact on my pain levels. A LOT of therapy had gotten me to start realising and dealing with childhood stuff, and then some alternative healing sessions got me to a space of actually letting go of said issues, and then my pain all but vanished. For a while (but more on that here).

Insert new word:



Well, not new, really. Just a very necessary clarification.

Psychosomatic means that there is a link between mind and body (I love my ‘business’s’ name), but it doesn’t mean that any pain experienced as a result of stress is in the person’s head. It is, in the sense that all pain is an interpretation of stimuli by the brain, but it isn’t in the sense of being ‘made up’. I struggled with that for YEARS. I had specialists (the ones who charge R1600 for half an hour ‘consultations’) tell me to go to therapy for my lower back pain. Yes, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) has its place in pain management, especially in learning to cope with chronic pain, but it isn’t going to heal your pain, because the pain isn’t all in your head, it isn’t made up. And only if you’ve been in that situation would you understand how frustrating and infuriating it is to be told that. And to have to pay that much to be told that crap.



This can all sound contradictory, I know. And it took me a long time (about four years from the first real ‘sign’) to admit and acknowledge just how strong the link between mind (in this case mainly chronic stress) and body (chronic lower back pain) is. It seems that having dealt with past stress and having let go of situations that were perpetuating that helped my brain let go of the overwhelming pain stimuli. I still have degeneration in my lumbar spine. I still have arthritis in several joints. The autoimmune stuff is still there. Stress had a physical effect on my body. The physical effects were triggered by psychological issues, but I have not made up the pain, I did not consciously decide or choose to be in pain, and I cannot just ‘let it go’ or ‘get over it’.

*deep breath*

Years of CBT has helped me get up in the mornings, and years of psychotherapy has gotten me to a point where I can acknowledge and let go of shit. And that has helped me to retrain my brain to not over react to pain stimuli. It took YEARS of work. As for the psychosomatic side, stress caused physical harm to my body*.

So if you come across someone who’s experiencing chronic pain, be nice to them, k? Thanks.



*derived from a process of elimination, with no other possible explanation besides, perhaps, an unknown/ undiagnosed autoimmune disease (most of which are still impossible to diagnose properly, and the etiology of which is vastly unknown


Image result for yoga quotes
Dunno who said this initially, but it rings too true
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Friday, 6 December 2019

About Celeste

My fascination with the human body started in high school when I developed and recovered from an eating disorder. I did my undergraduate degree in Dietetics at Pretoria University where I then started to develop an interest in the psychology behind eating. As I started with my postgraduate Masters degree at University of Cape Town I was introduced to Yoga (thanks, Mom!) and my passion for movement took off. I was immediately hooked, and delved into the connections between the body, the mind, and movement. I did both my 200-hour and 500-hour advanced teacher training courses at the Wellness Connection in Hout Bay, under the incredible guidance of Catherine Wilkinson. The strong focus on anatomy and alignment from both of these courses blends perfectly with my Pilates teacher training qualification, which I use to help clients with rehabilitation from injuries, as well as building up appropriate strength to avoid injury in more advanced yoga asana.

My fascination with the human body started in high school when I developed and recovered from an eating disorder. I did my undergraduate degree in Dietetics at Pretoria University where I then started to develop an interest in the psychology behind eating. As I started with my postgraduate Masters degree at University of Cape Town I was introduced to Yoga (thanks, Mom!) and my passion for movement took off. I was immediately hooked, and delved into the connections between the body, the mind, and movement. I did both my 200-hour and 500-hour advanced teacher training courses at the Wellness Connection in Hout Bay, under the incredible guidance of Catherine Wilkinson. The strong focus on anatomy and alignment from both of these courses blends perfectly with my Pilates teacher training qualification, which I use to help clients with rehabilitation from injuries, as well as building up appropriate strength to avoid injury in more advanced yoga asana.

The balance, peace, and harmony that comes with a regular yoga practise has been invaluable in my own life

I approach yoga with quite a bit of playfulness and lightness, with the aim of letting go of any seriousness, strain, or competitiveness that hinders the development and evolution of your yoga practise. The balance, peace, and harmony that comes with a regular yoga practise has been invaluable in my own life, and I wish to pass that on to all of those whom I have the pleasure of teaching. I enjoy combining elements of various yoga styles, but emphasise correct placement and posture in each asana, specifically to prevent injury, but also to help each yogi to achieve poses to the very best of their abilities. My interest in alignment emphasis stems from my own injuries, which have, retrospectively, been my greatest teachers. Not just for myself, but also in terms of how I approach and see other bodies, and my capability of understanding and guiding people through whatever it is that they are going through – be it good or bad.

The knowledge, experience and talents that I have to offer makes me greatly suited to guiding and educating any body to a better, more balanced body, mind and lifestyle.

Qualifications & experience

  • B Dietetics (TUKS)
  • MSc (Med) specialising in Dietetics (UCT)
  • Trained in Nutrition counselling for disordered eating
  • Advanced 200 and Advanced 500-hour Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor (10 years of practice and 6 years teaching experience)
  • Certified 200-hour Yoga Teacher Trainer (5 years of teacher training experience)
  • Certified Pilates Mat instructor (6 years teaching experience)
  • Movement rehabilitation (4 years experience)
  • Certified Aerial Yoga instructor
  • Certified Yin Yoga instructor
  • Massage therapist (5 years experience

If you'd like to hear more of my ramblings about my life with yoga, check out some of my recent blog posts!

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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Planting seeds

So, I love gardening. I'm actually currently in the middle of packing up my current home to move to a place with an actual garden (an actual garden as opposed to the garden of pot plants that I have foresting on my balconies).

And I recently planted a bunch of bulbs in little pots, along with lots of help from my dad who had the idea to sell little plants that are, in one way or another, related to yoga - combining two of my passions!

So, with all this green stuff happening around me (that's not to mention the new promo from Checkers where you get a little plant kit for every R150 that you spend there), I was tickled by the analogy coming up in one of the teacher training courses. A student referred to one of her favourite teachers 'planting seeds' in terms of where an easier yoga pose may be leading to. And I have fallen in love with said analogy (thank you, Sean, whose classes I am yet to go try out). The idea that your yoga practice is a young sapling, and little bud, or a very fresh new flower, or even just the sprouting roots of a newly planted clove of garlic! It has so much potential, as long as it is cared for, nurtured, and nourished. The plant doesn't rush ahead of itself to become a tree, or a gorgeous blooming flower. It takes its time. It feeds off of the nutrients around it. It struggles when it doesn't get enough light, or soil, or water. But it also thrives again when it does receive what it needs. But it takes time. Like any good and long-lasting yoga practice. It takes time, and care, and attention.
My cabbage seedlings from Checkers!! No idea
where I'm going to plant them when they get bigger....
A plant from my gran's garden that's FINALLY
started growing it's own little leaves!!


Lots of little seedlings making their way into
the big world!
Awwww, little heart-shaped leaves budding
from little bulbs under the soil :)
alignment blog mindfulness outdoor special offer teacher training teaching yoga

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Teaching and fear

Last week I was teaching a class, and there were only two students. So I asked them if there was anything in particular that they wanted to do. The one requested shoulder stand (Salamba sarvangasana), and the other wanted to deepen her backbends... not the best combination of poses to sequence for 😁 We decided to focus on the shoulder stand for that session.

...I was scared! For me, personally, Salamba sarvangasana is a horrid pose. I think it's because of my prominent C7 vertebra, but I get dizzy and see stars and feel nauseated very quickly in that pose. Similarly, but to a lesser extent in Halasana. Anyway. Besides not enjoying shoulder stand in my own personal practice, I also learned on my teacher training course that several prominent teachers and higher-ups had decided that teaching it unpropped, should not be done. Which makes perfect anatomical sense.

The cervical vertebrae are way smaller than your lumbar vertebrae, which are made to bear weight. Now you want to put close to your full body weight on your comparatively tiny cervical vertebrae, at a severe angle... with poor little C7 getting smooshed into the floor... So I was happy to not teach Salamba sarvangasana. Because I didn't like it, and because the propping takes a long time. More on that at a later stage.

Comparison between the three different types of vertebrae, showing the size of cervical vs. lumbar vertebrae.

BUT. I had asked the students what they wanted to do, and teaching Salamba sarvangasana became unavoidable. Which was fantastic for my growth as a yoga instructor. Because I forced myself to step way out of my comfort zone to sequence that class into a safe, properly activated and executed shoulder stand. Yes, I gave very many warnings about not feeling any pressure on the neck and properly engaging the shoulders, abdominals, back, and legs. Even more cautions than I would normally give 😁

And it worked!! I faced my fear, and I got both my students into beautiful, and completely safe propped Salamba sarvangasanas! I was admittedly relieved by the end of that session, but I felt like I had accomplished something. Like I'd gotten over a long-standing fear of mine. And you know what, I actually feel less scared now of including it in my own practice. Which I think is a fantastic thing. Of course, I would never do it unpropped, but I'm much less nervous about doing and teaching that pose now. And it feels good.
alignment anatomy blog classes teaching yoga

Friday, 27 October 2017

New words

Some of my clients, and all of my friends, are aware of my ongoing struggle with pain. Again something that I'll probably go into in more detail as time goes by, but, for now, I thought I'd share a little bit of my current frustration with you.

Fibromyalgia: widespread pain that is present for at least three months; must occur on both sides of the body, above and below the waist, and along the length of the spine. There must be pain in at least eleven of eighteen specific points in the body.


I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It's still largely a mystery to  health professionals, and used to be used as a I-don't-know-what-is-wrong-with-you-so-let's-diagnose-you-with-this thing. There have been some advances in the understanding of fibromyalgia, like, they can now prove the brain involvement with special MRI scans which would show that the brain perceives pain differently in someone with, as opposed to without the condition. Essentially your body becomes hypersensitive to pain.

The average person takes five years to be diagnosed. This is seriously painful... in more ways than one; going for that long without knowing what is causing your often constant discomfort, having no treatment for it, and usually being told to just 'get over it', is awful.

Because fibromyalgia is still a relatively new diagnosis, and because it's such a vast disorder (symptoms vary from pain in specific tender points of the body, to IBS, to insomnia, to depression), it is often misdiagnosed (for approximately five years). Similar symptoms appear in Rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia Rheumatica, Lyme disease, restless leg syndrome (aka Willis-Ekbom disease 😳), ankylosing spondylitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, major depression, thyroid disorders, myofascial pain syndrome, and multiple chemical sensitivity... If you understood all or most of those names, then you're either a well-trained physician, or you've been through the diagnoses wars.

If you're the latter, then my heart goes out to you. I feel your pain. And I wish you a speedy diagnosis, and a very wonderful and friendly doctor that understands your pain, too.

So far, smiling, laughing, and playing around as much as possible has been my best medicine. Doing (and sometimes teaching) yoga helps me to deal with the constant bugging annoyance of pain. Testing my limits every day, to see where my body is at, and, MOST importantly, listening when my body really just needs to rest, even if I feel like I'm just being a lazy poop, or like I'm over-reacting to the pain.









K, I've had enough of talking and typing about pain for now. So, my leaving message: just be kind to your body, dammit. And smile.



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