Gabriel developed these principles over decades of working with people of all ages and abilities.
Principle #1. Do no harm.
Listen to your body! Pay attention to sensations of pain, tingling, or numbness during and after class. Keep your joints open and unlocked. If you notice an inner voice urging you to push past the pain or to do a pose “better” than your neighbor, just smile and breathe and remind your ego to stay off the mat. To learn more about how “ego yoga” can cause long-term damage to the body, see Gabriel’s Story.
Principle #2. Maintain a neutral spine.
By positioning the body correctly, the weaker areas of the spine receive less stress as the body stretches or strengthens. Never sacrifice structural integrity for increased range of motion.
Principle #3. Strengthen the structural muscles.
Strengthen your glutes, transverse abdominals, obliques, deltoids, and neck muscles. Build integrity in all joints. All daily activities benefit when the body’s muscles and joints are stronger. Strengthen muscles to protect and help the joints.
Principle #4. Emphasize a functional range of motion.
How much flexibility do you need? Having a functional range of motion is better than extreme flexibility, which creates tendon, ligament, and joint instability as the body ages.
Principle #5. Exhale when lifting body weight.
Exhaling releases body weight stress during weight-bearing exercises. Holding the breath or inhaling while performing the strenuous part of an exercise creates deep stress for heart and brain. Headaches and dizziness are signs of breathing backwards.
Principle #6. Adapt to the individual.
All bodies are different and have different stressors. Do your own yoga, not someone else’s. Learn about your body so you can do what is best for you. The benefits of Gabriel’s Yoga Therapy apply to all, but how you get there is entirely unique to you.
Principle #7. Move appropriately in and out of poses.
How we get into or out of a pose is the best way to learn about how the body uses momentum, compensation, and ego to achieve a pose we are not ready for. Forced momentum or compensation is not yoga and will cause harm in the long term.
Principle #8. Allow yoga to influence how you sit, stand, move, and sleep.
Learn about better ways to do these daily activities — sit straighter, stand taller, move freely, sleep better. Consider how to improve your sleep position to reduce stress on hips, spine, and neck.
Principle #9. Ice.
Use this great tool daily to reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. Apply ice for 10 to 12 minutes, and then remove it for at least half an hour. Repeat up to three times in a session. Do not put ice directly on your skin as this can damage your skin or nerves and even cause frostbite. Twelve minutes is maximum – if you apply ice longer than that, it can do more harm than good. Ice is also a crucial element in Gabriel’s Yoga Therapy for Sciatic Relief.
Principle #10. Leave seated forward folds, bends, and twists off the mat.
These poses cause the most harmful stress on the modern Western body, especially the sacrum, low back, and neck. Continually overstretching tendons and ligaments causes debilitating structural weakness. Long-term injury is almost inevitable if you attempt these poses daily. Gabriel’s Yoga Therapy uses other poses and movements to lengthen the spine and strengthen the core without placing any strain on the back or neck.
Have a question? Ready to sign up? Email Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org.