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Critical Alignment Yoga

Crit­i­cal Align­ment Yoga (CAY) is effec­tive for reliev­ing back pain, shoul­der — and neck com­plaints (CANS), headaches, rest­less­ness, fatigue, and con­cen­tra­tion problems.

Exer­cis­es and yoga pos­tures espe­cial­ly designed accord­ing to the Crit­i­cal Align­ment Yoga method tar­get the mus­cles of the back.

This encour­ages your body to move in a dif­fer­ent way to the way you reg­u­lar­ly sit and stand, walk or play sports.

For exam­ple, bend­ing back­wards ~ instead of lean­ing over the com­put­er allows you to stretch and acti­vate new mus­cles. Genuine relax­ation can be expe­ri­enced ~ when you prac­tice Crit­i­cal Align­ment Yoga.

It is good to make oppos­ing move­ments, espe­cial­ly to counter the effects of ten­sion cre­at­ed by stress and habit­u­al move­ment; RSI, long hours of sit­ting or stand­ing, work­ing behind the com­put­er, play­ing an instru­ment or sports activities.

How does it work?

When phys­i­cal and men­tal stress accu­mu­late, it is stored in the body. The Crit­i­cal Align­ment Yoga approach finds the root of built-up stress by going straight to the spine.

Crit­i­cal Align­ment Yoga is unique with its empha­sis on relax­ation before move­ment. Dur­ing pas­sive relax­ation exer­cis­es you learn what it feels like to release ten­sion. Coör­di­na­tion, flex­i­bil­i­ty and strength can then be built up through exer­cis­es and yoga postures.

Why CAY?

Phys­i­cal ten­sion – such as back pain, her­nia, RSI, neck pain, headache, or pelvic insta­bil­i­ty – can be released by remov­ing ten­sion from the spine. Crit­i­cal Align­ment Yoga uses this principle.

Chron­ic stress can cause back pain, often in the low­er or upper back. The CAY method teach­es an alter­na­tive way to cope with this pain, while it may also remove the cause of phys­i­cal discomfort.

Yoga teacher Louise

Louise empha­sizes breath­ing as the route to relax­ation and this gives her class­es a med­i­ta­tive quality.

You are invit­ed to soft­en and be in the moment. This is pos­si­ble when the spine and core are aligned.

Louise has suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed the the 3,5 year teacher train­ing by Gert van Leeuwen in the Crit­i­cal Align­ment Insti­tute in Amsterdam.

How does a class look?

Relax­ation is para­mount. The class begins with a pas­sive relax­ation exer­cise for the low­er or upper back, shoul­ders, hips, or arms and legs. With the use of spe­cial­ly devel­oped tools, a soft roll, rub­ber strip, and a block, the exer­cise is safe­ly guid­ed and supported.

With spe­cial tools and exer­cis­es, strength and coor­di­na­tion, the tra­di­tion­al yoga pos­tures (yoga asanas) are practiced.

Because of this metic­u­lous approach, your body will sig­nal at each step whether you feel free to move fur­ther into a pose or if you meet resis­tance. That’s why CAY can be prac­ticed by almost any­one. Which class suits you?


Crit­i­cal Align­ment Yoga has been devel­oped by Gert van Leeuwen. For many years he observed and stud­ied ten­sion in the back, orig­i­nal­ly as an Iyen­gar Yoga teacher.

Many of his stu­dents were pro­fes­sion­al dancers with injuries and back insta­bil­i­ty. He dis­cov­ered that yoga didn’t have the solu­tion for all of these prob­lems, and in many cas­es made them worse. He made it his mis­sion to dis­cov­er how to release spinal ten­sion through move­ment and Crit­i­cal Align­ment Yoga and Ther­a­pie is the result.

This form of yoga is inter­est­ing for dancers as well as sports­men, pro­fes­sion­als, and peo­ple with injuries, back pain, her­nias, RSI and oth­er forms of stress. By fre­quent prac­tice Crit­i­cal Align­ment Yoga can change your pos­ture, as well as pat­terns of ten­sion and behaviour.

More about CAY and Gert can be found on, and


You will become more aware of your pos­ture and learn to feel the dif­fer­ence between relax­ation, and strength ver­sus tension.

This is use­ful in dai­ly life.

Prac­tis­ing any form of yoga is a process, but the effects of Crit­i­cal Align­ment Yoga are more imme­di­ate­ly felt.

The ben­e­fits of relax­ation are both men­tal and phys­i­cal. CAyo­ga has a med­i­ta­tive effect. As a result of the exer­cis­es the spine length­ens, strength­ens, and pos­ture becomes more open and flexible.