Bharata Yoga stands for precision in alignment. The founder and director of the institute, Gert van Leeuwen, developed a technique called Critical Alignment in which the mobility of the spine is the most significant feature.

Critical alignment makes a distinct difference between the use of postural muscles at the surface of our body and movement muscles which are situated close to the spine and joints. When we stabilise our posture through our postural muscles, we do not build up tension but when we, on the contrary, build up our stability through our movement muscles, the body becomes stiff in muscles and joints.

“As an international Yoga teacher, I have seen many Yoga students from all over the world. When performing Asanas, almost everyone works from the surface layers of their muscles because they are connected to will power. It might sound strange, but even in Yoga, many students develop more strain in their preference position instead of loosening the tension in order to create a new balanced alignment in their bodies.”

- Van Leeuwen

Through the use of a mobilisation technique in headstand on a specially developed headstand bench, almost everybody can get quick access to this deeper layer of muscles, especially around the spine and therefore the student is able to stabilise his relaxed position in an active way.

Van Leeuwen also developed 10 main connections of movement in the body which can be considered to be the materials to build up all Asanas. These connections form a part of a larger sequence of movement. If one understands these chains of connections and if the student knows in what order they must be performed, they can be applied in every Asana in an easy way. To observe all these connections, an open attention is needed: an attention which is very close to Meditation. The result of this balance is lightness in the body through a sense of space which is created through special breathing techniques.

The technique is used for normal Yoga practise as well as for therapeutic Yoga. Van Leeuwen wrote a book about that in Dutch (Stop RSI, Aramith 2000). He also trained many Yoga- and medical professionals in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Russia, and Canada. Next year, the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam is going to research this new technique.