Balance Center

What is Balance?

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The Beginning: How Balance Came to Be.

The originator of Balance is Noelle Perez-Christiaens. The quest of "d'Aplomb" as it is called in her studio in Paris, was borne out of her studies Yoga with BKS Iyengar. Noelle, a Parisian, was one of the first Westerners to study with BKS Iyengar in India. She was motivated to discover how to be "on the axis" after her yoga guru BKS Iyengar noted that her students were not on the axis. From there, the genius behind Balance, or "d'Aplomb," got the idea to study people who carry weight on their heads. Her research and findings are recorded in 29 books she wrote, almost all of them in French. Her on-going work and teachings can be found at Institut Superieur D'Aplomb in Paris, Her recently re-published English book, "Sparks of Divinity" can be purchased at the Balance Center, Amazon, or book stores.

Balance was introduced to the United States by Angelika Thusius, a student of Noelle's, who came to the Palo Alto area around 1989. She now lives in Ashland, OR, and published Kentro BodyBalance,

Angelika's original students who are Active Teachers who are still actively teaching

Jean Couch, founder of the Balance Center, author of The Runner's Yoga Book, producer of the DVD Your Pain Free Life.

Thea Sawyer, teacher and is the author of the forth coming book, Sustainable Posture.

Certified Balance Teachers that are actively teaching:

Fairbanks, AK:
Kay Hackney and Morgan Brusiel

Columbus, OH
Mary Sinclair

Santa Monica, CA
Laurie Willard

San Francisco Bay Area:
@ The Balance Center
Janet Cook
Jean Farmwald
Jennifer Sherer
Janet Wong
Sukha Carfagno 
Thea Sawyer
Raymond Peck
Sukha Carfagno 

Sonoma, CA and Berkeley, CA                
Dana Davis 

Philadelphia, PA
Margaret Gilday

Instructors at the Balance Center in Palo Alto continuously study with the Aplomb teachers, both here in the United States and in Paris. We study under the guidance of Noelle Perez-Christiaens, Georgia Le Conte, Ginnette, Anne Browne, and Odile.


The Story of Balance Center
by Jean Couch

Out of balance
Out of Balance
In balance
In Balance

When I took my first yoga class in 1972 at a University of California extension course I was blown away with how good I felt. After each pose we rested in corpse pose for as long as we had held the asana. Candles lit the room, and the "music" was a Sanskrit recitation of the teacher's teacher, teacher's teacher, etc. Or, that's how I remember it. I had recently moved to California from Iowa and yoga was about as radical as I could get. The whole thing thrilled me. I felt daring AND it made me feel luscious.

I had been drawn to take yoga because I was getting stiffer, was extremely tense emotionally, and was looking for something to connect me to myself. I had the notion that yoga would address all those issues. Yoga delivered. I got more flexible, it helped me calm down, and my awareness increased. That initial course, ten one-hour classes, changed my life forever.

This course was in the tradition of Swami Vishnu Devananda. However, the San Francisco Bay area was a hot bed of Iyengar yoga so it wasn't long before I started studying with Felicity Hall, Larry Hatlett, Ramanand Patel, Mary Dunn, and others. What attracted me to Iyengar style yoga was a yearning to understand the alignment of the poses so that the health benefits could be maximized. In 1979 I went to India and studied with Mr. Iyengar himself. Later I was highly influenced by Angela Farmer who taught with imagery and more focus on the breath.

I taught yoga at the Palo Alto YMCA and various industries: Syntex, Amdal, EPRI. During that time I modeled for a revised book of yoga for Runner's World magazine and shortly after that they asked me to write Runner's World Yoga Book. The book catapulted me into the national scene and it wasn't long before I was teaching yoga all around the country for local yoga associations and health camps, such as the Omega Institute in New York, and Feathered Pipe Ranch in Montana. When Runner's World stopped publishing the book Rodmell Press asked if I would revise the book and it's on the market today as The Runner's Yoga Book.

As I practiced, taught, and matured I began to have insights that worried me. When I looked into my students' faces I saw that they were strained. Iyengar himself says the purpose of yoga is relaxation and this essential quality was missing. Also, I was injured. I suffered periodically from severe sciatica, and I knew other teachers who were injured too. Yoga is an ancient healing art so I began to intuit that there was something missing.

The missing link is Balanced posture, researched by Noelle Perez of the Institute D'Aplomb in Paris, France. Ms. Perez is pictured in B.K.S. Iyengar's classic text Light on Yoga in plate #62. Initially motivated by encouragement from Mr. Iyengar, since 1959 she has been studying populations of people who stay straight and work into their old age. We describe these people as Balanced. Prior to 1920, the world's population was mostly in Balance. Since yoga is thousands of years old yoga assumes people begin in Balance. However, due to cultural norms most people in highly industrialized nations are out of Balance, they lean backwards. Students need to practice yoga in Balance or there is too much to overcome. Doing yoga in Balance is closest to its origins, Balanced yoga is traditional.

Come experience Balanced yoga, whether you are a beginner or practice advanced yoga. Many yoga teachers have benefitted from the perspecitve brought by Balanced yoga. Click here for class descriptions and schedules.

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  It has been two years since I took your series of seminars on correct posture. For this time I have been almost completely free of any form of back pain. Your classes certainly were of enormous benefit to me. I really appreciate the work my chiropractors did and yet I am not sorry that I have not needed them for the past two years and for that I am thankful. Do keep up the good work that you are doing.
H.S.J., consultant