July 10, 2019
The Importance of Alignment
Yoga has a way of evolving naturally, the first thing to remember is to listen to your body and never force your body into any postures or stretches. Your alignment will gradually improve with practise.
Do not rush to perform any postures be patient with yourself as your alignment will change dramatically as you become more familiar with yoga postures and techniques.
Yoga is an internal practise. What is important is how you feel on the inside not how you look on the outside. Feel your way safely into each posture and work within your own capabilities.
Pain is always a warning sign, if you feel pain or discomfort relax the posture immediately as there is always an alternative posture.
After each yoga practise it is important that you feel good and experience the benefits, don’t get caught up with trying to do too much too soon.
The word Asana translates to mean steady pose. It is important to feel comfortable, relaxed and steady in each posture.
Start with basic yoga postures that are recommended for beginners. This will help you to establish a sound technique and in doing so the body will slowly become more agile and stronger, making progression safe and natural. As with anything a firm foundation is crucial.
Yoga helps practitioners to connect with themselves on a deep level. Use your yoga practice to get to know your body and how you feel as you move through different postures and shapes. By bringing awareness to your physical alignment you are developing and strengthening the connection between your mind, body and soul.
Establishing your own natural straight spine and maintaining it when required throughout your yoga practise is advisable. You can do this by lying on your back with your knees bent, make sure that your weight is distributed evenly through the soles of your feet and that the outside edges of your feet are parallel. Your knees should be pointing straight up and you might like to place a small book under your head to maintain the natural curve of your neck, stay here breathing slowly through your nose.
When you are ready scan through your body, your objective is to establish a comfortable position with a straight spine and to bring awareness to your alignment.
Ask yourself the following questions. Are both sides of your body equal in length? Does your pelvis feel balanced? Are your knees pointing straight up? Is your weight distributed evenly through the soles of your feet? Are the outside edges of your feet parallel? Are both feet pointing straight forward? Do not make any big movements just ask the questions, breathe slowly and settle into your body. Practise this daily for ten minutes or longer if time permits.
In addition to the above, whenever you come to sit in a firm chair either at the dinner table or at work. Work through a similar checklist as you breathe slowly.
Are you sitting with a straight spine? Do both sides of your body feel equal in length? Is your weight distributed evenly through the soles of your feet? Are your shoulders relaxed?
These simple techniques will bring awareness to your alignment. Do not force anything just let it happen and scan through your body. Awareness is the first step.
Through a regular yoga practice we begin to realise that everything is connected. When we are correctly aligned everything works better.
“It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence.” B.K.S. Iyengar.
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