There are many different types of Yoga, and they all come with basic alignment rules to follow during Yoga practice. Why? Is it because a pose looks pretty?
It is because necessary alignment in yoga poses is critical as it maximizes the benefits of the pose. It increases the strength & flexibility without causing any pain, discomfort or injury. Naturally, different muscles and joints in the body are designed to operate under different workloads and level of flexibility. Different muscles have a different level of strengths. When we perform asanas (postures), every effort should be made to attain a well-centered body. I allow our body to function at its peak. However, this only happens when the body is properly aligned.
Knees, ankles, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck and waist joints are more prone to injuries because of misalignment. Sometimes yoga practitioners keep stretching themselves to the maximum limits in asana, which causes a micro tear to the ligaments, and over a period, the injury becomes severe.
At Ek Omkar Yoga Center we keep our primary focus during Asana (posture) classes on correct alignment of poses. And most of the time our students ask us: What is alignment? And what are the benefits of alignment in the practice of yoga?
It is such a big issue! Now let’s discuss it.
What is ‘Alignment’?
Alignment is a subject that not all the people understand very well. But it is crucial in the practice of Yoga. It just means positioning the body in a way that allows you to get the full benefit of that pose without any discomfort and risk of injury.
Everyone has a different proportionate length of various body parts. So, one should keep in mind that no two people can do a yoga pose in the same way. It is a well known ‘anatomical reality.’
The Importance of Correct Posture Alignment in Yoga practice:
Have you ever noticed why during classes most of the emphasis is put on the right alignment in yoga posture? Here are some reasons:
Decreased risk of injury: Proper alignment is necessary to prevent injuries. A properly aligned body builds strength without causing much stress on muscles and joints. It prevents strain or overuse problems. It decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together. Besides this, correct posture also helps to decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
Facilitates energy flow: Correct posture alignment facilitates the movement of energy in the body during Yoga practice with a resultant positive mental, physical and spiritual impact. It helps in putting the energy where the body needs it the most on a physical level.
Prevents fatigue: When you perform asanas(postures) with accurate alignment it prevents fatigue; as muscles are used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
Boosts strength: It keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles used correctly and as a result increases power. Also, it prevents the spine from getting fixed in strange positions.
Excellent efficiency: When our body id properly alignment we optimize its power and efficiency. And with fewer workouts, we attain maximum results.
Good appearance: Proper alignment contributes to your physical appearance too. Maintaining proper alignment during practice makes you look and feel better.
Good Alignment creates a more harmonious relationship between the mind, body, and spirit. Working with alignment in the poses can have significant benefits for both body and mind.
Alignment in Yoga asana practice is important—but not alignment for alignment’s sake. It is a tool that we use to produce particular results.