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Why Alignment Is Important In Yoga? [Solved]

Alignment is intended to create a stable foundation for a safe practice, to allow your body to open in new ways, and to reduce your risk of injury. While you might not feel a sudden, sharp pain from doing a pose out of alignment, many yoga injuries are cumulative, accruing little by little. Wear and tear on joints and supporting tissues happens over time, so many yoga students find themselves with repetitive use ailments years into their practices and have to break long-established patterns to remake their poses in healthier ways. That’s why it’s important to establish optimal alignment (for your own body) as early in your practice as possible, which often means using props liberally 😊
1. Creates a Safe PracticeYoga injuries are on the rise— don’t be a statistic! Using proper functional alignment can help prevent injuries and make you less susceptible to sprains and strains. Being aware of how your body feels with different movements and in certain positions is critical to understanding how to align yourself in a posture. Working with a qualified instructor or implementing key principles are good starting points to educate yourself and increase your bodily awareness. To keep your body protected from possible harmful movements, avoid forcing yourself into a posture and instead use props. Though it’s a learning process, backing off or changing your movements when feeling pain or discomfort will make you a better yogi and greatly reduce your risk of injury. (modified by Virginia Green from Gaoyou, China on February 18, 2021)
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As per the researchers at yogaalignmentguide.com, yoga alignment describes how the body is arranged in yoga postures (asanas). This mainly includes creating straight lines and stacking bones – but it can mean so much more. Alignment isn’t a rigid structure about making a perfect angles and creating that picture-perfect shape. On the contrary— it’s about aligning each individual in a pose, utilizing their bodies’ physical abilities and maintaining certain key principles in an adaptable way. Using key principles, modifications and props (yoga straps, blocks, etc), alignment can be achieved no matter what level of flexibility or mobility, and no matter the individual’s shape or size. The main goals of alignment are to maximize the benefits in each asana and reduce susceptibility to injuries, but it can also relate to creating certain angles and idealist pose shapes with the body that are considered beautiful. (last edited 87 days ago by Sharrie Denny from Mwanza, Tanzania)
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Alignment is important. It keeps the body safe, it allows the energy to flow within the body, and enables us to enjoy our practice with fluidity and ease. Meaghan and I like to say “Alignment is like the canyon walls that provide the channel for the river to flow.”Energy moves through the body most effectively when our body is aligned optimally with precision. If you do a standing forward bend and you shift your hips back behind your ankles, then you can potentially hyper-extend and damage your knees. There are countless other examples of how poor alignment can lead to yoga injuries and there is no doubt that good alignment prevents injuries. (last emended 1 day ago by Lashay Peterson from Tiruppur, India)
The researchers at yogainternational.com provide additional insight. Often in a yoga class, the cues given by the teacher focus on the shape of the pose rather than the intention of the pose. This is understandable because the postures are the tools we use. But the intention behind any posture should be to generate an effect in the body, rather than to simply perform the posture or look good doing so. This is the main difference between a functional approach to yoga and an aesthetic approach. When a teacher, or the student herself, starts to judge the pose by what it looks like rather than what it feels like, then the intention of optimizing health is lost. How you look in a pose is irrelevant; what is important are the sensations you are creating through the posture.
According to the experts at ekhartyoga.com, if you sent a bunch of seasoned/master yoga teachers (all asanas performed with ease, pranayama techniques mastered, bandhas perfectly engaged, meditative minds completely and utterly focused on their drishtis) on a field trip to a planet where gravity is much different to ours here on earth (as if the air was like the consistency of honey) and asked them to practice yoga like they do back home…they will inevitably look at each other and ask HOW do we navigate these bodies? Where are the inhabitants of this planet…can they teach us how to move and place our bodies in such a way we have won’t get hurt? (emended by Margaret Price from Guatemala City, Guatemala on May 15, 2020)
To truly understand proper alignment, we must experience it ourselves. An easy way to do this is while in tadasana, or mountain pose. To start, come to the front of your mat and stand with your feet parallel to one another. Starting at your ankle joint, check to see that your knees are directly over your ankles. You will want to keep a micro bend in your knees to avoid locking them. Your kneecap is actually slightly in front of your knee joint, so it’s okay if there appears to be slightly more of a bend then you think necessary. (modified by Ndrew Dye on August 2, 2021)
Well, the bottom line is that alignment enables you to maximise the benefit of each yoga pose whilst minimising the risk of injury. This is another reason why we encourage beginners to take it slowly. The basic poses are not boring, or easy, they are designed to create a grounding. They are designed to create a set of building blocks that enable you to push your body further whilst remaining in alignment. This is why some yoga practises have props and they should be used to support the body, not to force it to bend or stretch in a way it doesn’t want to.
Kelly-Anne Kidston

Written by Kelly-Anne Kidston

I am a writer of many words, from fiction to poetry to reviews. I am an avid reader and a lover of good books. I am currently writing my first novel and would love to find some beta readers who are interested in getting an early look.

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