Alignment is the specific way in which the body should be positioned in every yoga postures in order to obtain the utmost benefit from the posture and avoid injury. Primary principles of various Asanas should be kept in mind while aligning in to the pose. It is important to remember the focus and purpose of asana. Fundamental alignment is important in yoga poses as it will maximize the benefits of the pose.
Why is Alignment Important in Yoga?
Enhances the value of pose: Asanas, positions, or poses in Hatha Yoga, can be practiced at many levels, from easy to difficult. Making sure that your asana is aligned, means paying attention not only to the shape your body is trying to make, but what muscles and leverage it is using to get there. In Downward Facing, for example, the general shape of the pose is a triangle, with one line formed by your torso and arms, and the other line formed by your legs, as you face the ground. The value of the pose, however, comes from the alignment of your limbs and your muscles, with feet, hips, shoulders, and hands all in the same line, and equal support coming from your upper and lower body.
Essential to avoid injury: Yoga Alignment is crucial to a beneficial Hatha Yoga practice for several reasons. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, proper alignment is essential to avoid injury during practice. If your shoulders, hips, knees, or neck, are out of line with the rest of the pose, straining or spraining becomes much more likely – no matter how experienced you may be. Particularly, when asanas enhances in difficulty for more Yoga practitioners, proper alignment is even more important. For those who “already know what they are doing,” the ego may push them further than they should safely be.
Speed up the physical results: Additionally, proper alignment in a Yoga pose helps you to get the most out of your practice. Your body can take shortcuts in the way that you approach certain poses, even when you are consciously trying your best. In Warrior, I, for example, checking to make sure that your shoulders are aligned with your hips, as you reach for the sky, engage your lower and upper back muscles. This engagement not only makes your pose more stable at the moment, but it also strengthens more muscles with the same amount of practice. In turn, this will speed up your physical results and produce a more toned physique. Every Yoga practitioner, from the most experienced teacher to the most novice beginner, can benefit from focusing on Yoga Alignment.
For teachers and practitioners of Yoga, it is easy to get caught up in the challenge of a pose. You strain muscles and stretch limbs to reach the perfect expression, demonstrated by a teacher, a video, a picture, or just depicted within your mind’s eye. Yet, by striving for perfection in your poses, you can often lose sight of what is much more important in practicing Yoga – whatever your perceived level: The alignment of the asana. This is it in how important is yoga alignment?