read Yoga: What Are the Benefits of Alignment?

Yoga: What Are the Benefits of Alignment?

Yoga and alignment

Alignment is one of the most important things about body mechanics and posture. It refers to how the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, and ankles relate and line up with each other in a given pose or asana. It is the accurate or ideal way of performing any given asana to maximize its benefits and minimize injury. 

It’s necessary to practice alignment regardless of where you are in the practice. This is why we use modifications or props to focus on alignment; it is the tool that we use to move our body efficiently. 

Why is alignment important in yoga?

1. It improves posture

Proper alignment ensures that there is no unnecessary strain or stress on the spine and other body parts. This helps in maintaining spinal health and correcting any misalignment of the spine. 

2. It ensures a safer practice

Functional alignment is useful in preventing injuries and sprains or strains during asanas. Educating yourself and becoming aware of your body’s demands can help you realize when to back out, use a certain prop, or take rest. Working closely with the cues mentioned below will aid in conducting postures in a non-abrasive manner. 

3. It builds a strong body-mind connection

When you aim to align your body in a particular way, you experience an increased sense of body awareness. Alignment is responsible for creating a mind-body-breath circuit by guiding you to move mindfully and breathe with awareness. 

Also read: How to Improve Alignment While Doing Yoga

4. It maximizes the benefits of any posture

Alignment helps you engage and stretch the right areas of the body. It can aid you in maximizing the physical benefit. So, your flexibility improves, and your strength, balance, and circulation increase. In addition, it promotes mindful movement and ensures the proper flow of energy throughout the body.

5. It helps to practice efficiently

Proper alignment in your yoga practice results in increased natural efficiency of the body. In case of anatomical misalignments, the body will not function as efficiently until you realign yourself. Performing asanas in an anatomically correct manner will make it easier to perform certain postures that were causing discomfort earlier.

6. It builds a better foundation

We spoke about how focusing on alignment leads to better flexibility and improved strength. Both these aspects contribute towards building a strong foundation for movement in your yoga practice. Working with alignment allows you to build strength and flexibility in appropriate places without compromising your health.

7. It helps you become more present and aware

With correct alignment, you can achieve concentration and complete focus while performing the poses. As you direct your body to move according to the cues listed below, it will start coordinating with the breath instead of diverging into random thoughts. You will achieve clarity of mind and become more present as you maintain your posture.

Being able to perform a pose correctly with modifications and proper alignment is more important than the ability to execute the full expression of the pose incorrectly. The latter will deprive you of having a healthy yoga practice while the former will set you right on track.

References
1. Yoga Alignment: Why It Matters So Much. LIVE FOR MORE COMMUNITY. https://liforme.com/blogs/blog/yoga-alignment (accessed Oct 8, 2020).
2. The Magic of Proper Alignment in Your Yoga Practice. beYogi. 2018; published online Feb 20. https://beyogi.com/proper-alignment-in-yoga-practice/ (accessed Oct 8, 2020). 

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