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It is easy for yoga teachers and practitioners to face the challenge of a pose. They strain muscles and stretch limbs to achieve the perfect expression that is displayed by a teacher, a video, a picture or just in your mind's eye. However, when you strive for perfection in your poses, you often lose sight of what is more important in practicing yoga, regardless of your perceived level: the orientation of the asana.
Asanas, positions or poses in Hatha Yoga can be practiced on many levels from easy to difficult. Make sure your asana is aligned, paying attention not only to the shape your body is trying to shape, but also to the muscles and levers it uses to get there. For example, in Downward Facing Dog, the general shape of the pose is a triangle, with one line formed from your torso and arms, and the other line from your legs when you are facing the floor. The value of the pose, however, comes from aligning your limbs and your muscles with your feet, hips, shoulders, and hands in the same line, and the same support from your upper and lower body.
Alignment is critical to a beneficial hatha yoga practice for a number of reasons. First, and perhaps most important, proper alignment is important to avoid injury during exercise. If your shoulders, hips, knees, or neck do not match the rest of your pose, you're much more likely to exercise or sprain, no matter how experienced you are. Especially as asanas become more difficult for more athletic yoga practitioners, the right direction is even more important. For those who "already know what they are doing," the ego can push them further than they should be sure.
In addition, the right alignment in a yoga posture will help you get the most out of your workout. Your body can use shortcuts in the way you approach certain poses, even when you consciously do your best. For example, checking on Warrior I to see if your shoulders are in line with your hips as you reach for the heavens will strain your lower and upper back muscles. This engagement not only makes your pose more stable, but also strengthens more muscles with the same amount of exercise. This in turn speeds up your physical results and results in a firmer physique. Any yoga practitioner, from the most experienced teacher to the beginner, can benefit from focusing on the alignment.
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