Find Your Alignment

Love this picture of a student doing Warrior I, don’t you? Even though a bit blurry, this is a perfect picture of balanced muscular effort. This is a picture of structural alignment.

I’ll admit, I used to be way into the whoo-whoo aspects of yoga. I generally avoided all discussions on anatomy and preferred to stretch myself toward higher levels of consciousness instead. And stretch, and stretch, and stretch, all without ever getting anywhere.

That’s what brings most of us into the studio, after all. We’re all looking for flexibility. I see it all the time on my health questionnaires, something along the lines of “I used to be uber flexible and I’d really like to get that flexibility back.” Or, I see it in class when students press their leg into their yoga strap and extend their hamstring as far as it will go.


Pulling yourself back from being gung-ho in every asana isn’t easy, but so worth it. Structural alignment is about opening your muscles, tendons, and ligaments in a safe way, a way that lets you practice for years to come.

It took me awhile to understand stability begets flexibility, being stable through your joints lets your flexibility slowly develop. After learning these lessons the hard way, as in trudging through a back injury, I emphasize the importance of structural alignment in every class.

Higher levels of consciousness come through the mind. There’s no need to hurt your body stretching to get there. Yoga gives you access to many states of consciousness, all without having to hurt yourself in the process.


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