So much detail goes into perfecting a yoga pose. The word perfect and yoga don’t really go hand in hand, but yes, an asana or posture can look beautiful when done correctly, but it truly is the yogi inside us that does all the work. As long as you are doing the pose within your limit and you are feeling the stretch, then you are doing yoga. We all have different body types. Your triangle may be different than the dancer beside you or the seasoned yogi at the front of the class, but what unites you all is the energy we get from doing the pose. These tips are just guidelines I’ve come to learn and notice during my practice. I’d love for you all to share any other pointers as well!
1. Find your foundation: Whether you are standing, seated or balancing on your hands, the foundation is key. You are rooting down into the ground with your feet, sitting bones or hands to establish a stronger YOU and safer practice.
2. Lengthen the spine: This is one of the most common instructions I hear from teachers and which I myself use a lot. Posture is key, and by lengthening the spine towards the crown of the head helps keep your back in line and improve your stance.
3. Engage your core: drawing your navel in slightly towards your spine as you inhale and exhale will strengthen your core muscles. This is known as uddiyana bandha. The lower belly pulls inward and upward will simultaneously lifting the diaphragm. This should be held during the entire practice, which may be difficult for some, however be aware of this in your next class. When you feel that you’ve lost it, just think engage the core!
4. Roll your shoulders away from the ears: This is the most familiar instruction especially for beginners. The shoulder blades should be rolling back and down to help support the neck and avoid any tension.
5. Relax and breathe: This is the most important thing to remember. Yoga is not a competition. Staying with your breath as you move and relaxing the body to the flow of the class or pose will help maintain a clear mind from wandering. After all, yoga should feel good.