When you look at your yoga instructor (or that super-talented person in the front row), you may realise your pose doesn't look quite the same as theirs. But you don't want to imitate others exactly. In fact, doing so can be detrimental to you.
Picture: Army Medicine
Yoga instructor Nicole Katz explains at Greatist that it's better to work with your body's abilities rather than aim for a certain look based on someone else's body. This applies whether you're a beginner or an expert: our bodies are just built differently. Katz writes:
From an anatomical standpoint, there are generally two reasons why your poses might never look exactly "perfect:" muscular constraints and skeletal limitations. Having either (or both) doesn't mean anything is "wrong" with you. Yoga is about meeting your body where it is -- without judgment -- and growing from there.
The exact fixes will vary from pose to pose. In the case of downward dog, for example, many people need to bend their knees to get their spine into a neutral position. That lets you work the right muscles and get the most out of the pose. Check out the full article at Greatist for more, including before-and-after pictures of how to fix some common mistakes.