Check Your Yoga Form With Alignment Diagrams

Check Your Yoga Form With Alignment Diagrams
Photo: Shutterstock

Yoga is an ideal quarantine workout: It can be as relaxing or physically punishing as you like, and all you need to get started is your body and a reasonably soft surface. But as with any exercise, you won’t get much out of practicing yoga with bad form—so before you hit the mat (or carpet) for the first time in a while, take a moment to think about yours.

You probably have a rough idea of how poses should look to an observer, but it’s way more important that you know how to get your body into and out of them correctly. In yoga, this is known as alignment, and it’s not easy to pick up on your own—the best way to learn it is by having an instructor physically adjust your body. With yoga classes cancelled for the foreseeable future, your next-best option for alignment tips might actually be Instagram.

Alignment diagrams exist for every yoga pose from the simplest to the most advanced, and they’re super easy to find. I follow @inflexibleyogis and @howtopracticeyoga on Instagram, both of which mostly repost content from individual yoga teachers, and save the most relevant posts so I can come back to them later. It might sound goofy, but diagrams like this one have been infinitely more helpful and encouraging to me than any instructional video:

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Forward folds are great for calming, destressing, and introspective – but safety is key! The goal in forward folds is to lengthen the spine, not to round the back to get the head to nose. Check out this tutorial for do's and don'ts! For more tips, modifications, and progressions to the foundational poses of yoga, grab your copy of the e-books today! (link in bio) Make sure you share this with someone that could benefit and save it for your personal practice! Thanks for sharing @yogahome.pl #inflexibleyogis ・・・ Otaguj kogoś kto ma problem ze skłonem ???? . Skłony w przód z bioder to pozycja, która stwarza sporo problemu osobom początkującym. Z moich obserwacji wynika jednak, że progres w tej pozycji widać stosunkowo szybko. . Warto jednak, nic nowego, jak zawsze dbać o umiarkowanie, skupienie na sobie i unikanie bólu. Szczególnie gdy grupa kulszowo-goleniowa (tyłu ud) jest mocno spięta warto nie cisnąć skłonów na siłę, można zmiękczyć kolana lub zupełnie je ugiąć, wydłużać plecy, wyciągać kręgosłup, szukać rozluźnienia i świadomości w ciele. Zbyt intensywne, długie skłony na ugietych plecach, szczególnie przy dyskopatiach, mogą skończyć się bólem, zwykle w odcinku lędźwiowym kręgosłupa. . Kolejnym aspektem jest częste wchodzenie w tej pozycji w przeprosty kolan. Nie jest to właściwe. Przeprost to "ugięcie" nogi w drugą stronę, do tyłu. W konsekwencji pracy na przeprostach nasze kolana mogą stać się niestabilne, boleć. . Podsumowując, staramy się wyciągać i wydłużać plecy i dbamy o proste, lecz nie przeprostowane nogi lub dla bezpieczeństwa uginam je.

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Full disclosure: I’m neither a yoga expert nor a fan of video workouts, which I think is why I like these diagrams so dang much. (If you do love videos, pretty much everyone I know strongly recommends Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, especially for beginners.) The differences between the left and ride sides of the photo are immediately obvious to me in a way that verbal or written instructions aren’t, and they stick in my brain better, too. Ever since I learned that bending my knees is totally fine—and preferable to wrenching my back forward to touch the floor—I get a lot more out of my forward folds. Also, who knew that the secret to standing backbends is furiously clenching your butt muscles? Well, now I do.

Whenever I feel like adding a new pose to my very laid-back bedtime yoga routine, alignment diagrams are my first stop. You don’t even have to wade into yoga Instagram if don’t want to; just Google “[pose] alignment” and see what pops up. Whether you’ve been practicing yoga for years or just a few days, for once, there’s something to be said for taking advice from the Internet—at least in this specific case.

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