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#3: Understanding proper alignments

Since day 1, our trainers have been aligning us out of our wrong postures. Giving us tips on how to properly align ourselves before aligning others. We started learning how to give proper alignments during the second week of class.

Before I sign up for the yoga teacher training course, I’ve gone to many classes at Real Yoga and have seen and experienced improper alignment by the teachers. Most of the time, because classes in these centres are rather big, the teachers do not really concentrate on adjusting us, they would only give us tips as to how to adjust ourselves.

However, it is very difficult to get out of a wrong posture because we are not aware of how we look like. Most of the students do not actually understand the importance of body awareness and proper asana alignments, which will usually end of with aches at the wrong areas of our body, or getting unnecessary injuries.

I used to get injuries due to improper alignment, for instance, Uttitha Trikoasana. During the stretch, students will be asked to place their palm on the foot or on the floor, ignoring the fact that the alignment was already wrong. After entering this course, I’ve learnt that alignments are extremely important. Before we start to align others, as future yoga teachers, we should be able to align ourselves first.

Getting basic alignments right will maximize benefits of the asanas for yoga practitioners. It helps to strengthen our body, as well as increasing our flexibility with proper alignments. In class, we have seen classmates performing the same pose, but not everyone can reach the ground like he/she does during poses.

Teachers should be fully aware that the body of every student works differently, and should not force students into the poses that they want them to be in, just to obtain the final pose. Giving improper alignments will increase the risk of injuries at unnecessary areas, because we are putting stress on joints.

Getting into the correct alignments will also help the body be aware of how it looks like, even without a mirror. It balances the body, which aids in balancing the energy in the body well, as well as improving blood circulation in our body. Proper alignment, energy, and body awareness are not mutually exclusive; everything only flows together when we combine all three principles.


With that, I’ll end my blog post with a quote from B.K.S. Iyengar, from the Light of Life.

It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence.”

[Estee Ng, June’15 Weekday Hatha Vinyasa YTTC]