Yoga and Geometry: Re-learning Maths with your body alignment
Maths was my favorite subject in school and in Maths it was Geometry. How cool it was to use a pair of rulers and compass to construct shapes on paper to a high degree of accuracy. I was pleasantly surprised to rediscover Geometry through Yoga! And Geometry truly comes to life when we come into postures using simple geometrical principles.
We will start with only the simplest geometrical properties: straight lines, parallel lines, 90 degrees and triangles. These 4 geometrical principles become the fundamentals in realizing almost any yoga posture. It also keeps safety in check ensuring we practice Ahimsa, or non-harming principles while practicing Yoga injury-free.
Straight lines are the easiest to start with. To learn how to stand correctly and even bend forward correctly, we can think of straight lines instead of arched or rounded backs. In order to do so, we also have to engage the core or tuck in the rubs, scoop in the tailbone, squeeze your glutes and abdomen. Also known as Mula Bandha or the root lock.
- Tadasana or Mountain pose by Martina Rando on Instagram
- Ardha Uttanasana or Halfway Lift by Martina Rando on Instagram
90 degrees postures ensure safety. You can think of always keeping the pelvis directly above the heart, or keeping the wrist directly below the shoulders and the knees directly above the ankles. 90-degree positions ensure that our body weight is distributed along proper joints to prevent long-term repetitive injuries.
- Sethu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge pose by Martina Rando on Instagram
- Marjaryasana / Bitilasana or Cat/Cow pose by Martina Rando on Instagram
- Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby pose by Martina Rando on Instagram
Downward facing dog and Triangle poses are usually introduced for beginners in Yoga. And they might seem “easy” to do because the focus is almost always wrong the first time. Thinking in terms of the shape Triangles, really helped me to get into a better alignment.
In Downward Dog, we have to focus on extending the shoulders and the back instead of extending and straightening the legs. It is all fine to bend our knees in the Downward Dog position. Similarly, it is “easy” to touch our toes in the Triangle pose, but try doing it against a wall without a curved torso and engaging the core. In the triangle pose, there is truly no curved sides.
- Uttitha Trikonasana or Triangle pose by Clare @clarejbyoga previously on Instagram
- Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward facing dog by Martina Rando on Instagram
During the course of my YTT, I came across another type of injury called the Repetitive strain injury (RSI). There are some poses like inversions which strong practitioners might be able to pull it off easily one-time or occasionally. But if their alignment is not correct, over time they will feel pain.
Parallel lines come to the rescue! Because the wrists are directly under the elbow, which is then directly under the shoulders, we have a strong foundation for inversions.
- Salamba Sirsasana or Headstand by Martina Sergi on Instagram
- Pincha Mayurasana or Forearm stand by Martina Sergi on Instagram
- Adho Mukha Vrksasana or Handstand by Martina Sergi on Instagram
Here’s to more happy alignment with injury-free practice with Yoga and Geometry!
Cheers, Sayanee, YTT (June – August 2018)