As I was demonstrating proper alignment for chaturanga several months ago, I tweaked my shoulder. One wrong move is all it takes to compromise our alignment, even when were careful and even when were teacher’s :). It still frustrates me thinking about it but such is life. So here are the facts, whether you’ve been practicing yoga a week or several years, there aren’t any fool proof ways to guarantee injury will never happen to you. Injuries can happen even while walking down the stairs. Yes, that’s right I fell down the stairs a little over a year ago and broke my elbow. Yes, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, and yes, I was completely sober. So it doesn’t really matter whether you’re doing yoga or walking there is a risk there apparently for some like me. However, I’m aware of the title of my post and I have some good news! There are ways that we can be more mindful in our practice which will help us to avoid and prevent injuries. (I count every step now) See my tips below for creating more mindfulness in your practice.
1) Stacking Your Joints. This helps to properly align your muscles, joints and bones. For example, stacking your joints while on your hands and knees consists of placing your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Now obviously, we are not stacking the joints in every pose, the downward facing dog is a perfect example where we are stretching and lengthening our spine as opposed to stacking.
2) Navel to Spine. Drawing the naval toward the spine helps to keep our low back protected and engages our core muscles, including our abs. So it’s a win/win. It takes some time to develop navel to spine awareness but with practice you are on your way to a safer workout and fantastic abs!
3) Use Props. Props can deepen your pose and your practice. I have been teaching yoga for several years and I use them on a regular basis. They make you stronger and allow you to go deeper. They help strengthen your muscles and help you avoid compromising your alignment and risking injury. You may not need them for every pose but use them when you do.
4) Listen to your Body. This is the key to developing body awareness and learning your own limitations in each and every pose. When we are tired it’s okay to admit this and work with our body instead of against it. This may mean coming to child’s pose more throughout your practice or dropping to your knees in chaturanga. In other words, take it day by day, practice by practice.
5) Private Yoga Sessions. This will allow you to get personal attention and instruction for your body. You can also go over any lingering questions or concerns you have.
6) Ask questions. If you have a question, please ask your teacher.That’s why we are here and why we do what we do. We want to help you stay safe and grow in your yoga practice.
Comments? Questions? Send them to me!
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