In this post, I’m going to introduce the most important guideline for yoga that I share with my students: don’t hurt yourself! There are many benefits of practicing yoga (flexibility, balance and stress reduction, just to name a few…). However, in order to gain these benefits, we must first make sure that we are practicing safely and don’t harm ourselves in the process.
How do we do that? Joint alignment.
Correct joint alignment is the key to avoiding injury while engaging in any type of fitness. What does this mean? Joint alignment refers to how the joints are lined up relative to each other. By making sure that our body is positioned correctly and that the joints are stacked appropriately, we avoid causing harm to our joints. Sounds reasonable. But how do we do that? Here are a five quick tips to keep your joints safe:
- In bent knee postures, keep the bent knee behind the ankle.
- In standing postures, stack the joints (i.e., line up the hips, knees and ankles all in one line).
- Originate twists in the thoracic spine (mid to upper back), allowing your neck and head to be the very last part of your spine to rotate.
- In inversions, use proper support and guidance from a qualified teacher so that weight is never on the neck! (This is super important!)
- In forward bends, fold from the groins/hips, rather than rounding the back. Touching your toes is NOT the goal. Creating length in the hamstrings and spine is the goal!
These are a just a few simple steps that you can take to be sure that you’re staying safe. Observe these suggestions in conjunction with the guidance of a qualified teacher and you will be well on your way.
Have a burning question about yoga that you want to ask? Shoot me an email or join our Ready For Yoga private Facebook Group for anyone interested in getting started with yoga or encouraging others to do the same. We would love to include you!