Affirmation of the month:
"I will go forth in perfect faith
in the power of Omnipresent Good
to bring me what I need at the time I need it."
Scientific Healing Affirmations by Paramahansa Yogananda
The importance of proper alignment
The ancient hatha yoga poses were designed to cause certain effects in your body. When the poses are performed regularly, in proper alignment, then the beneficial and healing effects of yoga come naturally and effortlessly. Since everyone’s body is different, proper alignment depends upon the capacity of your body. The main purpose of attending a live class at a yoga studio is to have a yoga teacher watch your practice and make corrections to your alignment, and then to learn how proper alignment feels so that your practice will grow deeper each time.
The yoga poses operate on three levels at the same time: physical, energetic, and mental. Every pose provides physical benefits such as stretching certain muscles, relaxing others, releasing tension stored in the muscles, massaging internal organs, and oxygenating the breath. Every pose also has a signature energy flow, the subtle flow of life force (prana), that the pose is designed to stimulate. When you practice in proper physical alignment, the energetic flows will connect spontaneously and automatically. At the same time, there is a mental component to every pose: an attitude or feeling. When you tune in internally to your yoga practice and get in touch with the attitude or feeling generated by a pose, you have found a deeper level to your practice. Your teacher may use affirmations during class to facilitate this deeper connection.
Quotation of the month:
“Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.”
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Fortunately, the yoga student need not be concerned with the details of how the physical, energy, and mental bodies become aligned during yoga practice. Concentrate your attention on going within, tuning in to your body, dropping ego including the release of all expectations of what your body should be capable of, and instead surrendering to your body’s actual capacity and limitations during practice. Not only does this proper attitude towards yoga make for a safe practice, but it allows you to achieve all of the benefits of yoga without undue effort.
Next month, we will discuss the importance of proper breathing and aligning your breath with the movements of the poses.
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