Are you posing properly?

IMG_36301We all love that blissful post yoga feeling but what if you are more pained than relaxed after class?  How do you know you were doing your poses correctly and not causing minor injuries through your own ignorance?  These are doubts we’ve all had and even I still do from time to time.  Sometimes poses are even taught differently depending on the teacher or style of class, confusing things even more.  So how can you guarantee that your postures are proper and your body is pain-free?  Here are a few tips-

  • Find a model.  If the teacher is not demonstrating the pose, make sure you’re in good view of the more seasoned yogis in the front of the class.  Be aware that there are more advanced versions of some poses and you may not model every single pose identically.  This will definitely help all you visual-learners.
  • Ask questions.  Either give the teacher a wave and ask during class (use your judgement as to whether this is appropriate given the atmosphere) or approach the teacher after class.  You can always keep a pad of paper next to your mat to write down questions as they come up.
  • Keep an open mind.  As I mentioned before, sometimes poses are taught differently and you may even hear teachers contradict each other.  Remember that yoga was formed through dozens of different lineages causing grey area on some poses.  Be patient and open-minded when listening to your specific teacher.
  • Know your line.  Your pain line, that is.  Push yourself to where you’re challenged, you feel the stretch, but are not pained.  Allow your body to approach that line but do not cross it.  Yoga poses should be challenging but never painful.
  • Get individual attention.  If you still have doubts about your discomfort after class it may be worth getting the individual attention of a private instructor.  This would allow you to have your teacher’s eyes and attention the whole time, ensuring that proper adjustments are made and all questions are answered.
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