I am a naturally right-brain dominant person.
Just as it was news to me years ago that I was locking my knees teaching my first yoga class, it took me a long time to appreciate why it is important to perform certain yoga poses in a precise way.
Not necessarily that I am an “anything goes” kind of person.
It was literally that I just did not understand an important idea.
When you get your posture right in any yoga pose, your energy flows better.
What do I mean by that?
Try standing up, bending one knee and schlumping (that’s a scientific term, by the way).
How energetic do you feel?
Now, how do you feel mentally?
The way you stand affects the way you are thinking and feeling.
If you don’t believe me, curl your shoulders forward and look towards the ground.
Now how do you feel?
The first thing that we want to do when we are practicing yoga is achieving some semblance of balance in our muscles.
It’s not so much about being perfect as it is allowing the energy to flow better.
Let’s take the example of mountain pose.
Stand with your feet together.
Spread your toes.
Pull your inner groins back.
Allow your inner thighs to pull back with your groins so that your legs find the central energy channel.
Now lift your spine from the base of your pelvis.
Pull the pit of your abdomen up and in.
Roll your shoulders back.
Lift your xyphoid process – that is the very tip of your sternum.
Spread your chest.
Push the tips of your shoulder blades forward.
Now press your feet into the earth as you reach tall from the crown of your head.
How do you feel?
More than likely, if you followed my instructions, you will notice several magical things just happened:
You have more energy.
You are in a ready position to perform any activity easily.
The definition of good posture is simple:
Good posture is the place where you are most biomechanically efficient.
Since most of us are not particularly aware of our bodies throughout the day – pushing and shoving ourselves through our busy lives – taking the time to understand our posture in yoga practice can change a lot of things about the way you feel.
You probably feel a lot more confident when you are standing tall.
Your lungs can lift and spread better, so it is easier for you to take a deep breath now.
Since your energy is flowing freely, whatever stuck emotions you had can now dissipate, and more than likely you feel just a little bit calmer.
One of the ways that yoga works is by bringing us into awareness of what our bodies are actually doing and bringing them into alignment with good posture.