Being aligned means that all of your body parts are in the right position, working optimally. It sounds an easy concept, but more often than not, our bodies are not properly aligned. Aches, pains, weaker muscles, poor posture, and injuries can be the end-result of chronic misalignment.
Yoga is a great way of bringing about more alignment to the body because it can loosen stiff muscles and strengthen weaker ones. It also encourages a natural flow between all of the different body parts. When we’re correctly aligned, we shouldn’t feel discomfort or injure ourselves. Even so, many enthusiastic yogis are still not getting it right. And that means they’re not getting the full benefit from their yoga poses!
Why Yoga Alignment is So Important
There are so many reasons why alignment is crucial in yoga, that it’s difficult to know where to start.
For one thing, having a stable foundation ensures safe practise and reduces your chances of injury because you’re not locking joints or overstretching. It also protects your body in the longer-term, avoiding unnecessary stress or wear and tear on the joints and ligaments, preventing conditions like arthritis.
Being aligned also conserves energy. Think back to a time when you were trying to do a yoga pose and felt out of sync, were wobbling all over the place or desperately trying to get everything in the correct position. Chances are that you were having to use energy to stabilize yourself and bring yourself back into alignment.
When joints are in the right place, blockages are also removed, and flow is encouraged. The circulation is improved, and blood flows unhampered to where it’s needed most which is energising and combats fatigue. Energy meridians or ‘channels’ are also unimpeded, enabling energy to course through the body, boosting physical and mental health.
Having everything in the correct position also enables the muscles to work optimally and that helps to build strength and power in the body.
How to Stay Aligned in Yoga
Having the right tools will most definitely help you on the road to better alignment. A grippy, supportive yoga mat is essential. Slipping and sliding out of pose because of a sweaty yoga mat, guarantees poor alignment, meaning stress will be placed on the shoulders, hips, spine, and other joints. Not only that but slipping and sliding is a hazard and sure-fire way to end up with an injury.
Yogi Bare extreme grip yoga mats incorporate advanced technology to stop you falling out of pose. Not only that but they also have alignment guides on them, making it much easier to position yourself correctly.
Sometimes an extra-long yoga mat can be useful when you’re struggling with alignment because it gives you more room to play with. Fortunately, Yogi Bare has a great selection of standard and large yoga mats to choose from. The Paws X Mat or Paws Flow Mat are a great choice because they’re longer and wider than normal, giving you plenty of space for poses, without having to put hands or feet onto the floor, which can sometimes be off-putting and discourage correct alignment.
Our highly portable Teddy Mat is another great option for when you’re travelling, going on holiday, practising yoga outdoors, hot yoga or to take with you to a yoga class. The velvet microfiber surface becomes extremely grippy under sweat and moisture, preventing bunching up. That means that this lightweight, non-slip travel mat can be used for keeping you aligned on any surface including the floor, grass, or sand.
Other props like straps and blocks can also help with balance and encourage proper alignment. We highly recommend RPET Yoga Stretching Strap Black, available in classic black or RPET Yoga Stretching Strap Tropical. Incredibly strong and durable stretching straps, these are also made from sustainable materials too. You‘ll be amazed as you gently edge past previous boundaries and improve your form and body alignment whilst in posture. For additional support, to prevent wobbling, engage the muscles correctly and align joints correctly when you’re trying out more challenging poses, opt for a firm foam support block or bamboo support block.