Alignment based yoga has been the foundation of my practice since I stepped into my first yoga studio in 2002. It was a full fledged Iyengar studio in Atlanta where all the teachers traveled to the Iyengar Yoga Institute in India to study with B.K.S Iyengar.
These days I post about doing yoga with my family, with my baby (now toddler) and offer glimpses of how my practice cascades into our family’s lifestyle. It’s fun to post photos of impressive looking poses in pretty places. Like this one my brother took of me doing yoga on a paddle board in the Aspen mountains.
This is fun but it’s not how yoga most affects me in my daily life. Being in this SUP yoga video for the Travel Chanel was fun too. Really fun! But it’s not my everyday yoga life.
Through a slow and steady practice focused on breath work and stillness in poses, I personally benefit from the grounding affects mentally while my body reaps the benefits of gaining strength. A strong body supports a strong mind. And it can all begin with an easy standing pose, like Tadasana (mountain pose) with two feet on the ground.
Take Virabhadrasana I (warrior 1) as another example. Instructions for this standing pose can include lifting your pelvic floor, drawing your navel up and using your transverse abdominals to lift your diaphragm towards your ribcage while extending your arms towards the ceiling and softening your neck and shoulders. Staying there for five steady breaths brings a quiet opportunity for self awareness in the body and the mind.
Acute attention to the aligned body brings stillness, focus and slows down our central nervous system. It allows me to see things not from a different lens, but challenges me to be open to new insight. That’s the outcome I’m seeking when I get on my mat. It’s not always about how long I can hold a headstand. I know I’m not alone in this thinking. It’s ancient wisdom.
Then one day the beginner poses lead to the intermediate poses and a headstand feels as natural as a downward facing dog. But everyone has to start somewhere. And putting one foot inside one good yoga studio could be all it takes to embark on a new path.
I’m teaching a new class called Everyday Alignment at The Glowing Body Yoga Studio. The class description can be found here. My yoga bio can be found here. If you are local come join me for class. It’s every Tuesdays from 10:45-11:45. $10.
If you are not local, I am guilty of joining in the Instagram fun of posting photos of me doing yoga poses. You can play along by following me if you want. I always hope my posts are helpful and inspiring, and not placed there for my own ego. I will forever be a student of yoga and have much to learn.