Yoga Posture Alignment Tutorial
Past experiences in yogic terminology are known as samskaras. Samskaras belong to the realm of the unconscious mind and construct the human personality. The personality determines how the world is perceived and related to. The literal meaning of samskara is ‘uniform personality’, ‘akara’ meaning ‘form’, ‘shape’ or ‘personality’, and ‘sam’ meaning ‘the totality of.
Tantric yoga philosophers have taught for thousands of years that individuals have the creative power to move beyond the limitations of Samskaras and build who they wish to be. It is our birthright to be who we are…to be an individual and to act and think freely. The ultimate intention of the practice of yoga is to remember our connection to the Divine flow of life, to use our lives to celebrate that connection and to make positive contributions that uplift humanity.
On a physical level yoga postures stretch the muscles which causes them to tear and break down. During rest the muscles begin to rebuild. In this way we literally break down and rebuild our form, the most basic matter of our body. Matter, the physical form, contains energy that has movement in which is maintained an underlying awareness. Sports scientist use the terminology ‘muscle memory’ to describe this awareness. Practicing yoga brings this awareness to the mental plane and engages the personality. We literally ‘work out’ deep seated issues that effect the way we feel, think and respond to situations. This ‘working out’ process brings the revelatory power of grace into our lives. Grace is insight that expands our awareness, illuminates our view of life and empowers us to transform habitual experience and create and reveal something new.
Update your yoga practice and build who you want to be by placing emphasis on the foundation of the pose. Set the intention to move from a supportive base with renewed awareness. Move from a place of connection and enjoy a fuller sense of stability and freedom.
Setting the Foundation in your yoga posture:
- Set the foundation mindfully with devotion and Shri (beauty). The foundation reflects the highest intention.
- All 4 corners must press down or release down evenly for an optimal energy flow to occur in the body.
- Always set the medial side of the foundation of the body then the lateral side.
- medial distal
- medial proximal
- lateral distal
- lateral proximal
- Move from stability and integration first.
Transitioning Principles (Vinyasa): Principles for moving from one yoga position to another.
- Move with the breath.
- Move with a steady, flowing and graceful rhythm.
- Maintain steady awareness moment to moment in the transition.
- Root down from the Focal Point into the foundation during transitions.
The Focal Point
The focal point of an asana is the power center, and in the deepest sense, the heart of awareness of the Universal Self, where motivated by our attitude, we move into and out from. The Focal Point is determined by which part of the body is the most weight bearing in establishing the foundation of the pose.
The Focal Point is located in three possible places in the body:
- Core of the pelvis—in line where the bottom of the sacrum meets the top of the tailbone, the coccygeal process. Active in standing and sitting poses when the pelvis is the most weight-bearing part of the pose.
- Bottom of the heart—top of the diaphragm in the center of the torso at the core of the chest. It is in line between the bottom of the shoulder blades on your back, and the bottom of the breastbone (zyphoid process) on your front. Active in Downward Facing Dog pose and most arm balances.
- Center of the upper palate— inside the back of the mouth in line with where the top of the spine (the Atlas vertebrae) meets the base of the skull. Also, it is in line with where the jaw bone connects with the skull. Active in supine and inverted poses in which the head is a part of the foundation.