By Sangeetha Saran
This article refers to physical forms of yoga, such as: Hatha, Vinyasa, and Power styles. The activity of yoga is like a precious gem; it is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice with an immeasurable transformational power. The yoga approach is multifaceted and doesn’t require performances, competition, grading or judging as it only involves the practice of physical poses with breath control and meditational process.
The main focus of yoga practice is performing physical postures (asanas) in which correct alignment of body parts and stability is very important. According to expert yogis, appropriate posture is essentially important for practitioners because poses are practiced for gaining lightness of body, wellness and steadiness. The correct positioning of our body helps our muscles and joints to support the body for the best possible movement during practice and in life.
The core aim of a yoga workout is to attain body balance and perfect symmetry. The famous “Yoga Sutra” by Patanjali describes that correct body alignment is necessary for being comfortable, relaxed and stable in any pose. A competent and trained professional teacher always explains again and again every specific asana movement has benefits and risks of getting injured before conducting the practice session.
It is the responsibility of the instructor to guide students to perform poses in such a manner that helps in eliminating the menace of having harm or injury. The teacher may also advise students to perform according to their own physical limits, listen to their body, pace themselves, and not to compare one’s self with others. If they overdo a pose or push beyond their body limits they may get hurt.
In comparison to dance, physical yoga is a slow paced workout that entails experience and patience, acquired through regular practice. In a normal yoga class there are different levels of practitioners with different health conditions. The teacher should build up a friendly environment and good communication in class.
For a new comer it is difficult to maintain body balance like others who are practicing with more experience, the teacher should encourage these students by giving positive feedback so that they may feel good and try to reinforce correct posture. Do not allow beginners to practice advance level or challenging poses like shoulder stand or headstand.
The teacher should become aware of each and every practitioner’s movement and should resolve their problems in a positive manner. For example: while practicing standing and bending asanas always check that feet are placed properly because tension and misalignment in the spine is caused by an unequal distribution of body weight on feet. Whereas in seated poses and spinal twists, the sitting bones are tilted forward slightly, for flexible students it is easy to tip forward, but for inflexible one’s it is difficult.
Less flexible students will be aided with the support of props like pillows or a blanket underneath. When performing side angle pose, the body weight is shifted on one side. Therefore, this pose is performed gently and slowly. Overstretching and aggressiveness should the hurt knee joint and adjoining muscles. The teacher should keenly observe students and correct them by demonstrating repeatedly in detail about their proper body placement in order to avoid injuries and attain maximum benefits of asanas. For all of the reasons stated above, educated teachers should offer corrections in form of physical adjustments, variations, or modifications in specific poses.
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