Should we be Rigid When it Comes to Rules of Alignment?

Are there rules of alignment when it comes to yoga and specific exercises or postures? Absolutely. Should we be rigid about these rules? In some instances, yes, but in others, absolutely not. Every-body and every circumstance is different.

According to my online dictionary, the definition of “kinesthetic” relates to learning through feeling such as a sense of body position, muscle movement and weight as felt through nerve endings..And this stuff, is far more important and relevant than rules.

Another thing that it’s important to remember is that anatomy is the study of dead people. So while facilitators and therapists can talk about it and allude to it and make assumptions for every “body” in a room based on this stuff, I would argue that one hundred percent of those who exercise, practise yoga/Pilates, run or go to the gym are actually very much alive! So, it’s pretty clear that the only person who really knows how you feel in your body, is YOU – not the instructor who is likely a little fitter, stronger and/or more flexible. Such is the way things tend to be.

In my classes for example, I will teach the majority of postures and vinyasas or exercises in a way that generally FEELS better for the MAJORITY of modern, stiff-hipped bodies in the room. It’s a way of moving and creating core strength without tension and it’s not new, it’s ancient movement philosophy. But, although we all tend to get caught up with our THINKING brain and end up lost in our egoic self, we are all very different. Therefore, it is far more relevant to listen and tune in with your “FEELING” brain (enteric nervous system) to get a sense of what feels perfect for your unique self. The reality is, you could be special!

In this image, you can see that Sarah is doing a plank pose and her scapula is very winged. This is quite common and over time, there’s a possibility it could cause problems with her shoulders. Is it wrong to do it this way? Well who’s to say? But if I show her how to tweak it slightly and it looks slightly different, feels slightly better, is less stressful on her body and less likely to cause injury, then that’s right for her – right?