Take a Trip to the SPA with YogaFit's Seven Principles of Alignment

Monday, October 31, 2011
Feeling relaxed and at peace is one of the most important components to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here at YogaFit, we believe that it is easier to feel emotionally at peace if your body is in a stable and healthy condition. One of the ways that we attempt to maintain this balance is through our Seven Principles of Alignment.
These principles help to create the optimal biomechanical position for the body during movement, all while holding the postures typically involved in hatha yoga. SPA increases safety while simultaneously providing  functional, mechanical principles that participants can use in their daily lives. As YogaFit instructors, we can use SPA to determine the safety of our participants in poses, as well as the overall safety of additional poses we learn.
1. Establishing Base and Dynamic Tension.  We establish a firm base in the feet and hands, stacking our joints for maximum support, and contracting our muscles to become stable in a pose.
2. Creating Core Stability.  We use the muscles of the trunk (e.g. abdominals, erector spinae) to create core stability prior to moving into and while holding poses for greater strength and internal support.
3. Aligning the Spine. The spine is supported through core stabilization in all applicable poses, and the head follows the movement of the spine.  When moving into twists, flexion, or extension, we start in neutral spine.
4. Softening and Aligning Knees.  In all applicable poses the knees stay in line with ankle and point directly out over the toes.  In general, the knees, when bent, will also remain in the same line as the hips.  To prevent hyperextension, we keep a microbend in the knees at all times.
5. Relaxing Shoulders Back and Down. The shoulders are drawn naturally back and down in poses to help reduce tension in the neck and shoulders.
6. Hinging at the Hips. When moving into and out of forward bends, we hinge from the hips, using the natural pulley system of the ball and socket joint, keeping a microbend in the knees.
7. Shortening the Lever.  When hip hinging, flexing or extending the spine, we keep the arms out to the side or along side the body to reduce strain on the muscles of the low back.
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