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Many “Right” Ways – That’s Viniyoga

You’re in yoga class and the teacher is leading you through a posture (asana). Perhaps you’re becoming a little frustrated because you don’t feel like you look exactly like the teacher or some of the other students. And, you might begin to think that you must be doing something wrong.

Sadly, many people – teachers and students alike – think there is only one right way to do a posture. This thinking is one of the reasons injuries occur in yoga. Not all bodies are alike. In fact, every body is different with different abilities and needs and these difference need to be respected.

The purpose of asana is not to master the posture based on some external concept of “right”. The purpose of asana is to be a tool for understanding your individual body and its conditions. To do that, you need to understand why the posture is being done, and your attention needs to be directed internally. Then you can adjust the posture to meet your needs and still get the intended benefit.

Let’s take forward bends as an example. The primary purpose of a forward bend is to stretch the low back. If you happen to be someone with very tight hamstrings, you will need to bend your knees until you feel the stretch. Otherwise, you’ll feel the stretch primarily in your hamstrings. Perhaps, your classmate doesn’t have tight hamstrings so he has only a slight flex in his knees. (No straight legs – please!) You will look very different as you both do the same forward bend. And, you’re both right because the primary purpose is to stretch the low back.

Of course, there are many reasons for doing a particular asana and the way an individual does the asana depends on that reason for doing it.

Viniyoga views asana as a tool for exploring your own particular body. There is no such thing as only one way. Happily, there are many right ways.

Joanne Thompson

Joanne Thompson

Founder/Owner at Yoga for Self

Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
Joanne Thompson

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