Let’s Right our ChatuWRONGas
EDITOR DEBBY SIEGEL
INSTRUCTOR KIM WINN
YOGA MODEL KAYLI DICE
PHOTOGRAPHER MICHELLE THOMAS
After practicing yoga fairly regularly for about 2 years, Michelle and I were in Kim Winn’s power yoga class when she stopped the class to properly correct the majority of us on our chaturanga dandasana. Chaturanga? We had done this move hundreds, perhaps thousands of times by this point, and I, along with most others in this full class, was doing it wrong! Since Kim’s minor adjustment correcting my form, my capabilities and practice have grown exponentially. Michelle echoes my sentiments here. Unfortunately and fortunately, correct form requires more strength than incorrect form. Your body will generally accommodate for positions that require more of it. However, correct posture prevents injury and is critical to reaping the benefits of the asana or pose.
We asked Kim to show us more about accuracy in yoga poses, and about her adjustments that help yogis achieve the deepest benefit from their practice. Kayli Dice, a plant-based chef/dietitian and food blogger planteatersmanifesto.com demonstrated for us.
Yogis should find teachers who offer hands-on assists and who adequately describe the correct form required of a pose. You should know whether your foot is facing forward or 45 degrees out, whether your hips should align with the front of the mat or the long side, and how to align the flow of getting into a pose with your breath. Once holding an asana correctly and combining the flow of your breath with entering and exiting the pose, you will achieve radical growth in your practice and your connection to yoga.
St. Louis has many qualified yoga instructors who teach at countless studios in our area. We like so many of them. Find one that suits you and your needs for your practice. But we suggest finding one that consistently states the correct position for your body throughout the class. It’s paramount.
Properly modifying a pose to include precise form will equip you with the benefits originally intended in the pose’s design. These unassisted images all showcase common positioning errors witnessed in yoga classes everywhere. Their corrected, and assisted versions on the right are intended to help you understand how important proper alignment can be.
Yoga offers modifications for every pose to accommodate for your current state. Don’t be shy. A yoga teacher should ask prior to class if you have any injuries or issues, or if this is in fact your first class, or if anyone is pregnant. These are all valid reasons for getting extra assistance, choosing a modified version of a pose, or taking child’s pose and sitting out for one that’s too much for your body at the time.
If you are interested in finding Kim Winn, she teaches yoga at Yoga Source, Practicing Yoga and outdoors at Lindenwood Park on Wednesday from 6pm – 7pm. Her classes will kick your asana. It’s what she’s known for. Michelle and I have been practicing about 3 years and have a fondness for this level of practice. We recognize power class may not be for everyone, and are so grateful that there are an abundance of opportunities in our city for a variety of yoga classes. We hope you find one that fits you and that you learn the correct alignment, and that perhaps this blog post inspired you to do so!
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