Alignment and Sequencing
Yoga provides an entire system designed to help you access this power. The Shanti Yoga system offers a step-by-step system of postural alignment together with the most beneficial, effective and logical sequencing that supports all levels of personal transformation.
Each individual pose in yoga has its own mechanics, which will help you develop an understanding of how to practice.
Embedded in your yoga practice is a complex constellation of alignment cues, which you must absorp and track in your body, so that you can enjoy your own practice, and then transmit in your teaching. This means learning how to align your body with its highest function, and develop an effective progression of yoga movements for specific outcomes. The principles of alignment thus work to naturally develop stability, optimise strength and flexibility and foster deep healing.
Alignment can be seen as a tool based on sound body mechanics that pragmatically organise movements of the body for optimal integration, stability, mobility and foster deep healing during yoga asana practice. They are principles and practices that serves as a means to safely and methodically shift limiting patterns and perceptions in the body, and help you access freedom more deeply.
However, alignment is not a set of rules imposing conformity onto the body. Alignment itself is not the goal, but a way to guide you towards a deeper sense of self-expression and personal freedom. It invites you to practice a broader form of alignment, fine-tuing your intentions, self-perceptions, self-image and self-worth, together with your relationship to others and the environment.
It is thus a continual dialogue between awareness and action. You must become aware of the relationships that exist throughout your body and mind, and act from that awareness. You may then go on to aligning with and embodying the qualities of abundance joy, boundless love, compassion, understanding and forgiveness. This greater practice of alignment helps you create a sense of integration between your inner world and outer world.
How do you wish to see and experience your relationship with others, your activities, your environment, and even your spiritual connection? What motiates and inspires you? What do you pursue and invite into your life, and what do you move away from or let go? How do you identify and determine what underlies these choices?
Self directed learning, arising from self-observation or self-study is an important facet of yoga practice. This kind of introspection impacts your life, and over time you begin to heal, strengthen, refine the flow of energy within your body, with a ripple effect. As you become more sensitive to your body, body becomes teacher, and you realise that it can offer direct feedback about your life choices and general frame of mind. you become more aware of behavour, thoughts and perceptions that are not for your highest good and greatest joy. For instance, you may be more aware of how you feel the next day after overindulging in inappropriate substances the night before, or you no longer feel comfortable with a tendency to judge or criticise others, or you may fing=d that harbouring anger towards someone who hurt you only causes you further pain. major or minor, this kind of discomfort can inspire new choices that are more in line with your developing sense of self.
This alignment creates a state of knowing. When your body aligns, your spirit soars, and asana becomes a sacred dance with each movement coming together as a transformational, powerful, and harmonious whole.
As a teacher, you align your highest intentions with your actions so that your actions are a reflection of your aspirations for the highest good for others, the world and yourself.
The delight of embodiment is also reflected in Shanti Yoga sequencing - the way one pose follows and contributes to another, allowing you to take your practice further, positively transforming you on a very deep level. Sequencing helps you individualise your practice and match it with your intention, which can vary to soothe, inspire, excite, build strength, lull you to sleep and so on. A well-sequenced asana practice can help centre you, open your heart and connect with your soul (purpose).
You have the power to positively transform and shape your life. Through the practice of yoga, you uncover the source of power within you, learn to connect with and maximise it for your life. If you do not imbibe a deep aareness of alignment and sequencing in your own practice, then your teaching will be overly cerebral and even tedious.
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime.