The Floor Isn’t Going Anywhere

Anybody who has taken a class from me knows that I’m a sort of an alignment fanatic. It’s my obsession. If you’re in my class, I’m watching you. Alignment is important, but probably not for the reason you think it is. Alignment isn’t there to make the pose look pretty. Or look any way at all. It’s there so you can (a) protect your body and (b) develop the pose. That’s why I adjust your knee. Not for the aesthetics. Trust me when you’re 90 and you still have knees, you will thank me.

IMG_8430When I cue and adjust alignment, I’m showing a path to reach the full expression of the pose. Without the correct alignment, the pose is essentially stuck wherever it is. The most pressing example of this is Triangle pose. Really, I beg you, stop trying to put your hand on the floor in triangle!!!!, I mean it. Triangle, or Trikonasana, is an intense side bend. It’s about holding your hip and shoulder open while reaching to the side. So listen carefully when I say STOP PUTTING YOUR HAND LOWER.

It makes me sad. Since I first started teaching, I’ve watched students do the same thing every time. I cue triangle most of the time from Warrior II (Vribadrasana II). And why do I do that? Because your hip is already open. It’s lovely. Vribadrasana, then straighten your front leg. Gorgeous. You’re in the perfect position. Then I cue triangle and it’s like my world falls apart. You close your shoulder and hip. You destroy the pose. Why? To get your hand on the floor.

Maybe it’s all the pictures in yoga magazines and websites that have caused this obsession. It’s this belief that putting your hand on the floor means you’ve arrived. You’re done!!! Hand down, I can check out now. Sigh.

Trikonasan is a side bend! It’s about stretching your side. How much stretch are you getting with your should and hip turned toward the ground? None. There is absolutely no point to the pose when you do that. You may as well stand up and yawn at this point.

The ground isn’t going anywhere. It’s really not. Some day, they are going to put your corpse in it and then you’ll be there. Forever!!! Yay!!! Until then, STOP. IT.Or I’l come and pull on the wrist of your top and put my hip up your butt and gently guide you back up. Until your hip is lovely and open. Until your shoulder pulls your breastbone upward, toward the sky. Where it belongs. Where your heart can sing. Where the light shines on your face. Where your gorgeous countenance reaching up to the endless sky.

THAT is triangle.

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