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Alignment in Yoga: Redefining the Notions of Simple and Difficult Poses

In this subject, yoga, we are supposed to do asanas that are going to help in the smooth functioning of our life. A school teacher, an IT professional, or a courier delivery person, all of them will have different physical abilities and limitations. We generally perceive an asana to be simple or difficult based on how it looks aesthetically. A Samasthiti or Tadasana can be looked at as simple, but a Sirsasana or a headstand can be considered difficult based on their level of practice.

Being an Iyengar yoga practitioner, I look at poses for their correctness and alignment. When I go with this approach, I realized that the relation between simple and difficult poses got blurred. The basis of pure aesthetics got blurred, and a new element emerges, which can be identified as an "action" to be performed to reach that alignment in that pose.

Now, coming back to the simple and difficult perception of a pose, this perception can totally dismantle if you add the element of alignment to your pose. A simple pose will become difficult for you if you try to do multiple variations of that pose considering involving different parts of the body.

A Tadasana can be looked at as a very simple pose, but if you try extending your arms back in Tadasana, then it totally shifts your focus to your shoulders and more difficulty starts coming in. Also, if you interlock your fingers and extend your arms to a greater extent, then the difficulty level increases. So now comes the second part of this article I am going to talk about.

As a part of our practice, we learn to make difficult asanas simple with the help of props. There are all kinds of props to help us make that pose at ease for us so that we experience the larger dimensions of our body through our practice because with that experience only we can prepare our body to perform those poses independently someday.

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