Proper Alignment For Good HealthBy Jenny Park and Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT500, YACEP

People scoff at the idea of proper alignment for good health every day. Doctors and school teachers advise patients and students to sit and stand up straight. Yet, people tend to slump forward in every public place. Yoga and alternative medicine has also been on the proper alignment bandwagon for thousands of years! As much as the world is growing technologically, alternative medicine is equally improving. Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong and Pilates are four of the most popular alternative methods for improving skeletal health through posturing.


Ancient Methods Merge with Modern

While other methods have been successful, Yoga has managed to gather a lot of attention. Initially Yoga was created to be more of a spiritual practice, but many studies have shown that the physical techniques help in healing the body and mind. Additionally, Yoga poses are significant in promoting spinal health and improving skeletal alignment. In order to achieve maximum results, students must look for a well-trained instructor to take them through a typical class. Although we recommend Yogic proper alignment for good health, there are other methods that produce wonderful results.


Therapeutic techniques have made this practice very useful in the daily lives for millions of people around the world.  The popularity of Yoga worldwide has made proper alignment for good health accessible to everyone. From this point forward, when referring to Yoga, we are addressing the physical practice of posturing (asana practice) and body’s response to proper posture due to this physical exercise. Yoga training offers many benefits, but those subjects are worthy of books. For now, we will discuss proper alignment for good health with physical exercises.


What Can Yoga Poses Do?

With proper posture, it is possible to get relief from ailments that affect human bodies. This is true for certain disorders that result from misalignment of skeletal structures. When the body is relaxed while practicing these postures, there are higher chances of healing than just sitting or resting. Learning a single Yoga asana requires care and patience from the student. That said, students who are willing to invest personal time will discover much about themselves and the postures they choose to practice. A patient approach will enable the practitioner to practice the postures effectively and safely.


Spinal health is vital for a number of activities because the spine provides the nerves that control the movement of various groups of muscles. Improper skeletal alignment may injure some of these nerves, which causes pain. For instance, lower back pain is known to result from improper sitting posture and inferior furniture. In order to deal with such conditions, you must practice the right postures and choose the best furniture. Studies have shown that when Yoga teachers apply these postures on students, the students are likely to find relief from pain.


Advice For Students

There is more information available than ever before about proper alignment for good health. That said, if this concept is fairly new to you, Yoga offers a simplified system to learn. Anyone who is interested in practicing Yoga poses for better posture can just visit a website or purchase a book to find out more details about these techniques. On the other hand, the safest way to learn Yoga is to find a competent teacher. These days, you may want to view some videos first. As long as you identify a teacher who has experience in this field, he or she will take you through the techniques. If you just try them alone, you will have to give yourself time to learn how your body responds to Yoga poses and you want to work with your poses gently.


If you succeed in the practice of proper posture, then you will surely enjoy the many benefits. The best aspect of proper alignment for good health is that students tend to reduce their intake of pain killers. This implies that they are not likely to suffer from the side effects or complications of standard pain killers. In this case, the patients are usually safer and doctors tend to recommend natural methods these days. Apart from healing, flexibility and overall fitness are also enhanced. This combination of good side effects makes practitioners fit for other sporting activities.


With many physical exercises, individuals become very strong as well. This is also true for Yoga, but care has to be taken because if these poses are forced, then they may result in an injury. Yoga postures have been used to help relieve the pain from nerve impingement in cases such as: Sciatica or thoracic outlet syndrome. Yet, there is a need for guidance among people who are new to Yoga.


Side Notes for Instructors

Yoga teachers provide guidance in the classroom, but the student carries his or her body into many activities. If we instill the idea of proper alignment in life to our students, they will reap the benefits of life with less or no pain. This also applies to the teachings of Qigong, Tai Chi, and Pilates. Although each health maintenance system is unique from the rest, proper alignment for good health is a cornerstone in all of these systems. We want to encourage our students to be mindful at the desk, out for a walk, or sleeping in bed. Many good practitioners need to understand the value of a good mattress and the use of pillows at bedtime.


In Yoga classes, it is possible to have a short tour of Yoga Nidra. If students like what they learn, you can always offer a Yoga Nidra workshop. If the average person sleeps six to eight hours, he or she would do well to learn how to use pillows for a restful and painless sleep session. At the same time, Qigong, Tai Chi, and Pilates instructors would benefit from learning Yoga Nidra and passing it on to their students.


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Jackson RP, Phipps T, Hales C, Surber J (2003) Pelvic lordosis and alignment in spondylolisthesis. Spine 28:151–160

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