If you’ve taken any yoga classes with me in the past, you probably know I love good alignment cues. I love finding tiny little adjustments to a posture that have big benefits and “aha moments.” I love it when one principle applies to a broad range of postures and their accessibility. So today I’m going to share with you the
3 yoga asana cues that I believe are the most valuable in any pose or class.
You don’t have to be an experienced yogi to benefit from what I’m going to share with you today. In fact, these three cues are helpful even if you never step on a yoga mat!
The first one is soften.
Are you surprised? This is the first thing I always say when we are beginning a new pose. (It’s also a great thing to do when you enter a new conversation with yourself or someone else.) We begin by taking a breath and softening.
This softening trickles down on your inhale from your nose to your toes...or really, the arches of your feet. So many times we want to do yoga because of its calming effect, but if our feet aren’t soft we are sitting atop the floor, tense and ready to run. There’s no way we can root to rise, root to anchor, or root to just feel present. Balancing is harder when you can’t feel your foundation.
Softening is also the quality that fills your entire body. It helps you access your breath. Try breathing deeply with a tense diaphragm! Try clenching your jaw but feeling open to listening to your body or your friend. It’s almost impossible! Soften your boundaries and be open to communication, compassion, and joy.
The second cue is strengthen.
This, combined with your exhale, fortifies your body and engages your core. Tone your muscles in a generous hug around your bones. Draw your energy inward and come into laser focus. Integrate all your disparate parts and thoughts to your central channel and tap into your courage, strength, and willpower.
Reach back out into the world, down into the earth, and out from your heart and mind. Imagine your limbs growing longer. Feel your muscles stretch as you become more flexible and adaptable. Move beyond your perceived limitations into an experience that is expansive and inclusive, beyond the limited view we often have to the 30 thousand foot view of a higher perspective.
In this week's PODCAST, I talk you through these cues in a way that hopefully makes it sink in no matter what posture you are in (or even if you're walking!).
May your softness expand with compassion, your strength fortify your courage, and your length be long arms that reach into the world in service.