By: Susan Barber

Why does alignment matter in yoga? What if we are just coming to “relax”? I have been asked that question a few times. To understand this, we must understand WHY we practice yoga in the first place. The First Pada Vs.2 of the Yoga Sutras states “Yoga chitta vritti nirodaha,” which translates to: “Yoga (the state of) is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind,” or: “Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness (translation by Georg Feuerstein). If we are trying to calm the mind, we must begin with the very basics: the physical. That means the body! Asana was created by the ancient yogis in order to work the body to be healthy, strong, and disease-free so that they could move on and focus on meditation. When we practice asana, we are opening the nadis, or energy channels, which raise our life force or prana. Yoga alignment ensures that we are doing just that- using the body to open our energy channels.

Otherwise, the physical practice is just physical. We are in fact raising our vibration, our life force and clearing the way towards a deeper connection with ALL things. Maybe all that is just a little too much for a Monday or any morning. Maybe, you come to yoga class just because you always feel better after you practice yoga! Well, I hear you, and I’m down with that. It certainly is why I have been practicing for 23 years. Yoga HAPPENS, it really does, and all we have to do is show up and practice the way it was intended to reap those benefits.

I am thrilled to be back in my home state of Virginia and returning to Fredericksburg. At YOFO my Aligned Vinyasa classes will focus on alignment and using the breath as a gateway to our mind. My classes are strong, steady and mindful; challenging with a gentle approach. I look forward to seeing you on the mat