As we look to the new year ahead of us, we may feel happy and contented with where we are in our lives or we may feel unsettled and unsteady – not sure how to navigate the challenges in front of us. One of the benefits of yoga is that it helps us stand more firmly on our feet, aligned in our physical body – and this can lead to a mental and emotional steadiness over time which supports us. This is reflected in one of the central niyamas or character-building observances – Ishvar Pravidhana – one translation of which is ‘learning how to line up with nature’s intelligence and grace’.
In yoga, we are working towards alignment of the mind, body and breath to arrive fully in the present moment. But compromised physical alignment, where we force our bodies, can be counter-productive leading to over stretching some areas or reinforcing structural imbalances.