Aligned and Awake Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 4

Perfection of Lines

45 min - Practice


The Principles of Alignment take you from merely doing a pose to feeling a pose, thereby creating a reflective capacity for us to feel inside our bodies and our minds. Nathan leads a class to help us move more mindfully to observe the lines of the body in order to refine our movement. We visit familiar poses such as Chair, Triangle, and Side Plank with slow and steady awareness of lines, and notice the mind settling as a result of the strong alignment we’ve created in our shapes. You will feel calm, quiet, and stable.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hello and welcome in. Good to have you here as we take another exploration into the principles of alignment. In this session today, we're going to be talking about the perfection of lines in our poses. And in that, we're trying to create perfect lines along each limb and in the torso. And by doing this, by bringing together the support of actions and muscles and the support and resistance in our poses, we're able to create lines in the asana that really bring a sense of support and deep, spacious quietness. And this is where we go from anamaya kosha, or the physical body, and we're really starting to take the attention to the inside where we can feel deeply in joints, deeply into the body, any misalignments that are happening. And that's where we can really start to bring healing to our own self where we become masters of what we are, who we are, and how our body is feeling. And so these poses with the perfection of lines help us to do that. We're going to start today. I've just got one blanket with me just for comfort here. We're going to start lying on the back with knees bent. And we're going to do some exploration because it takes just a little bit to start to understand what it is that these lines are all about. So we're going to take our time easing into these poses. Start lying down on your back and we'll prepare the body with just some easy motion. Let the arms out to the side, knees are bent and feet about the width of your yoga mat. Start by sending the legs left side and right side. We'll call them windshield wipers. And as we go through our practice today, remember slow, easy, soft breaths in and out through the nose. Easy, soft breaths in and out through the nose. And the more you practice these principles alignment, you'll be stronger and stronger with your ability to keep the breath at a soft, slow pace in and out through the nose. Let the knees fall off to the left side and press down on your right foot to help roll the right hip a little further over to the left side. As you do that, you want to keep your right knee pointed upward rather than falling down toward the floor. Keep the knee upward. Then back to center, both knees to the right side. Press your left foot into the mat to help your left hip roll over to the right side and keeping your left knee more or less pointed upward. Let's do a couple more each side. Rolling left, lifting right hip. Rolling right, lifting left hip. Last time left and then last time right. And then coming to center. Sweep the arms down by your hips. And a few times we're going to take arms all the way overhead. Let's do it. Arms overhead and arms back down. Getting some motion in the shoulder joints, a little motion into the thoracic, upper spine. A few more times from the arms over and arms back down. Arms over and back down. And then take the arms over. And if you have a blanket behind your head, slide it out of the way to the side. We're going to lie down flat on the floor to best feel our first introduction into the lines of the body. Let your arms over your head and let them be very relaxed. In essence, creating kind of a circle with the arms as the elbows point out to the sides. And if you think of the arms as two parentheses, parentheses are the curved marks that we use. The inside of the parentheses is concave. The outside of the parentheses is convex.

Anytime there's a bend that would be the inside of the elbow, you have the shorter side there. The shorter line on the outside of the parentheses is the longer line of the two. And see if you can feel that right now in real time in your arms. The inside of the arms is short. The outside of the arms is long. Now slowly, slowly being the key, slowly stretch your arms straight over your head alongside the floor. And if your arms don't stay on the floor, that's totally fine. Totally fine. You'll still get the same benefit here in feeling. And notice how now you've created two parallel lines. The inside of the arm and the outside of the arm are parallel. We've created a perfect pair of lines. Do it one more time. Let the elbows relax so you create sort of a pair of parentheses, a circle of the arms. Inside of the arm is short. Outside of the arm is long. Wherever there's a bend, that's the shorter side. The inside bend is the shorter side. Then slowly straighten the arms and create a pair of parallel lines, the inside of the arm and outside edge of the arm. Now it's possible if you are quite mobile in your joints that you could hyperextend your elbows. My body does that. I've got pretty mobile joints. So I could hyperextend and create sort of an inverted pair of parentheses. But that's not parallel lines. So we have to just go just right. You have to feel these things and then relax, let it go. Then bring the arms down to your sides, drop the legs down into what we call baddha konasana, knees out to the sides, and feet together. Just like the arms, we have a pair of parentheses, if you'll allow me to call them that, where behind the knee, where the bend is, that's the short side. And you can feel that. The inside edge of the leg there is shorter compared to the outside edge of your legs. And even better, if you happen to have a pair of yoga pants on, where the pants crinkle is obviously shorter. And on the outside, the pants will be slightly stretched around the knee. That's the long side. Now slide your legs all the way down and together until they become straight, like mountain pose legs, and you create your even pair of lines. Inside edge, outside edge are the same length. One more time, one leg at a time, into baddha konasana. Just to kind of hammer this home, we have the inside edge is short, outside edge of the leg is long. Slide the legs to straight. And feel now you've created the outside edge and the inside edge of the leg have made parallel lines. It is these lines in the legs, the arms, and the torso that when we were in the poses, when we have them even in parallel, the mind becomes very calm, quiet, and stable, rather than racing around. Then bend your knees. We're going to add the torso awareness now just to feel in bridge pose. Hold on to the side of your mat. Take an easy lift of the hips. Tuck your shoulders under a little. We're not trying to go for a real deep back bend here, but just notice now, the higher and higher and I push my back, the front side, my chest side of the body is going to be longer. The back side of my body is going to be shorter than can you lower your bridge just right so that the front side and back side of the body are the same length. And this is just a feel. I'm not saying this is how bridge should always be. Just so you can feel one more time. Lifting the back up, tuck the shoulders a little bit and you feel as your back bend gets deeper and deeper, the front side of the body is longer. The back of you is shorter than can you lower your body just a little bit and find what you think is your perfect pair. Front side, back side parallel and then release down. Take the knees right and left a little to release from the bridge and then knees into chest. Take a breath in, easy breath out. Lift your nose into your knees. Now this would be just the opposite front side of the body where our yoga shirt will crimp up a little bit. That's the shorter side. The back of the body is the long side. Then let back down and you'll see we create a much more even pair of sides. One more time, knees in. Front side of the body has become short, back side of the body has become long. Remember, all we're doing right now is just feeling to become clear on what lines mean. Next, start with yourself on the side, sideline with your top leg. We're on the right side body, top leg forward, bottom leg backward. We're going to call this an easy side plank.

From here, allow your body, your torso to sink toward the floor. That means the right side of your trunk is getting long. Where our yoga shirt will crimp up a little bit, that's going to be the short side. Actively reach your left arm toward your feet. Again, all we're doing right now is feeling. I've got a long side of the body and a short side of the body. Okay, and then release. Bend the knees, turn to your other side. We'll be on the left side body. Top leg, right leg is forward, left leg is back, and allow your body to sink down, your torso, your spine to sink down. My shirt crinkles up over on this side, but it's long and stretched on the other side. That helps us know. Alright, this is the short side, this is the long side. Right hand down alongside the hip, and we're actively reaching out just to open up the spine just a little bit. And checking in. Yes, I feel that short, and I feel the left side of the body is long. Okay, then release your pose. Come on to all fours now. We've worked with the arms in our previous poses, taking the arms from circle to bent, sorry, from bent into straight arms. So let's see if we can do that here. Let the elbows bend out to the side a little in your all fours position. And then as you straighten the arms, see if you can feel that you're creating an equal pair inside edge of the arm and outside edge of the arm. And just hold there for a moment, taking the awareness through those two lines. You could feel, those of you who can hyperextend, you could actually bow your arm in. That would be a distortion of the two lines. So we're going to try to keep the arms parallel. Tuck your knees. Mind focus on the two sides of the arms, inner and outer arms, staying parallel as you lift your knees and taking a bent knee downward facing dog. Go slow, go slow. And you can feel at a certain point you may not be able to keep the arms parallel. The inner and outer edges. And then come down. Rest your arms for a second. Come off your hands. And we're going to try this again. On all fours, hands and knees, let the elbows bend a little bit. And we know that the inside of the edge of the arm has gotten short. Outside edge of the arm has become long in our bowed position. Then straightening the arms, press from shoulder to hands, lift your knees, focus on those lines, inner and outer edge of the arm, and press back. Staying focused there that you neither hyperextend nor allow the arms to bow. Use your mind to trace from the inner wrist to the inner shoulder, from the outer wrist to the outer shoulder, all the way straight line. And as we're sometimes going to do, we're going to see what happens. If you bow the arms just a little bit, you can feel the whole pose begin to shrink and fall into the floor. Once again, straightening the arms, find your parallel, and see how you have an opportunity now to reach the spine up away from the hands. Then lower the knees down, take a little break. Come off the hands, shake out the wrists. Next, we'll see if we can do this work and include the legs. Hands and knees, parallel arms, tuck your toes, lift up, keeping the arms parallel, and raise your heels up as high as you can. Now we're going to be working with the legs, feet together. To the best of your ability, keep the arms, the arm lines parallel, and now left leg, slowly lifting up to your comfortable height, thinking of the front and back of the leg. If we bend the leg, go ahead and do that. Left leg little bent, that means behind the knee is the short side, in front of the leg is the long side. See if you can begin to press the leg totally straight and feel that both sides, front side, back side of the leg, are equal length, fully straightened. Come down, bend your knees, take a little rest. We'll come off the hands for a minute, shake out, then we'll do the other side. Hands and knees, tuck your toes, keeping the arm lines parallel, neither hyperextended nor bowed, you find your edge, lift your heels, and feet together. Raise the right leg up to a comfortable height that you can control and keep the arms holding their lines. Let the right leg bend a little, that means behind the knee, that side of the leg has gotten short, the other side of the knee, front side of the knee has gotten long. Then straighten the leg completely, feel with your awareness, create that line. Two arms, lifted leg, come down, take a little rest. And once again, come off the hands.

Let's take the knees apart, arms forward, and let them relax. All limbs relaxing. Take a little break, and then we'll come back into it. Soft, easy breaths. And then come slowly out of your child's pose, and we're going to sit on the right side. Let's use the arm lines for our next pose, an assisted side plank. Starting here, right palm connected to the floor, we've got our inner edge of the arm and outer edge of the arm. And we know that either hyperextending or bowing breaks the perfection of those lines. Holding steady, feel with your awareness into the arms. Top leg, left leg forward, right leg is going to go behind, we're going to push up into a side plank. And holding here. Primary focus, yes, the work of the legs, but can you feel that right arm? Neither bowing nor hyperextending. Inner edge and outer edge of the arm. And then come down and rest. Sweep the feet to the other side. We'll go through the same thing. Top leg, right leg forward, bottom leg back. Bringing your focus to your arm, neither hyperextending nor bowing, but extending straight down through your parallel lines. Then pushing the feet into the floor, lift your hips and hold. The focus entirely of the awareness is the two lines of the arm. It may want to bow and keep it straight, holding using the tricep. May want to hyperextend, we check it with the bicep. And then we feel the two lines from shoulder to wrist and shoulder to outer wrist. And bend the knees and rest. First side, we're going into full plank this time by stacking the two legs, one on top of the other. And the focus now is going to be the bottom leg, in this case the right leg. And just very quickly, if I go up and I don't have the bottom foot active, you see I've bowed here. So I have a short side and a long side. We've broken the parallel lines. To do this pose, we're going to try to roll the big toe side of the foot to the floor. We'll start with the left leg bent. Pressing up focuses on the right leg. And you see how I roll the big toe side of the foot toward the floor. As I press the foot to the floor, it allows me to elongate the groin side of the leg, the inside edge of the leg. Two legs stack on top of one another. And then bend and come down. Second side, focuses on the left leg. And I'm going to use the big toe side of the foot to help elongate the inner line of the leg. We'll start with the right leg bent. And pushing the feet and leg into the ground, I come up, rolling the big toe side of the foot down. That helps me elongate that line, the inner groin line. And then I stack the two legs holding here. Keep reaching the big toe side of the left foot into the floor. Feel how that creates the lift of the pose. And then ease down out of the pose. We'll come into all fours. A dog pose. Lines of the arms parallel. Raise the heels. And then bend the knees. One more child's pose. Fold the arms. This is just a restful pose. So let the breath calm down and let the muscles relax a little. And let's come up to all fours again. Plant the hands. Let's do the lines. Inside wrist to the shoulder, outside wrist to the shoulder. See if you can feel those lines. Tuck your toes, lift your knees and let's keep the knees bent. Focus is on the arms. One of the beauties about connecting the hands to the floor is we can really feel or push a solid object, that being the floor, and help to create those two lines. Inner wrist deeply into the inner shoulder. Outer wrist to the outer shoulder and shoulder blade. Then walk forward. And hands on knees, just a little half Uttanasana. And come all the way up to standing. Let's take mountain pose.

And we're going to work a little bit on the legs. Feeling the leg line here. In this pose, if we let the hips come forward, that means the back body has become short. Front body line has become long. If I turn around for a moment, show you the same thing. Coming forward with my hips toward this wall here that I'm facing. Here I get that shortening here right at the top of the hamstring and buttock. And in front of the hips, I've become long and bowed. All right? So how do we adjust? Feet together, toes up, brings the leg line back. And I feel that space come behind in the hamstrings where I was pointing just a minute ago. Press down on the heels and see if you can begin to feel from the top of the hip, down to the front of the ankle, and from the top of the hamstring, down to the back of the ankle. We're creating two even lines. Keep your lines parallel and lower the toes. Interlace your fingers and invert the palms. Take the arms up above your head. See if you can keep the legs in their parallel lines. In other words, not letting them bow forward. How high can you take the arms before that tendency to want to bow starts to come? Bring your arms down in front of you. Release the hands. Do it one more time. Toes up, thighs back. Feel that even length. Front and back. Then you can ease the toes down holding your length. Interlace your fingers, arms all the way up. And just holding there. Feeling. That's the big part about the alignment principles. They take you from just doing a pose to feeling a pose. What you're doing in there. And that creates a reflective capacity for us to feel inside our bodies and our mind. And then let the arms down. Next we'll take the feet to hip width and we'll work with the arms in chair pose. Start with the arms in front and we're going to keep them parallel. Inner and outer. All right. Bend the knees just a little bit. We'll take an easy chair pose. Concentration on feeling that we won't let the arms create the parentheses. And holding here. Tricep hugging the bone. Bicep hugging the bone. Feeling a line on the inner and outer edge. Come on up. Take a little further. Feet together. And then arms above the head. Harder because we can't see the arms so we don't know if they're cheating. But let's do this. Arms up to your capacity then look at them with your eyes and see. Yes indeed. Those are parallel lines. And then keeping your eyes on your arms come down into your chair pose and see that they don't sneak into their bow but they hold strong. They hold strong. Holding strong. And then maintaining there take a few soft easy breaths if you can through the nose. Arms parallel. Come all the way out. Well let's make this even more interesting. Left ankle on top of right knee. Figure four. Starting with arms in front. Parallel lines. Inner and outer. And coming down into a chair pose.

Modified chair pose. Then maintain the arms and bring them up to your capacity. Feeling sensing the inner and outer edge of the arm. And then arms down. Come out. Feet together. Right ankle. Left knee. We'll start there. Arms in front. We have two parallel arms. Inner and outer edge. Both arms. Coming into your modified chair pose. Swing the arms up slowly so you can feel that you're definitely keeping those lines. And how does that help? What do the parallel lines do? Let me feel all the way into the shoulder how it's behaving. What it's up to. So I can learn to help it if we need to. And come all the way out. Release.

Take tadasana. Relax the legs. Holding here. Then wide legs. And let's talk triangle for just a minute. Left toes in. Right leg out. We're interested in the front leg lines. Here's the inner edge. Here's the outer edge. Allow your hip, your right hip, to push back behind you. You see what I did there? Right hip goes back. What have we done? Well, this is the shortened side. This side is the rounded bowed side. All right. Now, I like to use my finger right on my tail and I push that here and I see, aha, I've created the two lines that we want to have. Just as an experiment, let's try this. Arms out. Let your bottom go out behind you. Fairly obviously. And then come into the pose and try to lift your top left arm. You can feel that that's a strong struggle there to hold the arm. My neck is kinked and so on. And then I come up. I use my guiding finger right on my buttock there and I press. And now I feel I've got openness here at the groin. I've got a nice long back edge. Now arms. Look down at your right leg. And as you come into the pose, you have to reach the inside of the right leg and draw up the outside of the right leg. Now hold. See how much more freedom you have in your shoulders, in your neck. Now that health can come. And then come up. Let's do the other side. Right toes in, left leg out. Very quickly we'll just do it. Hip goes out just to feel that, yes, I feel that this is shortening, this is shortening, coming together. And that means this is bowing and being pushed out. With my guiding finger there, I say, hip, you have to come in. Now I've got a nice open line here, parallel with the outer line on the outside. Then arms stretched. Keep an eye on your leg with your two eyes as you go into the pose, not letting that left hip sneak backwards. Slow and steady. Keep an eye on that leg. Reaching from inner groin to inner foot, drawing up from outer foot to outer hip. And hold your pose. You can turn and look forward or even turn and look up. Holding here. And then come up. Stretch your arms. Turn your feet to center. Relax your arms. Feet in, right leg out, left foot in, right leg out. Try this in warrior pose. Stretch your arms, warrior two. Bending the right leg, go halfway into the pose, the tendency here, that right butt tries to sneak out again and you can see the distortion in my pose. Again, let's go slowly into this. Bending the about halfway and I have to reach the inner groin to the knee to keep this line open and the outer edge drawing back and in. And how far can you go into your pose and keep those parallel lines in the leg? Warrior two. And coming back, let's keep the arms and adjust the feet to the other side. Reaching from the inner groin to the inner knee, drawing back, making a little circle there to create your parallel lines. Bend the knees slowly so that you know that your left hip doesn't sneak out behind you. And the mind just held on those two parallel lines. And then come up. Turn your feet to center. Relax your arms. Bring the legs in for a little reset. Shake out in mountain pose. And while we're here, let's practice the lines one more time. Let the hips fall forward. Front of the leg is long. Yeah. And back of the leg is short. Raise the toes, thighs back. Create your two parallel lines. And then toes down. Let's take this now into Parjval Konasana. Side angle pose. We'll go to the left side first just to switch it up. Right toes in, left leg out. Stretch your arms. Easy bend of the left leg. And we know now we've got to keep the inside of the leg long, the outside of the leg, drawing back a little to create parallel lines. You can put your forearm on the thigh or take the hand all the way down on the inside. And this gives us a little helping gift here. I can use my left arm to gently suggest to that knee to go open and keep this inner leg long. Hold here. We'll just keep the top arm straight up for now. And then inhale, come up. And we'll change sides. Right toes in. Left toes in, sorry. Right leg out. And then easy bend, not fully in just yet. Inner edge, long, outer edge, parallel, coming in. And holding here. And then coming up. Turn the feet to center, heel to toe, come all the way in. Let's turn to face the short edge of the mat. And we'll practice a crescent warrior. Take the left leg back first. And in this pose, you see how I've created a short side by bending my knee and a long side of the line. So I have to lift that back knee and create equal lines. To do that though, and avoid an overstretch here at the hip, we have to tip the hips a little bit forward.

And this will create more of a bend in the spine. But the key here is you're feeling for an equal length from front of the hip, down to the front of the ankle, back of the hip to the back of the ankle. Hold there and arms up. Use your mind and feel into the left leg, creating two equal lines from hip to ankle, front and back. And then step forward and second side. Right leg back. Same action. Allow the right leg to bend a little bit. Back of the leg is short. Front of the leg is overbowed. I lift that right knee and I create equal length of line from the base of the buttock to the back of the heel, front of the hip to the front of the ankle. And then I can come into the pose. By adjusting the lines of the leg, it creates a little bit more of a bow of the spine. And I'm able to reach up from there. And then release your arms. Step forward. Let's flow a little bit. Last movement. Arms up. Bend the knees. Take the hands down. Step back. Bend the elbows. Chest to the floor. Point your toes. Easy Cobra. Release the chest down. Tuck your toes. Hands and knees to dog pose. And then bend the knees. Let's release and relax just for a minute in your child's pose. Slow, soft, easy breaths through the nose. From your child's pose, let's lift up and take a seat facing the long edge of the mat. We'll extend the legs into a wide leg seated pose. To feel the lines here. If you bend the knees, here is the short side of your leg. The inside of the parentheses. Long side of the leg.

The outside of the parentheses. So our first step is to see if we can create parallel lines. Top of the leg from ankle to hip. Bottom of the leg from buttock bone to heel. It's all about feeling. Your sensitivity. Your ability to feel finer and finer tuned things. When holding here, I squeeze the quadriceps. Draw the quadriceps all the way towards the hip. And press the legs into the floor so that I can elongate that underside leg. From that foundation, we'll take a seated forward fold here. Hands forward. Coming down to where you feel comfortable and confident, but the key is, can you keep the lines of the leg? Top leg and bottom leg. If coming forward at all for you is very challenging, no problem. Your pose is here. And perhaps using the hands to shift your trunk an inch or two forward.

Plenty. No problem. It's not about the flexibility here in this lesson. It's more about the feeling. Your ability to create the support of the pose. So you can really get the deep benefits of your yoga. Then come up out of your pose, lean back, grab your inner knees, and we're taking bada konasana. Bada konasana. Here, if you find that your knees just, this is where your knees want to go, you can use a block to sit on, some folded blankets, anything where your hips are up a little bit more level with your knees to do this pose. If you're able to sit comfortably on the floor with the knees a little bit softer, first draw the feet in closer to your hips. And I think we're becoming pros at this. We now know, well, this is the creased side, so this is the short side, and then this is the longer side. How do we create balance there? With your hands on the floor or if you're on blankets, on the blankets, push down on the floor and raise your hips just a little bit. Press your hips toward the ankles a little bit, and you can see what happens. Once again, watch how my knees change a little. I lift the hips just a little bit off the floor, and you can see my knees are going down. That means the groin line is becoming longer, making parallel with the back edge of the leg. Now doing like this versus taking your knees and going, pushing them down is much better, because in essence, when you just push the knees down, you're pushing the joint open. Here, you're allowing the joint to simply relax into its new position. There's no pressure here on the joint. So my bottom is a little bit off the floor, and I'm allowing the groins to open. Now my knees have made contact with the floor. Again, if your knees don't come down that far, it's perfectly fine. Use your hands on your support and just lift the hips a little bit. And as we hold here, can you squeeze the buttock muscles ever so slightly toward the sacrum? Ever so slightly? Nothing. Nothing challenging. Nothing overdoing. And then relax. Shake out the hands. We'll pick up the knees and sit cross legs for just a moment. Let's take an easy twist to the left side. Easy twist to the right side. We haven't talked much about the torso, but I want to bring a little awareness into the torso now. I have two parallel lines. Watch me distort the line. As I turn, do you see how I've bowed my body off to the left side? We've created a short and a long side. So now with me twisting to the right side again, your two parallel sides, can you roll around into your twist, but keep the two sides equal. The tendency is to push off toward the side that you're twisting toward. And then other side. Again, start with your middle parallel lines and then roll around your spine. Keep it there. A few easy soft breaths. And then release to center. Lie down on your back. And in this pose, we're going to just do a little easy releasing, releasing stretch, quad stretch here. And that is to bring the left foot underneath your right leg. You just thread it through. Right hand captures that foot. I'm going to snuggle that foot close to my hip. Other leg on top to gently, gently push the knee toward the floor. Now, if that's too much, you don't even need it, push it in the floor. But if you'd like a little extra, you can. And then switch. We'll take the right foot underneath the left knee. My left hand captures that foot and I'll snuggle it up toward my bottom, allowing the right knee to go down. And then if you feel like you'd like a little bit more into your stretch, just a little, you can put a bit of pressure onto your right knee. And then release. Our next pose, bada konasana lying down on the floor, feet together, knees apart. Here, we're just allowing the hips to relax. Take your arms over your head, capture your elbows. And this is just an easy stretch as we're bringing down the energy of the practice. And then bring the arms down, knees together.

And now we'll take both knees into the chest, wrap your arms around your shins, or if you'd prefer behind the knees, either one is just fine. And with the right hand, we'll take both of the knees across the body toward the floor, left hand relaxes out onto the ground. Easy side twist. Soft, easy breaths through the nose. And again, we're just winding down from practice, letting the brain relax, body to unwind. Back to center. Both arms hugging the knees in for just a moment. And the left arm takes the two knees across the body. Coming back to center, two feet on the ground. And this would be a nice moment to grab your blanket if you'd like, a little head support. I'm going to take mine, slide the blanket underneath my head and neck. There we go. And before we get into shavasana completely, let's do a few things in line with our alignment principle today, the even parallel lines. Gently tuck the shoulder bones, shoulder blades underneath your back just a little bit. And what we're looking for here is that we create an equal line from the front of your shoulder to your palm and the back of the shoulder to the back of the hand. Alright, so you adjust your shoulders just a little bit on each side until you feel that you've created that nice parallel line. The more parallel the line, the more the mind can relax. Same thing with the legs now. Just take the right leg down, slow and easy. And what you're looking for here, if your butt is tucked too far under, the back of your leg will be off the floor. It will be the short side. And what rarely happens though, if your back is super duper arched, you'll kind of be hyperextended into the knee. Find a nice balanced position on the back of your sacrum where you feel from the base of your hamstring, the root of your hamstring here down to the back of the heel and the top of the leg line are both parallel and equal. Do the same with the left leg. There we go. I can feel a nice contact at the back of the leg on the floor, feeling level and balance with the top of the leg. Now I let the energy of the legs relax, let the energy of the hands relax. Close your eyes. If you need to make any final adjustments, you can do that. And then slow, easy, soft breaths in and out through the nose. And slowing your breath down even more so that the fine hairs of the nostril don't feel the flow of air, barely at all. Smoothest breath you can do. And let that be your focus for Shavasana. Good.

And then to work your way out of Shavasana, you can start by wiggling your toes. Bring the hands in towards your tummy and then reach over your head to get a nice long wake up stretch. And then bring the arms down, bend your knees and turn to your right side. Support your head on your pillow. Take a second here.

And then a slow easy push up. We can use the blanket as a helpful seat as we bring our practice to a close. Great to have you here as we study the alignment principles a little bit more deeply. In today's lesson, parallel lines can be used in so many asana to know where the body is. I'm going to use the word distorted and maybe overstretched or even understretched.

But the parallel lines become like a mirror. They can teach us where the body has gone a little off track and help us to refine and refine and refine our movement. And that's really where we can dive deeply into the healing powers of yoga. Because we can see with a foundation, with a structure, we can actually see what the body is doing thanks to the lines that we're creating. So I'd love to hear what you feel about the lines.

If you have any questions, if you want to leave a comment in the comment section under the video. It's been great to be with you. I'm looking forward to our next lesson together. Take care.


Jenny S
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This practice was eye-opening for me. Particularly in triangle, I didn’t realize how accustomed I’ve become to thrusting my front hip out to the side as I entered the pose! What a difference it made using your alignment guidelines. I’m looking forward to applying these tools in my future practices 👍 Also: nifty little quad stretch towards the ending will be a regular addition to my practice as well ✔️❤️🙏🏻
Nathan Briner
Jenny S, thank you for sharing your experience in this lesson! For me, when I first learned about this principle, my practice exploded in amazing ways. I had to go all the way back to the beginning and explore the simplest poses. It was  amazing to feel how the poses changed, unlocked, and grew from this new perspective. I love that these ideas are connecting for you as well. I look forward to hearing what else you’re discovering! 
Catherine A
Hi Nathan, this practice was a revelation for me as well (ref: Jenny ). I have been practicing for a long time, but am often aware that my hip particularly has a 'life of it's own' in poses such as Crescent and Triangle. This session really explains what is going on and I am very hopeful it will improve my alignment overall. A new way of looking at things, Nathan. Many thanks C Xxx
Nathan Briner
Catherine A, I look forward to hearing what you discover as you work with your alignment in the poses you mention 🙂
2 people like this.
Thanks, Nathan Briner --- so helpful to have this type of instruction, to bring more awareness into parallel lines in the body. Definitely received some new insights. Will be incorporating some of your guidance into my own teaching. Blessings!
Nathan Briner
Love to hear it Shawn. If you have a minute, was there anything in particular that really caught your attention in your poses from this lesson? 
2 people like this.
Nathan - Hey!
I like the parentheses analogy. Liked the stretch when you're prepping for bridge but bring the right foot under the left leg and use the left foot to gently put weight on right knee. Enjoyed the side plank work, and the cues for triangle. So many useful points. Arms out in front when going into figure 4 chair and reg chair was also cool. Those are some of the things that stood out to me. Thx again for your gentle instruction and friendly demeanor.
2 people like this.
Yippie! With the help of the parallell lines I can start to feel when my torso is straight and relaxed and the pain subsides. Thank you!
Nathan Briner
Charlotte, this makes me so happy to hear!! 
Tonia T
1 person likes this.
This was an awesome lesson/practice! Thank you so much.❤️
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