Illustration by Lior Hikrey
I received quite a bit of response from my post “My habit of correcting bad Yoga postures in advertising.” I am not just randomly picking points of poses to criticize. It took years of training and discipline to “see” what a good posture is and what a poor posture is lacking. To fast forward this process, I would advise to do an assignment that was given to me years ago by my mentoring teachers: draw the poses then draw arrows in the direction each limb is going.
This will give you a sense of the base, direction, and correct proportion of each pose. To illustrate, I will do this with Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose).
First, select a good specimen for a posture. I would recommend any of Bobby Clennell’s drawings. She is a long time Iyengar practitioner and teacher and has many books published with her beautiful Asana drawings.
Then, try to recreate the drawing (sorry Bobby, I’m just a novice)
Next, try to fill in the base of the drawing so that it is even. I inserted a “block” under the drawing’s hand.
Then, look at the “base” of the pose. That means whatever is touching the floor or has the “earth element” which is learned later. Draw arrows of the direction the limb is pressing to get a more stable base. In this case the hand and big toe mound press.
Next, work your self up from the base to the joints. In this case the kneecap presses back and the elbow is fully extended.
Next, the rotation of the “top” of the limbs. In this case the thigh externally rotates and the upper arm externally rotates.
Next, I draw the direction of the top leg and the trunk. The top thigh externally rotates and the trunk rotates toward the ceiling.
Lastly, I draw the top arm action and put a pointy nose to indicate which way the head is turning.
This is just a simplified version of this process, but a good way of using other parts of your brain to think about Yoga poses. Drawing the pose makes you slow down and really consider what each limb is doing to create the whole asana. It is also good to do if you are injured and want to still “practice” Yoga.
To give you an example of a more advanced execution of this exercise, practitioner Lior Hikrey offers this level of detail in Utthita Trikonasana:
I hope you find this exercise enjoyable.