My habit of correcting bad poses in yoga advertising

I should be committed to some type of institution. Everywhere I go I see bad yoga poses in advertising much like the kid in The Sixth Sense who said “I see dead people.” So to cope better with my constant “hallucinations,” I have taken it upon myself to “correct” the horrible postures I see in commercialized yoga. The pose I will focus on for this post is Ustrasana, camel pose.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 2.34.40 PM

I ran across this at Target. Her Ustrasana isn’t as horrendous as the ones below, but it could use some work. If I were to give her instructions I would say “bring your hips back and place your palms on your feet while maintaining the hips over the knees.” What is nice about her pants is you can see the stripe is not completely vertical, giving away her shortcomings in the pose. She would also benefit from pressing her shoulder blades up more so her flexible lower back doesn’t do all the work. I would also have her point her fingers back toward the feet and move her thumb in in the same direction of the other fingers (instead of grabbing) as her grip in the picture closes the shoulders.


Our next specimen is lifted from the Lululemon Facebook page. The base of her pose is not much of a base at all with her toes tucked under exposing a big gap between the floor and her shins. Classic Ustrasana has a firm base from the knee to the toes like a blade. She is compensating for her lack of flexibility to touch the feet by tucking her toes under to lift her heels. If I were her teacher, I’d make her start over with the feet pointed backwards so she has that “blade” base. I would also give her a bolster on the shins to give her the height she needs (that wouldn’t sell as many overpriced yoga pants, however). Lastly, I’d tell her to press her hips more forward to keep them over the knees

The second problem with her pose is her shoulders. Notice the hands are pointed forward. Try that on your own if you want to feel your neck cruntch. The instruction would be rotate your wrists so the fingers are pointed back so the upper arms can externally rotate to spread and lift the chest. Love the $100 pants though.

yj ustrasana

I saved the best for last from our friends at Yoga Journal. Aside from being a pose filled with ego by posing at the camera, she is putting her shoulders at risk by going backwards asymmetrically. Practice this way for a few years and you will be seeing your chiropractor more often than you see your dentist. The obvious instruction would be to get out of the pose and start over by keeping hands on the hips and lifting the spine up and over, then reaching for the feet which she is capable of doing.

To give you my point of reference, here is Guruji’s Ustrasana:

ustrasana guruji



Have a great weekend!

15 thoughts on “My habit of correcting bad poses in yoga advertising

      1. safi4775

        Bahahahaha! I’m slowly learning at home, daily. I love the solitude of a home practice but I’m aware of its limitations, so your post was great extra fodder for thought, the next time I pick a video with that in.


  1. Jean Ketchum

    You are not alone! I am always wanting to correct poses. I love your blog and smile when I see it in my in box. I have been studying Iyengar yoga for twenty year. I am hoping to take my certification to teach in 2016. Been trying for a long time and my health has been a challenge. I am a cancer survivor. My yoga has sustained me. Keep posting you inspire me!


    1. yogibattle Post author

      Wow Jean! I am very honored you follow my blog. My instructions in my “asana” section will help you for assessment. Let me know if you have any questions regarding assessment and I will be glad to share from my experience. Many blessing and best wishes on your path.


  2. Rachel Leshaw

    “Love the $100 pants though.” hahaha!
    i once was the “yoga expert” at a photoshoot for an electronics company. they didn’t care about anything i had to say. they just wanted the pose to look big, dramatic and sexy. cha-ching!


    1. yogibattle Post author

      We are all in the same boat! I’m hyper critical of Yoga advertising because most think that is the only path to Yoga. Don’t let the thought of being corrected keep you away from Iyengar Yoga. Seeing those corrections that need to be made will open up worlds to your practice. Thanks for your response!


  3. accidental goddess

    There are two important pieces here: 1) recognizing the incorrect alignment and then 2) knowing how to adapt the pose for that person’s particular body and challenges. The first is easier than the second one (IMHO) and are both SO important!

    Liked by 1 person


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