Developing an eye for correct Yoga postures through drawing

vira III lior

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.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.24.26 PM

Then, try to recreate the drawing (sorry Bobby, I’m just a novice)

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.24.46 PM

 

Next, try to fill in the base of the drawing so that it is even. I inserted a “block” under the drawing’s hand.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.25.20 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.25.33 PM

Next, work your self up from the base to the joints. In this case the kneecap presses back and the elbow is fully extended.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.26.15 PM

Next, the rotation of the “top” of the limbs. In this case the thigh externally rotates and the upper arm externally rotates.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.26.31 PM

 

Next, I draw the direction of the top leg and the trunk. The top thigh externally rotates and the trunk rotates toward the ceiling.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.26.59 PM

 

Lastly, I draw the top arm action and put a pointy nose to indicate which way the head is turning.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.27.13 PM

 

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:

lior trikonasana

 

I hope you find this exercise enjoyable.

 

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14 thoughts on “Developing an eye for correct Yoga postures through drawing

  1. lior hikrey

    hi it is lior hikrey thank you for the article . i am happy that my drowning help to view the asana as clear as possible and there is always more to add.
    i tank to my teachers from israel and all the athere from the world wide that i took days of retreat with them as a student for the last 12 years…and as a teacher my self for 4 years to my student for lateing my to pass them what i learn.
    you can look for me in my facebook for friendship and more drawing to came.

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    Reply
  2. fnyogi

    Hi Yogibattle, am a long time follower of your posts and usually i remain silent, but this made me smile because I started a Iyengar TT program in Germany last september and started posting my own yoga drawings which I use as my study notes! I find it extrem useful to draw them, I internalize the asana in a deeper way when i sketch it after the workshops. many thanks for this post!

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    Reply
    1. yogibattle Post author

      I remember when I first started doing Yoga and was “blind” to the many actions in each asana. With each passing year, more “arrows” become visible to me. Eventually there are infinite actions to be seen.

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      Reply
  3. Pingback: Developing an eye for correct Yoga postures through drawing | :: c r e a t i v e : y o g i ::

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