Yoga alignment guides are one of the core fundamentals to any good yoga practice. They help reduce the chance of injury while improving posture, and they help to maximise the benefits of a thorough practice.
But many yoga mats come with alignments guides that fit the mat, not the person. Someone who is 6ft 6”, for example, will have different hand and feet placements in downward dog compared to a person who is 5ft 6”.
To get the most from your practice, you need to understand how alignment guidelines can work for you.
What exactly are alignment guides?
Just in case you are wondering what we’re talking about here, alignment guidelines are the specific lines on a yoga that help you position your body correctly.
When comparing yoga mats to purchase, alignment guides should be a fundamental consideration you make, along with things like mat thickness, material, size of mat and price.
Here are the five benefits of yoga mat alignment guides.
1. They help you avoid injuries
Alignment guides help you reduce injury. Amanda, one of the co-founders of Yogaline, knows the importance of this benefit more than anyone. She experienced a back injury in her early 20s and a smart yoga practice with a tailored approach has been a big factor in her recovery.
Even the most experienced yogis can experience pain and discomfort from a yoga practice that isn’t tailored to their physique, and any injury can put yoga on hold indefinitely, which is something we all want to avoid.
2. They help correct poses
During the pandemic, you’re likely doing a lot more yoga from the comfort of your own home. Without your instructor on hand to assist you, it’s important that you self-correct your own poses to help you reap the benefits of a yoga practice.
Yoga mat alignment guides do just this, and they allow you to stretch your muscles within their specified limits and build strength slowly, rather than do damage than may be everlasting.
3. They assist yoga instructors
As a yoga instructor, it’s your job to help your students improve their practice, stretch safely and develop the right tools that help them begin to spot misalignments on their own. Alignment guides give you something to work with, letting you visually spot when a student may be out of alignment and putting themselves at risk. It also helps you easily explain positioning for particular poses, too, and gives your students something to work with.
4. They boost physical wellness
Like good posture when cycling or swimming, great yoga posture won’t just stretch your muscles, but it’ll help improve all other aspects of your body, too. For example, it’ll:
- Help improve overall mental wellness
- Help reduce muscle fatigue and soreness
- Increase the health of your ligaments and joints
- Improve mobility
The list goes on. What we’re trying to say here is this: the benefits of performing aligned yoga go further than just good-feeling muscles, much further.
5. They make yoga more accessible
For beginner yogis who may start building up their practice at home before joining a studio space, alignment guides are a great way to support a practice while offering at-home assistance.
Ultimately, alignment mats beat conventional mats
There’s no two ways about it – yoga mats with alignment guides offer more to your practice than a conventional mat. They give you direction, allow you to remain safe and they help boost your overall physical wellness.
To find out more about what to look for when deciding on a personalised, eco-friendly yoga mat, read here.