I think for a lot of amateurs, their alignment is always out.

Karrie Webb

Alignment is a fundamental concept in our lives. It shows up everywhere. Whether it be the alignment of our car wheels, our media’s audio and video, or our thoughts and actions – when it is out of whack, we notice. We notice because there is a lack of balance and therefore need for additional effort.

Fortunately, when things become misaligned, it’s simple to correct. Back not feeling right? Call your chiro – a snap, crack, and a pop, and you’re freed from that blight. The light not striking your retina right? The optometrist will fix your vision and restore your sight.

But, what do you do if you don’t know something is misaligned?

I spent the first 10 years of my life with undiagnosed myopia. Objects in the distance were blurry to me and I thought this was normal. How was I to know otherwise? I sat in the front of every class and close to every television. I loved using binoculars because it meant I could see things clearly from afar. This was the good life, or so I thought. As I grew older, my mental facilities kicked in and I wondered “why can everyone else except me sit so far away?”

The first thing to do is to get an assessment. This might mean comparing yourself to others to see if they’re having an easier time or sitting in an examination chair to read off random letters with one eye closed.

Once you’ve concluded something is off, the next thing to do is to correct the offset. Sometimes it’s an easy fix and other times it’s a begrudgingly long process, like braces. The thing to keep in mind is that all of the effort you put in now to get alignment will make things a breeze in the future.

In yoga, the king of all asanas is headstand, or Shirshasana. At first glance, you would think that this pose takes a lot of neck, shoulder, arm, and core strength. You would be correct in thinking this. However, it requires much, much more in balance. The key to this pose is stacking the head, shoulders, hips, and ankles all in one line.

Being upside down is unnatural and hard work is needed to master an inverted alignment. During this journey, a yogi will inevitably face a moment of paralyzing fear. This fear isn’t whether or not they can muster the strength to go upside down – they surely can. The fear comes exactly at the moment when balance is achieved for the very first time.

When everything is aligned, the body experiences a novel sense of weightlessness. It’s a feeling so effortless and so abnormal that it’s downright scary. Two panic-ridden thoughts immediately saturate the mind before chaos sets in: “What is going on?!” and “How do I stay in this?!”

With that, I leave you with one parting thought: The most important step once balance is found is to simply let go.


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