Yoga can be an effective way to prevent and ease aches and pains—but it can also cause them if you’re not careful. The key is proper alignment. Go from “ow” to “om” in seconds by making simple alignment tweaks to common poses. In this video, Yoga With Kirby founder Kirby Koo shows you quick fixes to take pressure off your knees, wrists, and neck. These basic principles can be applied throughout your practice to help prevent pain before it starts.
Once you’re set up in Warrior II, pay attention to the position of your front knee. Is it sticking out beyond your ankle? Is it collapsing inward? Pull your knee back into place, so it’s stacked directly above your ankle, and tracking in the same direction as the toes of your front foot. This protects the ligaments in your knee and prevents knee pain.
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Plank is a great core stabilizing exercise if you have proper alignment. But if your belly and hips sag in this pose, then your wrists are probably taking on the brunt of your body weight. In plank, engage your core muscles by imagining a zipper running up from your pubic bone to your belly button. This should help raise your hips so your body forms a continuous line from the top of your head to your heels, a more stable position that will help distribute your body weight more evenly and ease the pressure in the wrists.
Cow pose can feel super satisfying, but it’s easy to go overboard and strain your neck while you’re enjoying the gentle backbend. When you’re in cow pose, it’s important to remember not to tip your head too far back, shortening the back of the neck. You’ll get a lot more out of the pose (and avoid neck strain) if you imagine your neck as an extension of the gentle curve of the spine. Lift your gaze only as far as you can without compromising the curve in your spine and the length in the back of your neck. The same concept can apply for Upward-Facing Dog, too!