I am fierce advocate for doing Yoga with healthy joint alignment because I am a firm believer that Yoga can and will over stress your body if you don’t learn to understand how it works and do postures that feel right to you. And as Yoga is something you can do right up to when you pass into the next world, it’s worth being mindful of how you practice from day 1!
Our bodies are designed (well that is until we evolve further!) to move in certain directions and within a range of movement that feels natural to the joints. I get all out of my pram about some Yoga postures, particularly the more advanced ones, because I feel that, for most people going to yoga these days, you can induce wear and tear and injury to knees, wrists, elbows, necks and ankles because you a) want to copy the teacher or b) feel like you ‘must’ do that posture in class or c) feel like you have to keep up with everyone else. The mind is such a saboteur!
With online Yoga becoming ever more popular there is more encouragement to ‘follow the guru/teacher’ at home, which is awesome if you want to be able to access Yoga in new ways but you could be in for a little body drama if the instruction online isn’t sufficient.
So my advice is:
Do what feels right in your body! That’s king.
Feel the difference between just tight muscles around the joints and simple ‘that it’s not natural to move this joint in that direction.’ You have inhabited your body all your life and you inherently know how you are designed, so tap into your inner seer!
Don’t do a posture in class just to keep up if you aren’t up to it. Build your practice steadily is the key.
Let your body lead your practice not your mind. It will try every time.