This is part 2 of my 6 part series on the Koshas. Specifically the impact of practicing yoga and taking the teacher training on my physical self.
On a physical (annamaya) level the training has made me significantly more body aware, improved my posture on a day to day basis and also made my poses much sharper. This is partly due to the Tadasana Lab exercise that we did early on, where I learned that my right hip is higher than my left and my left shoulder higher than my right. I find myself adjusting to try to level my hips and distribute my weight evenly, whether I’m standing at the sink doing dishes or walking down the hall at work. Practicing yoga more frequently has made me much more aware of individual parts of my body and when an area needs attention before it becomes a problem. This is particularly true for my tight jaw and neck which gets too tight from tension and stress.
As far as poses, I’m more aware of my form, not necessarily what is “right” and perfectly aligned, but what is right for my body. In general, I think I listen to my body at least a little bit better and don’t feel bad if I want to down level a pose during a particular practice.
This training and focusing on a regular practice has done more for my posture and body awareness than years and years of parental nagging to “stand up straight or you’ll be wearing a back brace” with fingers jabbed into my spine. I will often catch my self slouching and immediately straighten up – lengthening the crown of my head towards the sky, drawing my abs in and dropping my shoulder blades down my back, because it feels better. And really isn’t feeling better a better reason than giving into lots of nagging!