There are certain points of alignment in various poses that you should always pay attention to; for example the knee should be directly over the ankle in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II), otherwise there will be too much pressure on the knee, or the base of your Sirsasana (Headstand) should be properly aligned to support the head and neck. However, as you feel your body in the different postures you must assess for yourself what feels “right”.
Two years ago I suffered a muscular back injury, and I had to relearn and realign my body in poses that I have been practicing for fifteen years. I was a gymnast growing up so I had incredible flexibility in my back. Backbending postures came easily to me. After my injury, I could no longer open up into Natarajasana (Dancers pose) with a full bow in my back, or push up into Urdvha Dhanurasana (Wheel pose). I had to begin again, wipe clean what I had known my body to be capable of creating. I was frustrated, annoyed, and my ego put up a great fight, but as I was able to let go of what had been, my body began to realign and the poses started to feel good and even look good! Using my breath as my guide I created the postures anew in my body.
I am still working in this way. Every day, every class is a new adventure, a new opportunity to notice what has shifted or opened up in a new way. Some days feel better then others, but every practice teaches me something.
Set a time each day, or an activity you do everyday where you can consciously check in with your body. For example use your commute to work; how does your body feel as you sit or stand on the train? What does your walk feel like? Notice the muscles and joints that feel good and strong, and become aware of the places that might not feel as good. As you notice the different parts of the body, send your breath into the spots that feel good, and a long moment to send breath to the spots that aren't quite as strong. What shifts from day to day? Let me know what you find by leaving a comment in the section below!
Awake by Tycho
Happy by Pharrell Williams
Just Say Yes by Snow Patrol