Last week we talked about the importance of alignment. The following information from Sterling Hot Yoga Works Mobile at shywmobile.com provides some insight and helpful visuals on how to keep your hips in one line.
When we teach this wonderful healing yoga, you will often hear us
tell you to put “two hips in one line.” You may wonder what that means.
Two hips in one line translates to alignment on a variety of planes.
For example, in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, we encourage you to
turn your hips, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 times to get two hips in one line.
That one line is the saggital plane, assuming, of course, your hips are already on the transverse and coronal planes.
Hold on, let me back up a bit. There are three planes that we refer
to (but never mention directly) when we teach yoga—the saggital, coronal
and transverse planes. Alignment on these planes, to the best of your ability, is what will
help you to stretch muscles and develop strength equally and
The coronal plane is your body’s ability to maintain alignment from
right to left. So as you bend to the right in half moon pose, you are
working to stay in the coronal plane.
Another way to look at it is to think of your body between two plates
of glass—as you come into half moon, no part of your body is pushing
against the glass plates, you are gliding smoothly between them. That’s
staying in the coronal plane.
Two hips in one line, in this example, mean that your hips
square to the mirror to stay on the coronal plane. Look at the photo of
Taka (on the left) and Laura (on the right)—see how Laura’s hips are twisted out of alignment?
From the side you can see how her two hips are not in one line. You
cannot see Taka’s right hip at all; she is in coronal alignment.
The saggital plane is your body’s ability to maintain alignment from
the center line of your body. In your mind, take those two plates of
glass and shift them to your right and left side.
In tree pose, for example, when you pick up your right foot, make
sure that you don’t shift your hips to the left, thus leaning into one
plate of glass. Shifting weight is easy to do, and it helps you to counterbalance, but it brings your body out of the saggital plane.
Just like in the half moon example above, the goal is to avoid
pushing or leaning into the glass. Keep two hips in one line by
continually stretching upward, engaging your core abdominal muscles and
contracting the quads.
In the example on the right, you can see how my hips are not
line. In fact my whole body is tilted to the left side—see how my left
leg crosses into the white line?
The goal is to create alignment closer to the image on the left so
there is a mirror image on either side of the center line of the body.
The transverse plane is your body’s ability to stay level. The plate of glass just moved to the floor.
In spine twist, for example, it’s important to keep your both hips on the floor to maintain integrity in the transverse plane.
When one hip comes off the floor, your transverse plane is
compromised and that compromise extends up through the entire spinal
When we refer to the transverse plane, we are usually using the term “level” to keep you in alignment.
In the photo example here, Laura on the right has her right
the transverse plane—and look how it affects her whole alignment
She’s also out of alignment from the saggital plane—see how her spine
Because Taka’s hips are both on the floor, the rest of her
body is better aligned.
Who would have thought that two hips in one line could have such important meaning?
As you practice for the next few weeks, focus on your alignment in the coronal, saggital and transverse planes.
Work to get your hips square and level during the setup, the full
expression of the pose and the dismount. And two hips in one line will
bring a whole new awareness to your practice!