5 Body Alignment Poses to Practice

Pose #1:
Stretching our calves; We're not doing much, but sure feel it.
We are oblivious to the fact that wearing any height of heel, either walking, standing or sitting while wearing them impacts what is happening to our bodies. It doesn't matter what you do, heels shorten the back of your legs, from the calves to the pelvis. To feel the impact, find a few different pair of shoes with different heel heights. How does your body position itself to accommodate different heel heights while standing, sitting and walking. Even better, stand in front of a mirror and see how your bodies reacts to the different heights.
When we take a look at the muscles along the back of the leg including the eye of the knee or the back of the knee, a lot is happening. The muscles in the calf run up past the knee and the hamstring muscles run down past the knee. Then to add a bit more, your hamstrings are connected to the pelvis, which is connected to the lower back, and the list goes on and on. As for the knee itself, tight calves and hamstrings, can then cause compression in the knee joint.
So, often times when we are practicing Downward Facing Dog, and our heels don't reach the floor, we adjust ourselves so the heels come down, but then the knees want to bend, then lower back and shoulders start to round. This is a result of tight calves and the domino affect.
So lets start from the ground up, with a stretch to help lengthen your calves. The only equipment you need is either a foam halfdome, or a rolled up towel. Anything with height.
Be mindful of how your brain wants to help you out, to make the pose a bit easier. Shifting to the non stretching side, twisting the hips a bit, arching the back or bending the knees.
Give it a try, send me a note or comment on facebook, with what you come up with.