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What is Alignment?

What is alignment? What do we mean when we use this word in our yoga practice, or in other aspects of our lives?

This term is used so frequently in yoga. It is prevalent in descriptions of Iyengar yoga as well as many other styles. But what do we really mean when we use this word? I think we might often mean very different things, and a clarity with regards to our working definition could be really helpful—or at least an attempt at clarifying what we mean when we use the term in any given context, since the context might influence our definition.

I like to keep asking the question: "what do I mean when I say alignment, and how might it differ in any given context?" I like to come up with working definitions not only for this term, but also for other terms that I use when teaching that can cause confusion because we might not share the same definition. I like to write them down and then reflect on them over time. I like to see how well these definitions are working when applied in a variety of contexts or situations. Do they function well and provide clarity? Do they work when I am communicating with people from other styles of yoga, or with medical profes