The Original Alignment Yoga Mat: Unlocking Liforme’s Amazing AlignForMe System
In yoga, alignment means the precise placement of the different parts of your body in each pose. The terminology we use to describe alignment often pulls from geometry: arms parallel, leg perpendicular, foot at a 45-degree angle. It also relies on the specificity of each individual person’s body: hips’ distance, shoulder height, fists’ width. The first set of metrics is absolute, the second infinitely variable. Liforme’s AlignForMe system satisfies both with its amazingly useful, adaptable, and intelligent markers. Let’s meet them.
The Central Line
The Central Line is the backbone of the mat’s alignment system, just as it is a baseline for all postural instruction. It’s impossible to overstate just how useful this line is. It runs strongly along the length of the mat so that as you come into each standing pose, you can always tell if you’re set up symmetrically. When your feet or hands are meant to be parallel, as in Mountain Pose, Downward Facing Dog, or Plank, a simple glance down allows you to make sure your extremities are indeed equidistant from the line. Checking this guideline soon becomes natural and intuitive, so it doesn’t distract from your focus during practice.
In a pose like Warrior II, where the foot alignment is front heel to back arch, the Central Line once again proves its worth. A quick look around any yoga class (we’ll allow it just this once!) reveals that even when students receive this verbal cue from their teacher, many feet are still set up too narrowly, which limits the range of motion in the hips. This holds true across a wide variety of standing poses, including Triangle and Extended Side Angle. The visual reinforcement of the Central Line provides an invaluable tool to help yogis self-correct.
The End to End Lines
The End to End Lines work in concert with the Central Line, providing another important reference point for standing poses. In Downward Facing Dog, these lines are particularly helpful guides for placing the hands and feet evenly. Two different sets of End to End Lines are provided to account for the wide variety in peoples’ heights but don’t feel you have to match up with them exactly. Placing your hand between the lines works just as well as on them, so long as the two hands are set up the same way.
All of the AlignForMe markers are etched into the top layer of the mat or printed on the surface. The markers provide a subtle texture under your hands and feet, allowing the sense of touch to provide another form of input since you can feel the lines even if you’re not looking at them. This is particularly useful when the End to End Lines are under your fingertips.
The 45-Degree Lines
In most alignment systems, Warrior II and Triangle are taught with the back foot parallel to the back of the mat (and also the End to End Lines). For Warrior I and Pyramid, the back foot is turned in a bit, say about 45 degrees. Hence, the incredibly functional 45-degree lines that form the AlignForMe design’s central motif. Again, you don’t have to place your foot right on the line or adhere rigidly to the guide if you’ve found that 50 degrees is more your style. Just having the markers offers a point of reference that is otherwise missing. The AlignForMe system is all about giving you more information so you can tell how your body is set up at all times and easily see where there are imbalances. Noticing is the first step to correcting.
The Reverse Points
When you’re preparing for a pose like Reverse Table Top or Wheel, use the triangular Reverse Points as guides for the hands and feet to help you find shoulders’ distance and hips’ distance apart. Since they are equidistant from the Central Line, the reverse points can also be used as another visual reference for a balanced set-up in poses like Cat-Cow and Plank. The AlignForMe system is designed to be flexible in supporting your alignment in many different ways.
The Central Motif
On Lifome’s Signature Mats, a lotus bloom in the centre anchors the AlignForMe design as a reminder to ground down in order to rise up. Our Special Edition Mats feature a variety of focal images, including a sunburst, a mandala, hearts, gratitude hands, and our Zodiac Animals.
Align With Us
Alignment cues usually come verbally from a teacher and may be reinforced with a manual adjustment, but it takes time to internalise these instructions. Liforme’s AlignForMe system adds a set of visual aids that are always available right on your mat. This is extremely important for yoga beginners, but because the system is so flexible, its possibilities grow with you as your practice progresses.
As we like to say, it’s not rocket science, it’s physiology!