Being Perfectly Asymmetrical
Updated: Mar 16, 2020
There's always talk about making sure we are aligned. Unfortunately, alignment gets tied to symmetry all too often, which can make people overly concerned about 'imbalance' in our bodies. Balance, in its purest form, relates to loading our joints and the possibility of creating discomfort on one side. Think of how hip sockets are naturally oriented in different ways, or how there may be different torsion in one lower leg vs the other.
This school of thought can also be applied to yoga poses and the symmetry of our bodies. Structural differences should be CELEBRATED and honored in our joints and ligaments. In fact, asymmetry is actually built into the human body's structural design from a granular level. We don't use our bodies the exact same way on both sides in our daily lives, and that can be OK for the connective tissues in our adaptive bodies. We underestimate how well our bodies function around these asymmetries.
As a health coach, we're taught to 'tune into our body,' observe the response, and to listen to our compass of control. We can appreciate how we're all structured differently and learn to adapt both physically and neurologically. We never want to force symmetry or alignment. Rather, we may ease our body into a pose, or honor the fact that one side may not be identical to the other. We are all bioindividual and run on different wavelengths/meridians. If a pose may come with an asymmetrical tilt without pain, there may not be cause for concern.
Now, if you're experiencing pain due to an imbalance, observe some of the most basic activities you do, such as sitting and walking. Do you notice your spine curves to one side? As you walk, do you feel your pelvis dipping a bit to one side? These kinds of movement compensations can be altered with the guidance of a physical therapist or personal trainer. Sometimes it's a matter of activating certain large muscles (e.g. gluteus maximus) and squeezing other muscles (e.g. hip abductors).