Principles of the Yoga Practice - Movement vs Action

Movement vs. Action - How to self-adjust internally.

Part 5 of 6 of the Principles of Yoga Series. Please read the first, second, third, fourth.

During a Yoga class movement and action have very different purposes.


1.       A change in the body position that can be seen from afar.

2.       Uses large muscle groups.

3.       Identified by a change in body shape.

4.       Less internal, more external

5.       More accessible to what beginning students can grasp.


1.       An internal adjustment used to create stability in the body at is not seen from afar.

2.       Neutralizes law of compensation in the body.

3.       Helps us work away from innate flexibility – path of least resistance

4.       Requires engagement, so actions ae harder to “get” but are optimal for safety & transformation.

Let’s explore this concept with Virabhadrasana II – Warrior 2

Movement - Take a wide stride. Stretch your arms out to the sides. Turn your right foot to the right.  Bend your right knee to 90 degrees.

Action - Spread the soles of your feet. Press your outer left heel down and lift your inner left ankle. Press your left thighbone from the front of your thigh to the back of your thigh. Push your right heel down into the floor. Without straightening your leg, pull back from your outer right knee toward your outer right hip. Lengthen your buttocks away from your back waist. Lift evenly on both sides of your ribcage. Release your shoulder blades away from your ears.
Spread the palms of your hands.

In essence, movements make the shape of the pose. Actions bring the pose to life.

Let’s take this concept off the mat

Where in your life does it seem like there is a lot of movement but not enough action? Considering that movement take us from this point to the other, an actions accomplish a purpose. Sometimes we may seem really busy but not really productive. 

Write it down. #dothework

With love and gratitude,


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