More than Poses

Google Yoga and you will find many websites teaching you how to get into the various yoga poses known as the asanas. But to truly get the benefits out of yoga, it’s more than just the asanas. Here’re 3 points to take note:
1.    Breathing
Do not sacrifice the breath for form. The breath is an essential part of yoga practice. The inhalation correlates with absorbing, receiving while the exhalation is about releasing and giving. For poses that are challenging or require greater flexibility, it may be useful to focus on the exhalation. Or if you need great strength, coordinate your movement with the inhalation.
2.    Drishti
“No dristhi means a weak mind, and a weak mind means no yoga is happening.” Kino MacGregor
Drishti means “gaze point”. Very often, our focus will be on what our teachers are doing or how the other students are performing during class. If we do that, chances are we are not getting the correct postures. Drishti helps encourage the correct form in each posture and is an essential tool for finding balance.
Here’re some common gaze points:

  • Nose: used as a means to avoid distraction
  • Thumbs: used when extending arms, helps find balance by bringing attention to the end point
  • Third Eye: encourages upward and opening motion of the body and lengthening of spine
  • Navel: to still the mind
  • Toes: maintains a sense of balance
  • Upward: helps continue the careful movement of energy up the spine
  • To the side: concentrates the mind on the more subtle flow of energy in the body

So, the next time you get into any asanas, get your dristhi right!
3.    Bandha
Bandha means “lock”. Two bandhas are used in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series: Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha.
Bandha helps build core body strength, enables you to hold the postures longer and makes the postures safer. When you make use of the bandhas, you also amplify the benefits of yoga for your body. Conversely, if not performed properly, they can be detrimental in the long run.
Therefore, the next time when you get into any of the asanas, remember to perform the above 3 points as well!
Yvfynn, 200hrs Weekday Class

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