Today we’re taking about three things you should be doing while you’re making those fun yoga shapes in order to take your practice to a deeper and spiritual level.
Do you ever wonder why you’re practicing postures? You hop on the mat as much as you can, and attend a bunch of classes, but there’s something missing, right?
Every teacher seems to teach a little different. Some are spiritual. Others are athletic. Some are gentle. Others push your limits. Some use sanskrit, and others never OM.
Are you supposed to breathe out of your mouth or nose?
Should my belly rise or fall on the exhale?
You know yoga is supposed to transform you, and help you become more peaceful, but HOW?
How can you progress if you don’t even know if you’re doing it right?
Let’s talk about this…
There are 3 things that you need to be doing on the mat to help take your practice to a deeper and spiritual level.
Deep Breath With Sound
You need to be breathing. This is the foundation for every practice.
If you aren’t breathing then you’re not doing yoga – period.
In Ashtanga Yoga, we do deep breathing with sound. This breath is in and out through the nose, and is created from the back of the throat.
The reason we breathe this way is because it creates an internal heat within to detox the body.
This heat starts to cleanse and purify the body.
We also use the breath as a meditation point. When the mind wanders – we bring it back to the sound of the breath.
When you do this, you can’t help but notice all of the thoughts and distractions of the mind trying to pull you in each and every direction. You might be tempted to let the mind control you, but this breath is here to keep YOU in control.
Over time it becomes easier to laugh at these little thoughts and temptations.
This is how the breath also purifies the mind.
The also gives us energy to carry us through the day. No matter how you’re feeling, if you just get on the mat, start breathing, and focus on the sound – then you’ll build energy that you didn’t even know what possible.
A little recap of why we use this breath:
- Detoxes the body.
- Purifies the mind.
- Creates a meditation.
- Builds awesome & unexplainable energy!
Hug The Bandhas:
Some people say grasp or engage, but I like to say hug. The engaging of the bandhas is subtle and slight, and I don’t want to encourage my students to work too hard at this.
The work is more of an internal awareness.
The bandhas move the energy that we create with the breath and movement in the practice through the body.
We have three bandhas that we work on hugging.
- Mula bandha – the root lock.
- Uddiyanda Bandha – means flying upward.
- Jalandara Bandha – the chin lock.
You want to hug these as you practice so that you keep the energy in, and let your body absorb and use it.
The bandhas also support our spine and make us strong in our center. This helps us to feel light and free so that we float through the practice.
Supporting the spine is also important because you want to move the energy through up the spine to open all of the chakras and awaken your inner divine!
Recap of the bandhas:
- Support our spine.
- Create a light and free feeling.
- Move the energy we create through the body.
Drishti: The Asana of the Eyes
The drishti is where we look.
Each posture has a specific gaze point. We start by doing this physcially with our eyes, but as you practice, you’ll notice the eyes soften and the gaze moves inwards.
You start to really see your true nature. You start to see God in yourself, and in turn you start to see others that way too.
You start to see the divine in everything.
There are nine drishtis. I love this fun graphic below & hope you enjoy it too!
This method is called the Tristana in Ashtanga Yoga.
We are all connected, and are part of something bigger than we know. The breath, bandhas, and dristhi and postures all work together to form a reflection of our true nature.
Links talked about in the video:
How to breathe & use the bandhas together.