“As you bring your hands together at your center, you literally connect the right and left hemispheres of your brain. This is the yogic process of unification, the yoking of our active and receptive natures.”
The definition of yoga is to yoke, or join together. This week, we start to explore the ways that we can develop a more integrated yoga practice. We will begin with three easy techniques for uniting the main components of yoga:
#1: Flow with Your Breath – This is the primary aspect and the main element that makes the system of yoga unique. Flowing with your breath is best introduced when you match simple motions with your inhalations and exhalations. Stand in Tadasana (mountain pose) and move your arms from the side overhead as you inhale and release them back to your sides as you exhale. Once this connection is established, moving with the breath becomes more natural.
#2: Ground & Extend – Spend some time rooting yourself before you perform a posture. For example, taking a moment or two to ground in the standard tadasana (mountain) will enhance your stability and balance in any standing posture.
Vrksasana (tree pose) is another good way to practice this aspect. This image of a tree is ideal to demonstrate how one can utilize roots in order to extend.
#3: Bend in All Directions – Each practice, find ways to move the spine in all four directions: flexion (forward bend), extension (back bend), rotation (twist) and lateral extension (side bend). The ideal way to incorporate most of these spinal movements is through Surya Namaskar (sun salutation). With added variations, the side bends and twists can be intermingled into this traditional sequence of postures.
Here is a set of poses that consolidate the essential components of yoga:
- Half Plank to Child’s Pose
- Downward Dog to Plank
- Surya Namaskar – adding Utkatasana (chair pose) with a twist & lateral bends
- Tadasana (mountain pose) to Vrksasana (tree pose)
- Choose a backbend from last week’s post
- Supta Hasta Padangusthasana (reclined hand to foot pose)
- Savasana (corpse pose)
This set of postures will grant you brilliance. As you integrate your body, breath and mind throughout this series, you should feel as though you are going deeper, not further, in the postures.
Measure your success in yoga by what makes you feel most whole.