When practicing postures (asana) it is most beneficial to try to cultivate concentration and awareness. Develop the ability to meditate on your body and posture whilst practicing asanas. Bring in the yamas and niyama (Yoga Sutras, 8 Limbs) into your practice. What are your attitudes towards yourself and your body when you are practicing? Are these attitudes positive or having a negative impact on your practice and being?
A couple of, off the cuff suggestions based on the list below for the 8 limbs.
- When practicing there are times when closing the eyes is useful. This engages Pratyahara, although there are specific practices for Pratyahara also.
- Ahimsa, can you stop trying to force yourself into a posture, and apply awareness to be a safe yogi?
- Samtosha, can you be content with where you are, whilst trying to make progress instead of being unhappy with your practice?
- Use a Drishti point. This is a steady gazing point such as big toe or a point on the floor in front of you which you focus your gaze on.
- Can you learn to integrate bandhas, pratyahara, ujjayi and moolabandha to bring a more intense concentration and mediation into your practice?
The 8 limbs are:-
- Ahimsa – non-violent
- Satya – truthfulness
- Asteya – nonstealing
- Brahmacharya – self control without disapating energies
- Aparigraha – noncovetousness
- Saucha – cleanliness
- Samtosha – contentment
- Tapas – accepting the challenges of tranformation and letting go of the things that cause us pain and suffering
- Svadhyaya – study of respected texts and healthy ways of living with respect to oneself
- Isvara Pranidhana – Surrender to the mystery of the unknown in matters we can’t control or understand
- Asana – the postures we do in class
- Pranayama – breathing practices to control prana and energies in the body
- Pratyhara – Sense withdrawl, or turning our attention inward.
- Dharana – concentration
- Dhyana – meditation