Heartfelt greetings from Addis Ababa.
This Friday I am thinking of your yoga journey. I believe that yoga is a potent practice for self inquiry! It is a powerful tool for transformation. Even if you feel inflexible, the most important thing is to start! Below I give you three tips to get you well on your way.
1. Practice Yoga With Full Awareness
Try to be as aware as possible of every movement you make during yoga. Check in with yourself throughout your practice to see where your mind is. If it has wandered away, gently bring it back and focus again on the poses and the breathing. This is the most important aspect of practicing yoga, regardless of whether you are a beginner yogi or a yoga master. If certain feelings or energies awaken within you, bring your attention to them and observe them taking their course as you move through your practice.
2. Never Over Strain When Practicing Yoga
Yoga is a cross-country journey to be enjoyed, the sights and sounds taken in. If you are just beginning, give yourself time to learn your body and its limits within the various poses. Recognize that each practice is different. I always tell my students – if my instructions conflict with those of your bodies’ – please do listen to the voice of your body! Once you start better understanding how your body reacts to the intensity of certain postures, you can start to play with your edge.
3. Yoga & Breathing Go Hand In Hand
Movement within yoga poses are often paired with the breath and some teachers will instruct you to inhale and exhale before or as you move into and through poses. The breath is also used strategically. Deep ujayyi breaths warm the body from the inside out. The Lion’s Breath lets the heat out, cooling the body down. I guide my students by cueing the breath throughout our 90 minute practice, as the breath is just as much a learned technique as the asanas. The breath also has to be mastered! If you are a beginner yogi, try connecting one breath with each motion – working your way up to a more sustained breathing pattern. Whatever you do – don’t forget to breathe!
I hope you have some time for PLAY (Peace. Love. And. Yoga.) this weekend!