Stronger Foundations



The key to improving - in whatever we are doing - is to focus on the foundation. To do this we must simply focus more carefully on what seems to be most fundamental. Just like the gardener grows beautiful plants by cultivating the soil, we develop our practice by focusing on those more subtle aspects of the practice that provide support to our system. The foundation of practice - we are told - is founded upon three things:

1. Breathing 2. Looking - Dṛṣṭi 3. Posture - Āsana & Vinyāsa

So we need to look at these carefully with an aim to understand them as the soil capable of producing the fruits of yoga.


Let us begin with the most fundamental of the three: breathing. Breathing is the most fundamental requirement of the body and directly bridges our subconscious bodily functions with our conscious motor abilities. Breathing can be seen as being comprised of three parts: Sound, Rhythm & Posture (location). Each of these is a world in itself - there is much to explore, understand & cooperate with. Generally, we are trying to create evenness & smoothness, but also energy, attention & equanimity. So we must listen & feel that our inhale & exhale are equal in sound & tempo and that our posture has as little movement as is reasonable (depending on the position we are doing). We can literally spend our whole life refining just these three aspects of our breath. The more harmony we can generate in our breath, the more healing & transformational energy we generate in our body. Thus we maximize how much change our body is able to undergo. At the same time, we find that this process also brings about a much greater sense of “yoga”.

But, all this is just theory. We have to contemplate this, get a logical sense of its value, and then study the application of this in our actual practice. We can't simply just agree with it because it sounds right and then get on the mat and practice in the same old way. As long as our attention remains the same, the results will continue to remain the same. To focus only on accomplishing the āsanas, only on trying to acquire more āsanas without some shift in our attention will not produce a maturation or improvement in our practice. We have to actually generate the inspiration & diligence to change where we place our attention, how attentively we observe our breathing. So our attention actually becomes more subtle to these things while we are practicing on the mat and going through all the amazing āsanas. Then there will naturally be a different quality in our practice and then a potential for a different result, a transformation in our awareness, in our personality, and of course, in the entirety of our practice.

Here is one simple practice we can implement to sharpen our attention to our breath and change our experience in practice: With each vinyāsa, practice breathing first and moving second. In other words, if we are standing in samasthiti for sūrya namaskāra (sun salutation), we will initiate the inhale, and immediately afterward, being taking the arms over head (ekam). Then again, initiate the exhale, and a 1/4 of a second afterward, begin folding down (dve). Continue in this way through the entire practice. Initiate each vinyāsa by breathing for a brief moment prior to beginning each movement. This practice will retrain our attention ensuring that we truly remain attentive to the breath as we progress through our yoga practiceWith each vinyāsa, practice breathing first and moving second. In other words, if we are standing in samasthiti for sūrya namaskāra (sun salutation), we will initiate the inhale, and immediately afterward, being taking the arms over head (ekam). Then again, initiate the exhale, and a 1/4 of a second afterward, begin folding down (dve). Continue in this way through the entire practice. Initiate each vinyāsa by breathing for a brief moment prior to beginning each movement. This practice will retrain our attention ensuring that we truly remain attentive to the breath as we progress through our yoga practice.


 

‖  ॐ तत्सत्  ‖  All is Good  ‖  ॐ tat sat  ‖

17805 Sky Park Circle, Suite F  ‖  Irvine, CA 92614  ‖  760-587-7334

© 2001 - 2019, David Andrew Miliotis, All rights reserved.