The basics of yoga & the secret of alignments
Today, let's go back to basics to take up the basics of yoga. The essential elements that constitute yoga are breath and breath, grounding, drishti, energy centers and alignments.
Breathe when you start yoga?
During your first yoga class, you heard everyone breathing loudly… Everything is fine! When we start yoga, we learn ujjayi breathing. Breathing that is done with the mouth closed with inspirations through the nose and expiration through the closed mouth.
How to set up ujjayi breathing?
During your practice, inhale slowly through your nose with your mouth closed. For exhalation, blow as if you wanted to fog up a window in winter, while keeping your mouth closed. The more you practice this breathing, the less it will sound. You just have to hold back the air in your throat without contracting your muscles.
Breathing is very important during your practice. Indeed, it is during the exhalations that you will seek to go further in your posture, while remaining aligned.
It's all about anchoring!
The anchoring of your points of support is also an important element in your practice. To find a good anchor, you must work on your points of support: the palms of your hands and your arch of the foot. To test your anchorage, press your support points and lift your fingers and toes, if you manage to keep your posture and your balance, your anchorage is perfect!
What is the role of the drishti?
In the Sanskrit language, drishti means “the point of fixation and concentration of the gaze”. This is the point on which your gaze will remain fixed in your posture. The drishti will allow you to improve your anchoring and participate in your letting go.
Become aware of your energy centers
We have 3 energy centers in our body. The commitment of the bandhas makes it possible to circulate the energies in your body and gradually become aware of your 7 chakras.
Mula Bandha: Your first energy center is located in the perineum region. To activate it, contract your perineum and retrovert your pelvis to stretch the spine.
Uddiyana Bandha: the second energy center is located in the abdominal strap. To activate it, you draw the belly button towards the spine.
Jalandhara Bandha: The third energy center is located in the throat. Slightly tilt your chin up your chest to activate it.
When one activates the 3 bandhas at the same time, it is called Maha Bandha. This bandha is used in established yoga practices.
Postures and alignments
The alignments are very important in your practice so as not to injure yourself. The teachers are there to guide you in your practice so that you are safe. Finally, alignments are essential to be able to derive all the benefits of yoga postures and lengthen the posture on exhalations.
Once you become aware of all these elements, you can apply it to your postures in your practice. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let's take Warrior 2 as an example, which is a very complete posture.
In your Warrior 2 pose, your heels are aligned with your toes forward, your knee above your ankle. Your anchor is in your arch. To establish your anchor, visualize your feet coming closer together without ever coming off the ground. Your thigh may or may not be parallel to the floor. Activate your Mula Bandha by contracting your perineum and retroverting your pelvis. Your chest is straight, your arms are open, your shoulders relaxed and your fingers are extended, you place your drishti beyond the middle finger of the right hand.
Whatever your level of practice, keep in mind that your practice evolves every day and that today's is not tomorrow's. The key word is to stay tuned to your body and its cravings.
“No posture is accessible to everyone, and no one can access all the postures” Bernie Clark