When we go to our first yoga class, we have no idea what to expect. The first couple of months become a blur of figuring out what we are doing, trying to keep up and stay up. It’s an exciting and overwhelming time. There’s a point when we stop thinking so much, when we actually listen to the teacher, breathe and feel.
This is the moment when we start to come into our own. There’s a switch from doing everything the teacher says to observing how the movements feel within your body and discovering each micro movement. Discovering your practice and mastering each pose becomes a daily dedication of observing the minor movements, adjustments and engagements that can allow you to go deeper in your pose and your practice.
To take your practice deeper is to pay attention to three things in every single pose:
1. Your breath.
The breath is most important, because without it, you have no practice. A deep, nourishing breath no matter what posture we are in is our guide to a richer practice.
2. A connection to your core.
Start every posture from your core. If your core muscles are weak, dedicate two minutes everyday to do low plank, even four sets of 30 seconds. A strong core will transform your yoga practice. It will stabilize all your standing poses, support your lower back through your vinyasa and maintain alignment in your inversions.
3. Integrity in your extremities.
The definition of extremity is, “the furthest degree of something or the extreme degree or nature of something.” If your extremities have no integrity – meaning they are limp – your entire arm is disengaged and you have dead weight. This affects the integrity of the posture you are in.
To be in the posture, the entire body is connected and alive. (This does not mean tense.) Bring awareness to your fingers, toes, heels of your feet and crown of your head. Activate them and observe the difference in your postures. For example, In a three-legged downward dog, activate your toes, press into both heels and activate your hands. Your entire posture will be deeper.
Enjoy discovering the intricacies of your practice. What defines your practice is knowing your body and continuing to discover new parts of yourself each day on the mat. Mastering your practice takes a life dedicated to the honest discovering of your potential in the current moment, of practicing honesty, acceptance, love and awareness for yourself and others.
The mastery of your practice comes down to minor movements, minor adjustments, muscle engagements, breathing into the tightness and quieting the mind. Moment by moment, the thinking stops, and the connection to feeling, breathing and being takes over.
About the Contributor:
Giesel was born and raised in Dangriga Town in Belize, Central America and is now a Houston, Texas based yoga instructor with a passion for holistic health and nutrition, and self-acceptance.
On her journey to share her passions through yoga, Giesel incorporates her Garifuna and Creole culture, yoga philosophy, and awareness to attain self-love.
Giesel specializes in Vinyasa Krama Yoga, which is a flowing sequence of asanas linked by breath and intention.
She is a registered member of the National Association of Certified Yoga Teachers.
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