Yoga postures (asana) provides a lifetime of healthy physical movement when performed with proper construction.
A Yoga posture, or asana, is a guide for strengthening the body’s ability to move, function and heal. Yoga postures are in perpetual motion. The motion, however, is usually microscopic. At a neuromuscular level, the motion is muscle tissue, heart rate, and bone in constant adjustment and alignment. There is never a static moment. This is the way asana reconstructs our body. A “picture” of a yoga posture is like a snapshot of motion in time.
Viewing a photo of a yoga posture and creating it, is like photographing an automobile and labeling it “how to build a car.” To put it another way, viewing a yoga pose and attempting to replicate it is not as easy as it seems. What the photo shows is a result of something that has gone through a construction process. There are many details involved in the process. There’s more than meets the eye. Therefore, construction without proper instruction can create a less than beneficial experience, whether building a car or a yoga asana.
The quality is in the construction
The quality of the construction of a yoga posture is where the quality of your results lie. “How to build an automobile” would show detailed instructions of every aspect of the process. It would take into consideration, details related to durability, functionality and style. The same goes for yoga asana. There are many details in the process. Details can be microscopic. Details that can only be discovered and experienced by the creator, you!
The power and magic of yoga posture is in the details of how to construct it. If you are constructing it with poor quality parts, the longevity or benefits will not be as noticeable. So a photo of a yoga posture is only a veneer of what’s underneath. You can put a Mercedes emblem on a K-car but it won’t change the quality. This is to say that the picture is not the experience. Similar to a Hollywood movie where the store front is only a prop. There’s nothing behind it.
I have a video here, to share more about this concept.
Many people today get fooled on how difficult certain physical feats can be. They’ll watch a video and see how easy the person makes it look. However, we all know there’s more to the process than meets the eye. Like Olympic champions, there’s a process far deeper than the race itself. It’s like the “People are awesome VS Fail Army” videos.
Actors can pretend to be superheros and dancers can pretend to be yogis. However it’s important to remember yoga is about the details of construction, not snapshots in time.
How to build your car
In the scope of yoga posture, this phrase is important to remember: “Yoga is not about standing on your head. It’s about standing on your own two feet.”
To be able to stand tall is a monumental feat. Knowing how your feet are placed and how your muscles support your posture is a profound step in knowing how to build an asana. When standing, feel all edges of your feet embracing the earth. Allow your toes to spread open to support your stance. When bending forward, allow the spine to lengthen throughout the entire movement.
There are little elements in each posture that make big differences. Little adjustments in alignment can make for a more painful process, but bring the benefits that might have been missed. I can make a slight adjustment to a student’s pose that may take months for them to perfect. Without knowledge of the adjustment, they would build a poor quality structure.
A young woman in class is comfortable sitting on her heels with her toes pointed outward and her buttocks on the floor. This sitting posture created a lateral twist of the knee and excluded the alignment for stretching the foot. I gave her the task of keeping her foot in-line with her leg in order to sit over the feet and help open up the muscle and tendon tissue in the top of the foot. Therefore it allowed stretching the flexors of the foot. This was painful experience for her, but eventually she created greater ROM (range of motion) in her flexion and extension of the foot.
As you build your masterpiece, think of structural alignment. Play with your movements and expand your capabilities. In doing so, you will progress much smoother with greater confidence.
Where are the instructions?
While it’s nice to have a great guru by your side, sometimes all you need is your mat. Each pose has attributes to its design you must follow. Therefore, attend a class with a knowledgeable instructor or attend my Online Classes opening this spring. Until then, get a good book like my favorite, Total Yoga.
A book can describe alignment in detail. This can be better for comprehension than trying to listen to an instructor. Remember, each posture reconstructs your body for maximum movement and function. The key to success is performing the asana correctly.
Remember to cultivate mindfulness of alignment while you practice. The practice of Iyengar Yoga, BKS Iyengar, is known for its detail of alignment.
How does your body react? When in a pose, stay long enough to look at your posture. How is your breathing? Are you relaxed or stressed? Is your heart rate even? Are you engaging the posture enough to warm the body?
Align with your reflection
A mirror can help you discover alignment. Is your foot straight? Are your arms straight? Are your knees bent, locked, etc? After awhile you can feel the alignment from within and will need the mirror less and less. So you will begin to feel the pose more clearly.
Yoga is a method of exercises to strengthen all aspects of our lives. It’s not a sporting event or race. Yoga can prevent injury and enhance your physical performance. Yoga is the “practice.” Remember the reason for the asana is the time to strengthen the body, mind and spirit.
For more instruction, please attend my online yoga classes beginning this spring. In doing so, you will receive much clarity of the process of health and rehabilitation.
Learn more in my post about Mindfulness in Yoga.
Blessings on your journey!
There’s a surge of people expressing their experiences with the Law of Attraction, a life process known by great achievers throughout the earth. Some feel it’s about vision boards and mantras. Others believe you must think of something for a long period of time as a separate exercise of some sort. Few understand the deeper, subtle, and complex facets of it all in every moment of our lives.
Science now knows there is a force fields all around us. Dark matter is what we used to call space. There is no “space” there is only matter in different forms. We literally mold our lives from the matter around us, like molding clay with our thoughts.
Besides the quantum-physics aspect of the law of attraction, there is a more understandable, physical aspect Id’ like to share.
Here’s a good example. I was preparing to practice yoga in my home and I invited my love to join me. She came out of the room and said, “practice with you separately?” Why yes, I replied. I was granting her wish. Come to find out later it was not what she wanted. She wanted to practice with me, for me to lead the practice together.
What happened? She called forth or evoked the energy of practicing separately. If she had not brought forth the thought I would have not granted it. This is a “ask and you shall receive” moment, for you attract what you fear the most. Had I thought about it more, I may have asked more details about her request. Such thoughts were not present within me because I was already preparing my practice. In the practice we eliminate thought and distraction to move into being. So I granted her request and stayed in a state of simplistic energy. Think of it as “Your wish is granted and I don’t need to inquire further”. Just know your desire and ask for that. Passivity can lead to confusion.
Law of attraction works like this in every moment. When we think or speak of something, we are evoking the creative energy of that thought, the ability to create it. Some of these creations are immediate and others are over time as the energy we put forth is a smaller subtler voice in our heads.
In conversations we may acknowledge certain beliefs when a topics comes up, sometimes passively, but do not put our attention to it regularly. These little acknowledgments are like small bank deposits. This is also known by motivational guru Jeff Olson as the Slight Edge, little things we say, do and believe over time that culminate into reality. It ‘s a constant law which can disrupt our life or bring us constant joy and happiness .
The God energy we seek to humble ourselves to, wishes for us to be happy and achieve our desires. This God force provides our ability to use free will to create it. Think of God as saying yes to our every thought whether we really want it or not. It is for us to understand this great power. Evoking or calling forth problems is in our hands, or should I say, minds.
Be the change you wish to see. Be how you wish to be. If you wish to be happy, healthy and wealthy. Begin with being happy. Personal happiness does not require any external circumstances. How about using the slight edge and begin to be healthy? How about using your happy, healthy self to guide you to the perfect accomplishment for your version of wealth?
In yoga we surrender to the Slight Edge philosophy. We seek to only move forward in our physical transformation by a single micro-movement at a time. The true practice of yoga forces us to be in the moment. We learn that through surrender and humility transformation comes quicker be it reconditioning or healing . It’s a true example of the subtlety of the Law of Attraction. We are placing the vision of what we want in our mind. Then we surrender to the experience rather than forcing it and it comes quicker. It’s a lesson I’ve taken to heart and practiced in all aspects of my life.
Whether immediate or slow you mold the space around you every moment. Mold your masterpiece. I hope this helps.
Mindfulness is a secret ingredient to achieving greater health benefits within yoga and other healing modalities.
To an experienced practitioner we understand that the yoga postures, even with their specific names, are only guides along a certain path. A yoga pose is not a finished product. The benefits are revealed during the process. The only thing we seek to obtain is to be 100% present within our body as we move through the yoga postures, opening, strengthening, lengthening, healing, restructuring. Learning to be present to how our body transforms, this is Mindfulness. In any posture, there is always something more that can be transitioned through. Each and every yoga posture holds benefits that exceed our expectations.
What it is we are actually doing in “yoga.” What are the yoga postures all about?
Think of yoga asanas, or postures, as a ski hill. We all go down the same hill. Some take the bunny slope and others take the steeper trails. The hill is the same. This is why you see photos of people in Standing Bow Pulling Pose, some with their back stiff and straight and foot barely over their hip and others with their back nicely curved and leg way up over their head. It’s the same pose just different levels, same beauty. The beauty is that both can have the same amount or lack of mindfulness.
The benefits are the same no matter what level one practices at.
Every advanced posture starts with a basic move. Think of it like the ski hill, learning to stand on your skis is the first step to conquering the hill. Standing on two feet without falling over must be mastered before we practice standing on one leg. We think of it as mindfulness creating clarity for where we are in our endeavors.
Yoga teachers won’t expect you to reach completion, but rather be conscious/ mindful of your movements. This is why all levels of practice benefit the same. Mindfulness keeps us in check.
In every yoga posture there are two forces at work, hence the meaning of Ha-tha, sun and moon. There is strength and flexibility, the agonist and antagonist muscle reactions. One muscle contracts while another, or others in a muscle group, relax. Therefore each pose contains two reactive forces.
Within the yoga poses is also the compression or tourniquet effect. Internal organs muscles and tissue are compressed and squeezed in many yoga postures. The idea is like squeezing and flushing as if ringing out a dirty towel. The compression forces fluid out, and on the release, allows fresh blood to come through. I’ve found these compression aspects to be of very high value in my practice.
No matter how in-depth or uncomfortable a yoga posture is, they all become the same when you approach them carefully with mindfulness. So think of mindfulness in yoga postures like driving your car at night around a blind corner. Going too fast can lead to collision with an unforeseen obstacle. Therefore the approach to each pose should be done with mindfulness.
The proverbial man in meditation IS the clear depiction of yoga.
One pointed focus is what becomes meditation. It’s Inner focus and attention in the moment which provides insights leading to transformation.
I’ve taught beginners who are masters at mindfulness. I’ve also witnessed advanced practitioners become frustrated in their practice from expectation. This becomes our challenge. The path of mindfulness is like a blending of two worlds, of doing and not doing.
Any gymnast or dancer can do “poses” easy. Don’t let people with advanced body movements influence you. It is the process of the pose that defines your level of yoga understanding.
It takes practice….lots of it. By the way, that’s why we call it a yoga “practice.” Keep it up.
For a more in-depth look at this process, please attend one of my new ONLINE YOGA CLASSES beginning in April! For my first students there will be a significant discount for joining.
Need to Exercise? Short on time? Want to add more to your fitness routine?
Challenge yourself with this ancient fitness routine to boost your health and longevity.
For 30 days take the 15 minutes to do these rites everyday!
In the book “Secrets to the Fountain of Youth” a man shares his discovery of this longevity exercise. Traveling deep in the Himalayas, he found a tribe of Tibetan Priests who shared their secrets of their longevity health. These Lamas looked far younger than their age and lived a very long time.
Do these rites diligently over 30 days and see for yourself how much strength and agility you create. Start slowly the first week with as many repetitions as you can, maybe only three or four. Be sure to do the same amount of repetitions for each rite. Stay with it and increase the repetitions each week. Give yourself the chance to work up to the maximum of twenty one (21) repetitions of each rite.
Along with any longevity program, be aware of your eating habits and mental stress. Stress is the main factor in all disease therefore learning more about mindfulness will help. Eating more than one type of food at a time also creates stress within the body. Eat fewer combinations of food and utilize more herbs. Do not eat late. Learn to stop eating after 5 PM. Do not eat sugar in the evening and learn to eliminate sugar all together. Eat more good fats andreduce alcohol intake. For more dietary guidelines read my HEALTH INSIGHTS PAGE.
The biggest challenge to these rites for beginners is the process by which toxins or metabolic waste are squeezed out of the system causing nausea or dizziness. This is exactly what the body needs and shows how purifying these rites are. Start slow and get through it. Health and longevity awaits!
HERE WE GO!
RITE number ONE
The first rite is a simple one. It is done for the express purpose of speeding up the vortexes. Spinning helps open the vortexes better than anything else. Spinning is also known to elevate consciousness and bring one into a heightened state of awareness. Children do it all the time when they’re playing.
Stand erect with arms outstretched, horizontal to the floor and begin to spin to the right. At first, adults tend to get dizzy easy because they are not used to it and the energy centers spinning open creates a surge we are not used to. Once the body becomes used to spinning, it become quite an energizing experience. stay diligent.
Do what dancers do. Focus on a single point as you begin to spin then at your maximum twist turn quickly your head 180 degrees and focus on another single point as you spin.
RITE number TWO
Rite number two continues to open the vortexes.
Comfortably lie flat on your back. Place your hands along side your body and bring your chin to your chest. Raise your legs straight up and even a little more towards your head if you can, keeping your back flat on the floor. Do not bend the knees. With each repetition use a rhythmic breath. Do your best. You will get stronger as you go. You will amaze yourself.
RITE number THREE
This rite should be practiced immediately after rite number two.
Kneel on the floor with your toes tucked under your feet.place your hands on your butt as if you were placing them in your back pockets.
Tuck the chin to the chest and them move it safely and swiftly back at the same time create more of an arch to the back and feel as if your heart is opening. Move back and forth chin to chest and then arching back. Find a rhythmic breath and keep going. You will find this very powerful.
RITE number FOUR
This rite may seem very difficult at first. Over time you will get the hang of it and find the tremendous benefits it produces.
Fist, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front. Place your hands on the floor along side your buttocks. Bring your chin to your chest. Now thrust your head back as you raise your body up off the floor as if to create it as a table. As you come to the table position breathe deep and hold the breath for just a moment as you firm every muscle in the body. Come back to first position with your buttocks in the center of your hands and your chin to chest.
Do this with rhythmic breath and continue in an even flow the entire set of repetitions. You’ll see the benefits quickly.
RITE number FIVE
Palms on the floor below your shoulders and toes tucked under. Drop your hips towards the floor and keep your shoulders down, ears pushed up away from your shoulders. Keep your neck long, chin up.
Now lift your hips to the sky and tuck your chin to your chest. Push your heels down to the floor and your hips back. This is a downward dog position. keep your back flat and your shoulders broad and open.
Continue back and forth using rhythmic breath.
This will create tremendous muscular strength. In time, this becomes a welcome finishing pose.
Congratulations! I look forward to your comments!
Recently I have been deeply into my connection to the natural world.
Being in the presence of like minded folks is important for maintaining a stream of consciousness for ones beliefs. If we believe the world is difficult, hanging out with happy people will create conflict. Those who believe in unlimited abundance and prosperity in a loving world will find a challenge when in the circle of fearful folks.
In my life as a full time teacher and practitioner of the sacred wisdom of yoga, I find myself disconnecting more and more. Even in the so called “spiritual communities” I have encountered contradictions and disbelief. The more I disconnect from the social element the more I find joy, intrigue, wonder and wisdom from the life blood of the natural world.
Whenever I return from secluded locations to the city, the first thing I notice is the plethora of ads for cancer and other diseases, as if a warning for those coming into these city’s. Or is it a creative way to create more disease through subliminal messages? It’s a good indicator of the environment cities have create.
When I am in nature, the knowing of natural health and vitality becomes clear. Our bodies are are biological, enzymatic, natural beings. Food is our medicine not just when we are sick but everyday at every meal. Nature is what feeds the cells of our body to re-create itself daily. This is part of the wisdom I feel when I am alone with nature with the fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and leaves.
In the city one is subjected to all kinds of messages to undermine the true power of our mother earth and her nutrients for our life. When people gather and talk about these messages there is even a greater attraction to the things that are harmful for us. The Law of Attraction states that whatever you focus upon you attract. So when a group of people are together talking about what is currently happening that they don’t like, or talking about the tragedies they see, they are putting all their energy into these thoughts and thus attracting more of the same.
So it’s important to observe life but not be inundated with the problems people create. Be in the world, but not of the world would be the appropriate axiom for life today. Know what is around and offer the majority of your thought to the wonderful things which deserve and need your thoughtful energy to grow.
Disconnect as much as necessary from those who offer their energy to fear and gather in the circles of those who speak clear and prosperously. But to establish a clear connection to source and love better to leave out the human aspect altogether.
The gift of mother nature is pure, the messages and self power that can be learned and nurtured within, is grand. Caring for ourselves is a full-time event and today we need all the support and power and wisdom we can gather to fulfill human life.
Learn how to disconnect and find more contentedness in what lies beneath the superficial haze of needless chit chat and worry. Discover your connection to nature and to life as a simple and yet highly complex natural being.
Like a child who can stare at a flower for hours, find that connectedness. Discover the beauty. Realize the safety and purity of life. Shed all your fears. Heal your body. The spirit of nature, of God, will forever feed you and provide the life of your dreams, just have faith in your greatness. Become the masters. I love you.
The turbulent world around us seems to be experiencing a division of ideas on what it is to be human. We definitely have two sides expressing their presence. It’s a peculiar spectacle to watch at the least. The dark and the light, or is it knowledge and ignorance, synthetic or organic?
Some entities feel humans should not have freedom or knowledge and instead be led into a pre-determined lifestyle free from unique expression, because unique expression would lead to chaos. Then there are those who believe the unlimited free will of humans will express be expressed in harmony and joy and discover a new world of abundance for everyone with no “one” in control.
This expression of creative differences may be referred to as “opponents”, but not really.
There are humans who have been blindly led to a life of disease and confusion. They are lost and will fight to keep their position at all cost rather than face the idea of responsibility for their life and their own direction. These are the slaves of a system. They will not face humiliation or judgment from their peers to become free. They will fight for their system as long as it keeps them fed, numb and entertained. These slaves are controlled by the few. A few people wanting to control food, water, energy, employment to the system, media and entertainment.
Then there are the awakening ones. These humans have literally, like waking from a bad dream, shaken off any and all beliefs from the rubbish fed into society by the few who have wanted to control all.
The awakened ones are simply saying no to the system of limitation and offering their precious human energy in another direction. The awakened ones do not want to change the system and continue to ask for permission from the big boss. They are creating a new world out of their exponential growing intelligence and ideas of freedom and living on earth as natural human beings.They understand that Mother Earth can more than provide for everyone, water, energy, food, housing and their is no reason for fear or control.
When you look at it like this, you see the one side using fear and tyranny to manipulate and control more and more people into playing their game, and another group simply walking away to play a new game. But those still clinging to their control game of human limitation want to numb as many as possible to become slaves and help to cage those walking away. It’s not possible. When one has awakened to their ability to create and make choices based on their desires for joy, their is no one with a greater power over them. It’s at this great understanding when the law of attraction is realized and life becomes new again.
The awakening ones know that its our simple joy to live as an example and allow everyone to experience their current beliefs as they are, that lights the way much clearer. They believe humans have unbounded energy and potential and when harnessed with conscious clarity and passion can create anything. So they are creating a world free from control and experiencing a dawn of human joy and creativity like never before.
Awaken, for it is better and easier than you may think.
Begin to ignite into ideas of a life with no jobs, no money, abundant food, water, creative freedom, and harmony.
Start with gratitude for you next breath, and move with joy. Keep your heart forward and just say no.
Namaste all. I have put together some of my favorite quotes from the beautiful Douglas and also my great inspiration, Andrey Lappa. I hope you enjoy! ;o) (I am overflowing here, so ready to go!) ~Shalyn Bauschlicher, Associate Yoga Teacher
*The vital understanding of man on this earth and our relation to the heavens is discovered in the practice of yoga, through right living, and steady pose.
To this I would like to respond with the definition I found when searching “Satori” (what I know to be temporary Samadhi in Savasana, corpse pose): a flash of sudden awareness, individual enlightenment…”It is often said that when you truly need a teacher-or that which will function in lieu of a teacher-a teacher or satori, for example, will fall upon you.”
*Our physical body can heal and regenerate itself through awareness and interrelated support of the earth, sun and sky.
PRANA, Life Force
*We are inherently supposed to be strong, healthy and vibrant through our days, happy and wise as we age.
*Natural living is awareness of nature and living in harmony by nuturing the native environment and utilizing the fruits naturally present for our health and well being.
*While working to perfect the postures, our mind is challenged to be calm and peaceful in order to work through physical and emotional aspects of the practice.
*Synergize the movement into a powerful charge of energy…
This can be especially helpful when breaking through physical and emotion barriers in the individual practice…I am sure you will hear me repeat the words of my teacher in our practice together, “The pose is not easy, it is not difficult…it is what it is.”
*Regret for things we’ve done can be tempered by time. Regret for things we did not do is inconsolable.
(Book of Vinyasas: Creative Flow for Yoga by Douglas King)
Still one of my favorite books of sequences. I love Doug’s classes.
*Your attention is your “wireless” connection to your object of focus.
*Ego is the separation from things and those around you.
*Yoga is non-duality (unification), control (sign of presence of consciousness) and balance (control of energies).
*Using only physical practice with no balance of breath, meditation and purpose can actually inflate the ego.
For beginners the practice can be very good and humbling for the ego, but when only the only focus is asana development without the practice of the main goals of yoga (unity, control and balance) it can lead to imbalance and strong dualities.
*Yoga is technology teaching how to be conscious.
*God is One with many faces…Oneness has unlimited channels.
*When we eat unorganic foods, we are ingesting poison [residues]…eat unorganic thoughts and you have the same problem.
*For many people around the world, wealth and happiness can be found in a handful of rice: it means for one more week they have life. (And think of the expressions on the faces of people in Wall Street).
*…you don’t need much external information, you already have true knowledge within. You need to learn to apply the knowledge that you have.
Happy pondering! ;o) Namaste