POSTURE, ASANAS, AND PRANAYAMA/BREATHING
The spine is concerned
with the energy flow, and the chest with the breath, that’s why these
two areas are always involved in the Yoga practice. When the act of breathing
and movement become one the integration begins.
The first thing to attend
it’s your posture . Your chest should be free to expand unlimitedly when
you breathe, and your spine should be stretched out and relax to allow the
energy flow through your body.
In the first Limb of
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Yamas, restrictions, not to do, we can find Ahimsa.
This term means, Not Violence, not only with the others, also with us. This
also can be translated as the universal laws of all of “love you”. When you
apply this law aggressiveness, violence, with yourself or others stops.
“Do your 100%. Listen to your
body. You have the first fit back from your body. Stop when you need to stop.
Modify the posture if you need to. Remember you don’t need to do it all. There
is not such thing as a perfect posture”
third limb of the Yoga Sutras is Asana, in Sanskrit means “seat”. In the modern world Asana is used as
the name of a physical posture. In the Yoga Sutras Patanjali, it’s described as
“seat” “establish a seat (balance) in happiness”, also “that position which
it’s comfortable and steady” Based on this two uses we can describe Asana as a
pose and as a union with the spirit.
The Raja yogis practiced Asana to develop
the ability to seat comfortably in a position for a long period of time, as
necessary for meditation.
The Hatha yogis found that asanas open the
energy channels and psychic centers, Chakras. The Asanas became tools to attain
higher awareness, allowing the exploration of the body, mind, breath, and
The flow between the Asanas has to be
harmonious, balanced, without strain. The focus must be inwards, concentrated
in the self, with total consciousness. It’s about being present.
Asanas work on
both the body and the mind. These are not separate entities although there is a
tendency to think and act as though they are. The gross form of the mind is the
body and the subtle form of the body is the mind. Practicing asanas integrates
and harmonizes the two.
To see the different Yoga positions, or
Yoga Poses, and alternative positions, with their benefits click here.
commonly defined as ‘breathe control’. Looking closely to the meaning of each
word give us a deeper meaning. “ Prana” means ‘vital energy’ or ‘life
force’, “ ayama” means ‘to expand’, accordingly with this Pranayama is “the
expansion of the vital energy”. This vital energy is responsible for all
physical and spiritual experiences.
the pranic body (prana = energy) which is the nerve branches that go through
the whole body carrying the vital force to every cell, every organ, every
tissue filling them with life. Pranayamas are also the preparatory practices
for the awakening of the Kundalini through the stimulation of the Chakras, and
help in the concentration while performing the Yoga set, or Kriya.
In the past some
Yoga styles like for example Kundalini were kept secret, and were only taught
from one person to another, but in the course of time different yogis, and gurus,
like Yogi Bhajan, reintroduced the teachings for everybody who wants to learn .
Mastering Pranayama will
empower you to act with less effort, more concentration, more pleasure, and
will increase resistance.
“Keep up breathing even
when you meet resistance!”- Indra
“If you can not breathe
fully you shouldn’t be there” -David Swenson-
“When the breath is
unsteady, the mind is unsteady. When the breath is steady, the mind is steady,
and the yogi becomes steady. Therefore one should restrain the breath”- Savatmarama-
There are different types of
Pranayama. To see the different types of yogic breath, Pranayama , click here.
If there is only one thing
you will choose to learn from Yoga. Learn to breathe will be the priority. Even
though it seems something elementary, most elementary things and overview, or
taken lightly. As a result 40% of the people, due to society pressures, breathe
the exactly opposite way you are supposing to.
The studies show how
breathing the wrong way for long periods of time will develop in future
The diaphragm it’s the
membrane that separates the lungs from the stomach. When we breathe in our
lungs get fill up with air pushing the diaphragm down which makes the abdomen
come out. In the exhalation the abdomen comes back in unconsciously. It doesn’t
have any other way to go.
Try consciously breath in
forcing the abdomen out in the inhalation for around tree times. The body
naturally picks it up. Because it feels better!
The abdominal area
corresponds with the third Chakra, where we keep all our emotional stuff. The
way we breathe is directly related with the way we feel.
Just think about how you
-When nervous, calm, angry,
content, fearful, grateful, etc.
-After received a really bad
new, do you sighing? How’s your breathe shallow, or deep?
-After received a really good
-In euphoric states.
Breathing affects our
emotional state, concentration, our level of stress, it controls if we sleep at
night, etc. Breathing the right way help us breath deeper, be calmer, and it
It helps the circulation, and
makes you feel energetic and light.
recommended to do Yoga in a safe and tranquil environment. Not cold, not to
hot. The ideal environment will be a place where the person can’t be bothered
or interrupted. A flat surface is recommended. Outdoors is great when respects
all this criteria. It’s very important to respect a person’s space when
Music can be a
great help to uplift or relax the yogi. But it’s not indispensable.
Candles are nice.
Incense is nice. They can enhance the space. But you don’t really need them.
The best thing to
wear to a Yoga class is loose, light-weigh clothes that will not restrict the
movement, a Yoga mat; most Yoga studios rent them, a towel, and a bottle of
water, and clothes to change afterwards (depending of the type of Yoga).
becoming more and more popular. And with this popularity there is an increase
in all kind of Yoga equipment. The use of props; bands, blocks, chairs, etc can
be a great help to assist you in a Yoga posture.
Limitations, Contraindications, Modifications, Props
different, therefore its body should be treated differently. It’s important
while doing Yoga to maintain attention in the body and the mind, and to
acknowledge when the body, mind, or both are creating resistance. That’s why
most Yoga teachers will encourage you to listen to yourself. When you are
listening there is no space for injuries.
The principle of
Ahimsa may apply during all your practice -Not Violence- with your body, with
your mind, not negative thoughts, polluted thoughts, that drain your energy
and concentration, as you enter the union with your infinite self.
The Yoga doesn’t
measure by how flexible one is. What it happens outside is a reflex on of the
inside and vice versa. Respect yourself by acknowledge your own self
limitations, and built it up from there.
When someone mentions Yoga,
almost everyone visualizes a pretzel’s like body posture. Always remember that
twist like a pretzel doesn’t make you a better yogi or yogini (for women),
otherwise the “Circus of Solei” members will be the best yogis.
In the Yoga
Positions, or Asanas page, there is a modification to the challenged positions.
When there is doubt, always use your common sense. Use props if you need them.
They are fun, and can help you to go deeper within the position.
It’s ok to
practice Yoga while pregnant. It’s a great way to keep fit during pregnancy. It
helps to open the chest for deeper breathing, lifts the breastbone to make more
room for your baby, stretches the legs wide to exercise the pelvic muscles, holds
the spine erect for free of energy, helps you to maintain steady emotions,
centers you to cope with change, and accesses the deep relaxation that lies
positions, risk twist poses, abdominal strengtheners, extended holding of any
pose, or energize breaths, like breath of fire, during the two first days of menstruation
and during pregnancy. Instead of Breath of Fire you can do Long Deep Breathing.
The issue is that these practices might interfere with the downward flow or
The more you
practice the better you will get. In fact, there is no much theory in Yoga as practice.
think, just practice” –Pattabhi Jois-
At least a couple
classes a week will be needed for the person to feel a difference. Or as I
always said “It’s better one than nothing”, but as you grow into the yoga
practice a daily practice it’s required.
Best try to
practice daily at a fixed time, without fail, following a Yoga set or Kriya. On
certain days the mind may give justification for not practicing, or may be
upset, disturbed or restless. If there is not illness, you should endeavor to
do your practice as normal.
40 days to establish a habit,
90 days to
120 days to
master it -everyone will know it” – Yogi Bhajan-
habit- Do one special
yoga set, and/ or meditation for 40 days. Keep a diary of your progress and the
changes you go through.
practice, it’s best done, 2 ½ hours before the sunrise, it’s called Ambrosial
hours, or Amrit Vela, from 4 to 7 o’clock in the morning, another auspicious
time to practice is from 4 to 7 in the evening.
At “the Ambrosial
Hours” when the sun it’s in a sixty degree angle with the earth, you get the
maximum results. And when your world it’s quieter, you can meditate better, it
helps the concentration. This is the time we need to be awake to receive the
first solar energy of the day.
can sleep, but wise it’s that one who rises before sun” – Sahkti Parwha kaur Khalsa
Sadhana it’s your
personal, spiritual effort. As you need to take a shower, to clean your body,
you need to do Sadhana to clean your mind. To take of your mind before your day
starts, so you can pay all your attention to the duties of your life.
happens when you don’t shower for a while? –You stink, right?!- The same thing happens
with the mind, if you don’t take the time to take care of one of your most
valuable gifts, with time will stink too”- Yogi Bhajan
On “how to wake
up in the morning and do Sadhana” click here.