Many are in search of an answer to improve the asana practice so that they can find themselves more flexible and graceful in their practice. The solution for this search lies in the Yoga Sutras.
In the 47th sutra of the second chapter, Patanjali reveals the key to the successful asana practice. Let us make an effort to understand the words first.
Prayatna: Yatna means effort and Pra is the prefix referring to an extra effort or an effort that is more than required.
Shaithilya: Shithila means loose and shaithilya means to loosen or to release or to eliminate.
Prayatna-Shaithilya: to eliminate any extra or unnecessary effort. Ananta: Anta means ‘end’ and ananata means endless.
Samaapatti: deep focus or contemplation.
Ananta-samapatti: Endless or prolonged contemplation. In other words, undisturbed focus.
Any posture that we perform is as similar as aerobic or gymnastics unless it is coordinated with effortless focused breathing which is undisturbed by any fluctuations of our thought flow. Any extra effort that we exert can disturb our breathing and thoughts.
How to avoid extra effort?
Before The Practice
- Wake up early and finish your morning routine with ease.
- Do not rush in a hurry to a practice session.
- Plan and fix a time frame for all activities that you do before practice.
During the Practice
- Consciously notice your physical condition before you begin every practice.
- Consciously bring a balanced state of breathing
- Slow down your thoughts by focusing on the breath.
- Accept your muscular limitations and choose your asanas accordingly.
- Hold each and every pose with focused breathing and proper thoughts guiding your breath.
After the Practice
- Rushing out of the mat soon after the asana practice must be avoided.
- A lot of time for Shavasana where you give time for your body to rejoice the essence of your practice.
- Do not jump out of Shavasana. Take your time and slowly come to the sitting position.
- Witness your breathing and thoughts for a few seconds and then initiate your pranayama practice.
- Wrap up with few seconds of concentration on a mantra or on the breath
Regularity, mental stability, and vital comfortability are the results of effortless practice and that is when Asana blossoms out every time we practice.