Have you ever thought about what makes a perfect or a better asana practice? These top 5 factors make your asana practice blissful.
These factors are applicable whether you are a beginner or an advanced asana practitioner. Every asana practice should consist of these elements so that your practice becomes blissful.
Asana Practice – Steps of Evolution
1. Preparation required for the asana
This is the first aspect. Every asana needs a certain preparation. It could be in terms of hip opening or stretch of the quadriceps or the strength of core muscles etc.
Some asanas should also be practised before starting a particular asana. Hence, know what is needed before attempting a particular one.
Read: What are Yoga Asanas?
Ex: Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) is a hip-opening and one leg balancing asana. Asanas like Utkatasana (Chair Pose), Vrikshasana (Tree Pose) could give the required strength for the legs while asanas like Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and Virabhadrasana B (Warrior B) would give the required hip opening.
2. The intention of the asana
Though there are many layers in every asana, there would be a primary benefit that the asana is offering. There could be two primary benefits.
This is the main intention of the asana. You could modify the other aspects of the asana, but probably not the main intention of the asana.
Ex: Virabhadrasana A (Warrior A) is a squared hip asana. It is one of the main aspects. You would not modify the squared hip position of the pelvis but other aspects if it is difficult.
3. Proper (right) methods of practising asana
Make sure you have practised under the guidance of someone who knows and has been practising it.
Knowledge about the asana and how to practice it properly with the right alignments will keep you on the mat for a longer time.
Tip: There is no one way to say the right method. There are many ways depending on the experiences of the schools or the styles of Yoga asana practices. Make sure you are learning one of the proper methods from the one who has practised for a longer time.
4. Breathing – The most important.
Proper breathing in the asana is not just an added part. But it is the most important aspect.
You may have flexibility, strength and proper alignments of the asana, but without breathing it is still a circus. It is the calm and relaxed breathing that changes the practice altogether.
5. Drishti (Focus of the mind)
Asana is for the mind. Your mind moves as your eyes say. Therefore sticking the eyes towards a particular direction or an object (including closing the eyes) is a must practice.
This is called Drishti (gazing point). Your mind is highly influenced by what you see. Keep your eyes on the specific object and that keeps you on track.
Ex: Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) expects you to look at the tip of the middle finger of the lifted arm. Mind focused on one single object slowly starts infusing the state of meditation.