2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses (2015)
HOW TO APPROACH YOGA POSES
Yoga poses provide much more than a physical workout. Performing them builds character. Facing your fears and challenges that extend beyond your comfort zone with a sense of peace, calmness, and psychological equanimity will help you overcome your self-perceived limitations.
I find it helpful to think of every yoga pose as a prayer you do with your body. While you perform the pose, focus on what is good in your life with a feeling of gratitude. Being at one with your mind and body in this place of grace helps you transcend the ego, which helps you get closer to the ultimate goal of yoga, which is enlightenment.
Universal Alignment Cues
· Engage mula and uddhiyana bandhas.
· Engage the ujjayi breath and maintain deep conscious breathing all throughout the yoga session. If your breath is suffering, then back off a bit.
· Keep the chest open and shoulder blades down the back.
· Lengthen the body and limbs on the inhale, deepen the pose on the exhale.
· Avoid jerky and uncontrolled movements during the poses that are based on flexibility.
· Square your hips.
· Don’t let your knee go past your ankle when doing any kind of lunge.
· In Plank and the majority of arm balances, shoulders should be just over the fingertips.
· Even if you are intermediate or advanced, start with the beginner modifications in order to ensure proper form and get the blood into the targeted muscle as a warm-up.
Universal Flexibility Cues
· Hold flexibility for a minimum of 30 to 90 seconds.
· Stretch to the edge of comfort and stimulation without straining.
· Don’t overstretch to the point of pain; your muscles will tighten up in order to protect themselves and your flexibility will decrease.