“Anyone who practices can obtain success in yoga but not one who is lazy. Constant practice alone is the secret of success.”
–Hatha Yoga Pradipika
One of the reasons I am so drawn to the practice of yoga is the quest for balance and self knowledge. There also seem to be endless lists to revise, remember and repeat. Amongst all the lists, I found this one. I use it for every class I’ve ever done.
Loosely translates as “breath control”, pranayama creates a link between the body and the mind. The use of breath exercises can be used to calm or invigorate the yogi. If the mind is controlling the breath and the breath is controlling the body, with disciplined practice the yogi can achieve almost anything.
The term Bandha refers to several energy locks that the body has. These locks allow prana to flow or constrict the energy to hold it where needed.
- Mula Bandha ~ pelvic floor or perineum
- Uddiyana Bandha ~ pulling the navel towards the spine to support the lower back and activate the solar plexus.
- Jalandhara Bandha ~ lowering the chin into the throat to open up the back of the neck.
- Maha Bandha ~ the combination of Mula, Uddiyana and Jalandhara Bandha to great the “master lock”.
- Pada Bandha ~ the feet
- Hasta Bandha ~ the hands.
In the Sutras of Patanjali, he says “Sthira Sukham Asanam” or “Asana is a steady posture (seat)”. It is vital to remember that in yoga, the posture is not the end goal. Practice of Asana gives the yogi the best opportunities to remain in good health which facilitates the quest for mediation and quietening the fluctuations of the mind.
Vinyasa translates to “placed in a special way”. Vinyasa is the magic link between postures, the intention that guides the practice and a meditation through movement.
This is the focal point for our eyes. By limiting sensory distractions, the yogi becomes more in-tune with their internal environment. The gaze can either be internal or external and each pose has its own.
It is the practical portion of the 5th limb, Concentration.