Friday, September 18, 2009



The fundamentals of your dynamic yoga practice are covered here. Correct breath control is essential to creating a seamless flow of postures. Dynamic yoga also draws on the bandhas (inner energy locks) to help extend the breath. This form of yoga is very safe as long as you listen to your body. This in itself may take some practice. Learn to know when your body is out of balance or when you are pushing it too far – and always modify your postures whenever necessary.


An intrinsic part of the practice of dynamic yoga is the synchronization of the movement of your body with the rhythm of your breathing to energize your body, focus the mind, and avoid muscle strain. Let the sound of your own breath be the music to your dance. Never move unless you are breathing, and synchronize the beginning and end of each breath with the beginning and end of a specific movement. The rhythm of your breath should remain steady and smooth throughout the steps of each posture, which means that you must concentrate on the flow of your breath and take conscious control of your inhalations and exhalations. This is known as Pranayama, or breath control. The quality of your breath is an indication of the quality of your practice. If you are holding your breath or it is shallow
and strained, you may have gone beyond your limit and should draw back.
In order to stretch your body in the practice of the asanas, you must learn how to stretch, or lengthen, your inhalations and exhalations. Ujjayi pranayama is a unique breathing technique that enables you to increase the airflow. It means "victorious extended breath." It involves slightly constricting the glottis (the opening through the vocal chords) as you would if whispering. The friction of the air passing through the constricted glottis has the effect of creating a sound similar to wind moving through a tunnel. The easiest way to begin to cultivate this sound is to lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes, soften your face, and slightly constrict the glottis, keeping your lips together in a hint of smile.Take deep, long extended breaths without raising and lowering the lower abdomen. Concentrate on moving the breath up, expanding your entire rib cage and the area supporting the kidneys. You should feel your entire back expanding on the floor as you inhale. The sound can be created by imagining you are saying "haaaaaaa" on the exhale and "saaaaaa" on the inhale but keeping the lips together. This sound becomes a tool you can use during your asana practice for concentrating your attention. Think of it as your mantra. When your mind begins to wander, bring your attention back to the sound and rhythm of your breath.

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