Are you established in a postural yoga practice and looking to deepen it in 2012?
Check out these New Year’s resolutions for on the mat.
1. Slow down and really move with your breath.
Move with grace by allowing each action to be consciously initiated by the breath. Doing so will not only safeguard the body from injury, but also generate greater physical and mental strength. By removing momentum from the practice, we learn how to move slowly from the support of the core, protecting the body where the majority of yogic mishaps occur: during transitions. Likewise, staying checked in to the marriage of breath and body requires a great deal of mental power, ultimately boosting our concentration on and off the mat.
2. Cultivate gratitude for breath, body, and mind.
If you feel resistant to step on the mat, remind yourself that the ability to practice is not an obligation, but an opportunity.
3. Catch those wandering eyes!
Drishti, or intentional gaze, is a key component of the asana practice that helps limit the amount of external distractions. Once settled into any pose, the eyes should rest comfortably on one spot, without the focus become too rigid. As we transition from pose to pose, let the eyes be soft yet alert.
4. Be noncompetitive!
Yoga should never be a source of competition with those around you; after all, you’re in your own body and no one else’s. Please don’t compare your practice to others’. However, it still can be very useful to objectively study the alignment of a more advanced asana practitioner at appropriate times.
5. Be detached from results.
Few things have helped my postural practice flourish more than growing detached from results. Yoga is not about attaining physical contortions, but about presence and embracing of the foundation at hand. By giving all your effort and caring less about the outcome, you might just find challenging poses become more attainable.
HAPPY PRACTICE IN 2012!
Yoga brings stability and calm into every discipline of Sophie Herbert's life. She is an alignment focused yoga teacher (and perpetual student) and a Whole Living contributing editor. She graduated from the Cooper Union School of Art, where she nurtured her passion for documentary photography. It was during this time that she began her disciplined and diverse study of yoga in New York, Paris, and India.
Sophie has lived, studied, and volunteered extensively in India. She feels grateful to still visit and work regularly with the Deenabandhu Children's Home in Chamarajanagar, Karnataka. In November of 2010, she became an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back www.yogagivesback.org, a grass-roots nonprofit that helps destitute women and girls in India build more sustainable lives. Sophie has also shared her knowledge of yoga at the Prana Yoga Center in Astana, Kazakhstan. Currently, she teaches at the Park Slope Yoga Center www.parkslopeyoga.com in Brooklyn and privately. Sophie is also an avid cook.