Alignment is a buzz word these days in the yoga world.
Since more and more people are practicing yoga, and more people are speaking out about how yoga has injured them in the past, instructors and practitioners alike are concerned about safety.
And that’s a good thing.
But for all the talk about alignment as it refers to the body, what about the alignment of our thoughts, decisions, and actions?
Are you wondering how to improve your yoga practice? It’s one of the most common questions I get from my students and clients.
It’s also one of the hardest questions to answer because there is no one answer.
Improving your yoga practice is not about learning how to do the postures the “right way” or learning how to hold a handstand and master arm balances.
Improving your yoga practice starts with shifting your perspective, keeping an open mind, and committing to stepping on your mat, literally or figuratively, as often as possible.
“Ditch social media and my T.V. for a week... What?”
Depending on who you are, and how much you use technology in your daily routine, a digital detox might seem either insane or too easy. It’s not until you begin to experience the highs and lows of a digital detox rollercoaster that you realize just how addicting social media and television really are. No matter who you are, if you’re living in this developed, 21st-century country, chances are you probably need a digital detox.
Flexibility, balance, strength, and equanimity—you’ve probably heard of all those reasons to practice yoga, right? Not just benefits for the body, but for the mind and soul as well. How about combating stress and delving into spirituality? Absolutely! The list goes on…
Among the core tenets of yoga philosophy, drishti—a Sanskrit term referring to immersive mental concentration—can expand, deepen and recalibrate that intrinsic mind–body connection during your practice.
In order to experience these benefits for your well being, however, you must become attuned to every nuance of movement on your mat, from the postures and energy flow to breath work.
The best part: you can practice to reach this desired degree of focus off the mat, just as effectively, through other pursuits that sharpen both cognitive function and physical dexterity. The following autumn inspired activities can help yogis everywhere, from the disciplined veteran to the untrained novice, improve their drishti throughout this beautiful and transformational time of year.
Fifteen million Americans practice yoga today. They set foot inside yoga studios, roll out their mats and move to their breath in a ritualized action that lasts usually between 60 - 90 minutes. Whether they practice Ashtanga yoga, Bikram yoga, Kundalini yoga or another variant of hatha yoga, these students are all participating in a modernized physical form of a millenia-old philosophical technology, which originated in India. Within the last 100 years, yoga’s face has changed dramatically as it has migrated and settled into the west with its modern day practitioners. Its evolution has led to a focus on the physical practice, known as asana, and for many who practice today’s version of yoga, the asana practice has become a powerful ritual in their lives. They honor their practice by carrying around yoga mats, drinking out of water bottles with their favorite studio name on it and wearing yoga pants from the studio out to their social events. The hallmark of the modern day yoga practitioner is that we commonly see the trappings of their practice extending into their lives, but there is a deeper and more elevated result of their practice that also extends its way into their lives, which is that yoga practitioners will commonly achieve an elevated state of mind that allows their ritual to manifest itself as a view of themselves and their life-experience as sacred.