The key prerequisites for yogic journey
Faith and Motivation
Yoga practice is an inward journey of self development and transformation that promotes good health. You need faith and motivation to undertake this journey. A strong will, is essential to change your destructive old habits and a consistent effort to cultivate healthy habits that will change the quality of your life.
Attitudes play a significant role in grooming your personality and your health. Positive attitude builds inner strength and confidence and keeps you free from disturbance and pain. Negative attitude destroys your mind-body balance and develops health issues.
Understanding Asanas and Pranayamas
It is best to learn asanas and pranayama from an experienced and competent teacher who will educate you about this wonderful discipline, inspire you and guide you in your practice. All your doubts will also be cleared.
Assessment of your present condition
Your physical and mental condition changes from time to time. Realistically, assess your mental and physical condition and accept it before you start your everyday practice. Such a practice will help you adapt and adjust better to changes, correct your imbalances and conserve energy that is generated during your practice.
The practice of asanas and pranayama, expand your awareness and direct your senses in the healthy direction.The most important requirement for perfecting asanas, is not the ability to do them, but doing them with mindfulness experiencing the changes within. Self-awareness leads to self discovery and willful self-transformation.
Perfect body alignment in any asana is important. When asanas are performed mechanically, there is no proper alignment, which can lead to discomfort. Misalignment in the body lead to pain; this is because the tight muscles and tissues pull the body out of alignment. Proper co-ordination of breath with proper movement, using suitable props will improve alignment without causing strain. When there is perfect alignment there is lightness and ease.
Awareness of your Breath
Awareness of your breath is very vital for experiencing inner harmony. Breathe through your nose, evenly and smoothly and co-ordinate your breath with every movement. When you settle properly in an asana make sure your attention is locked on your breathing. Breathing helps to integrate mind and body, remove rigidity and calm the mind.
There is always imbalance between the two sides of your body; you will notice that one side is stronger than the other. Imbalance leads to unsteadiness and discomfort. Sage Patanjali ‘the father of yoga’ has reiterated that “imbalance leads to disease.” When you achieve inner balance, there is lightness, grace, ease and peace.
‘Antara Dristi’ is gazing inwards. Inward gaze plays a vital role in enhancing self awareness, stability and balance. When your eyes move around, your mind also moves and is distracted; your focus is shifted. Fix your eyes on one spot and focus inwards especially when you perform the balancing asanas. For balancing asanas you need extra focus and concentration. Antara Drishti is also practiced during pranayama (breath control) and dhyana (meditation.)
Determination and Effort
To learn and master asanas and pranayama, strong determination and sincere effort is essential.
Pain is a natural sensation caused due to weakness, stiffness or congestion. Yogis believed that pain is integral part of yoga practice; without pain there is no gain. Pain takes you inwards and develops an understanding of your self – through pain you will see the light inside. You may experience pain in some asanas. This is because, your body is not properly aligned and your weight is not properly distributed. Respect your body and not to over exert. Tolerance, patience and positive attitude are essential qualities to manage pain. The progress may be slow, but with perseverance and with the guidance of an experienced teacher you can manage and even learn how to overcome pain.
Commitment and Regularity
Regular and committed practice is the key to achieve the desired goal. Set aside a time for your everyday practice and make your practice time a positive and uplifting experience. The key to continue your practice everyday is to thoroughly enjoy it.