If you’re a seasoned yogi, I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, “A yogi is not advanced because they can do a handstand or a split. A yogi is advanced because they can maintain their breath throughout the yoga practice.”
And boy is this saying right!!!
Breath is everything when it comes to practicing yoga. Think of building the house that is build through yoga. The breath is the foundation of the yoga practice. The breath is like the strongest rock your yoga practice will be based upon. However you move, whenever you move, your breath is here for you, keeping you centered as you transition in and out of several poses or no poses at all. Even if you are seating still or laying down on your back, the breath is just as equally important. Always take long, deep, cleaning breaths. Breathe in, breathe out, and yoga.
The breath is what allows the body to strengthen, to expand, to balance. The breath is the vehicle through which everything passes. Whether we want stronger biceps and triceps or any other muscles, we must breathe into the poses that helps of strengthen those parts of our bodies. If we want to open our hips, our shoulders, our hearts, deep breaths are needed to reach and expand into those areas. When we’re practicing our balancing poses, such as tree pose, we use our breath to keep one foot firmly planted on the ground, while our other foot, and possibly our hands is rising high, reaching for the sky.
Always breathe throughout your yoga practice. Breath in. Breath out. All is well when you’re breathing.
You can do all the cool yoga poses you want, but if you’re not in proper alignment, you’re not doing yoga. What you’re doing is something that resembles yoga while increasing your risk for injury.
Just like the breath, proper alignment is extremely important when practicing yoga. While the breath is the foundation, the alignment represents the walls of the yoga practice. If you keep doing the same moves over and over again and you’re not in the proper form, you will eventually injure yourself and it can take many years to fix certain problems. Your yoga practice is a journey. Not a destination. Take your time. Your yoga practice is always here for you. It will never run away.
If you’re not ready for certain poses or if your body is not yet fully open to explore certain transitions, don’t do them. Respect your body. It’s not worth it to sacrifice proper alignment just to go to the next level. Maybe today is you can’t do them. Keep practicing. One day you these poses will be available to you, and you’ll be able to do them in their proper alignment. Honor your body.
The importance of meditation in yoga cannot be overstated. When you are seating still or lying on your back, taking time to meditate, you are inviting a greater part of yourself to be fully present in the moment. During this time in which you seat or lay down on your back in silence, your body is regenerating itself, healing itself, speaking to itself, listening to itself, meditation is what ties everything together.
While the breath is the foundation of your yoga practice and the alignment of the poses is the walls, meditation is the roof that is overlaid on your practice. In order to build a strong yoga practice (yoga house), meditation is the final key that holds it all together.
There are many great benefits to meditation, like releasing stress, anxiety, and negative energy from the body. During meditation, we can invite peace, joy, love to come to us. There are countless stories of people who have healed themselves through meditation. Is not recommended to ever skip out on mediation while doing yoga. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, always take the time to mediate. There is no yoga without mediation. Mediation is what makes this practice yoga and not just anther brutal form of exercise.