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Key Aspects of Yoga



Continuous Awareness

Throughout your routine, remain aware of energy flowing through you and powering your movements and your breath. Don't think that you're only "doing yoga" while you're holding an asana.

Every moment of your entire routine should contribute to an ever-more-internalized awareness as you enter, hold and explore, exit, and assimilate the effects of each pose. Be aware of the energy that flows out from your spine to move your body into the asana/ hold it there, and bring it out again. After you exit, feel the energy that you were using for the asana returning to your spine.

Safety Precautions

There are two dimensions to this aspect of Ananda Yoga:

1. Observe appropriate precautions for special health conditions such as heart disease, high or low blood pressure, pregnancy, menstruation, severe back, neck, or knee injuries, and so on. Always modify postures as needed to accommodate the practitioner's level of physical ability. Fit the pose to the practitioner, not vice versa.
2. Use correct alignment in order to make the poses comfortable, avoid injury, facilitate the flows of prana, and experience the postures on their deeper levels. However, don't obsess over alignment; it's the foundation of asana practice, not its pinnacle

Relaxation

"It is impossible to develop true Self-awareness without first learning how to relax. Energy that is bound cannot soar to divine heights. The science of yoga might even be defined as a process of progressive relaxation: first, from outer attachments; then from attachment to the body, to thoughts, to personality, to ego-until one finds himself at last in the stream of infinite life."

 

Pauses

After each pose, return to a "neutral" pose-usually a restful position such as tadasana, a sitting meditative pose (e.g., cross-legged or vajrasana), balasana, or savasana.
The pauses are not just for physical recovery. They're times of mini-meditation, when you re-center, focus your attention within, and use your focused attention to assimilate the effects of the preceding posture(s) by drawing your energy deeper into and up the spine. During a pause, you'll sometimes feel the effects of the preceding posture more deeply than you did while you were holding that posture.

 

 

Using the Breath

Conscious use of the breath is very important in Ananda Yoga. In warm-ups, it helps integrate breath and movement. In entering and exiting the asanas, there are specific ways to use inhalation and exhalation to help you move gracefully and safely. While in an asana, use the breath to deepen your stretch, your relaxation, your concentration, your energy awareness, and your overall experience. Between asanas, use breath awareness-or a specific pranayama (breathing technique)-to enhance or balance the effects of the preceding asana (or asanas), or simply to draw your energy deeper into the spine.

 

Energy Awareness

Each asana generates a unique and specific pattern of energy flow/ which in turn stimulates one or more of the subtle energy centers in the body, while holding an asana we try to become aware of and participate in this process, using it to deepen our experience of the asanas and direct the energy to the brain.

We focus first on increasing our general awareness of energy, and on mental affirmations as an effective, indirect way to work with the chakra energies.

Asana Affirmations

Most of the basic asanas have their own specific affirmations, which are repeated (usually silently) while you hold the asanas. Each affirmation is designed to help you increase and attune yourself more deeply with the energy flows awakened by the asana, and with the specific states of consciousness associated with those flows.

 

Attunement with the Yoga Tradition

There is great wisdom behind this ancient science. It is built upon the timeless essence of human nature, dependent upon neither culture nor fashion. The state of yoga does not come merely from techniques. The value of techniques is to "attune" yourself-i.e.., align your awareness-with the eternal state of consciousness that all true masters of yoga have attained.

 

 

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