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.
There are two dimensions to this aspect of
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.
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
"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
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,
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
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.
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.
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
© 1997-2002 Ananda Yoga