1. The first step is mentally attuning to the posture. See yourself in a completed pose and get a sense of its perfection.
2. The second step is to move into the pose slowly. When your movement is slow, you can easily feel which muscles are working and which part of your body needs attention.
3. The third step is holding the posture steady and in comfort. Allow your awareness to remain inward to keep the pose perfect.
4. The fourth step is to move out of the pose slowly. You should flow out of the pose as smoothly as you went into it.
5. The fifth and final step is relaxing completely. This rest period is one of the most important stages of each posture. It is at this resting point, that the benefits are more deeply absorbed and your bodies energy is balanced.
Although five stages have been described, they come together as one.
Breathe! Never hold your breath in a pose, it tightens your body and deprives you of much needed oxygen. Breathe deeply and rhythmically. Always breathe in through your nose, in this way the air is warmed, filtered and moistened. As you can, exhale through your nose, as this helps to slow your breath down.
Eliminate Extra Effort. Use only the parts of your body directly involved in the pose. Allow the rest of your body, especially your shoulders, neck and face, to soften completely.
Notice Any Differences between the left and right side of your body. If you find imbalances, you could hold the pose longer on the side with less strength or flexibility to help create balance.
Move As Far Into the Pose as you can while maintaining the proper alignment and integrity of the pose. As you move slowly, you will easily notice the first point of resistance and this is where you begin to hold the pose. As you hold and relax into this place, you allow time for a gradual release within the pose to occur.
Do Not Compete with yoga illustrations, teachers, fellow students or yourself. Take comfort in knowing that when you listen carefully and move slowly, a perfect pose is available to you. A perfect pose is one where you find some effort and challenge, yet it’s a pose that is comfortable and enjoyable. Remember that there is no reason to go further than this, because it is in that place of comfort that you will receive all of the benefits of the pose.
Be Persistent and energetic, but at the same time, be gentle and non-violent toward yourself.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this web site is educational in nature, based on the traditions of Ayurveda and Yoga, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or to replace standard medical treatment or advice. If you have a medical condition, please consult your physician or other qualified medical provider.