Transitions in Yoga Asana Practice

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Transitions in Yoga Asana Practice

transitionsBy Gopi Rao

Transitions take place in yoga and life. We often measure our level of success in yoga practice by the technical perfection and level of difficulty in the poses we perform, but do we miss out on something essential by placing our focus solely on the asanas themselves? The space between any two given poses, the transition, is something that should not be ignored. Transitions, both in life and yoga practice, can strengthen us.

Many yoga students hold themselves to a very high standard when it comes to their yoga practice, yet they are often the ones that move from asana to asana using momentum alone. These students seem to literally throw their weight around in order to maneuver the body from one pose to another. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but all the potential of a transition itself is ignored and lost.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

– John Lennon

The transitions between poses may sometimes seem unpleasant or irrelevant, just like the transitions we face from time to time in our lives. The temptation is to give in to basic human nature and hurry through these periods of time. When what was once our everyday normal ceases to be, we watch and wait for our new normal to appear. Our eyes are firmly closed to any lessons this time could offer.

Yoga students can greatly enhance the quality of their current yoga practice by starting to give equal attention to the space between the asanas. Say no to momentum and cultivate a graceful slowness of movement when transitioning to and from poses. During the first few weeks, normal yoga practice will be a significantly more challenging physical workout, but in time the muscles in the body should grow accustomed to the new demands.

If moving slowly through the yoga asana proves to be too difficult, the core needs some special attention. Slowly and mindfully performing the Boat Pose is a gentle and effective way to boost the strength of the abdominals and core. The pose is very simple to do. Start in a sitting position on the mat with your legs pointing straight forward. Lean back slowly, keeping the back straight and not arching until the tailbone and sitting bones are supporting your weight in harmony. Feel for the stability. Now bend the knees and lift the feet up off of the floor slowly, paying attention to the body’s reaction. If possible, continue to lift and extend the legs, straightening the legs completely without locking the knees. Tighten the core and push the sternum towards the sky in order to counter the increasing weight of the legs. The arms may be pointed straight forward and used for extra balance and stability. Hold this pose until breathing is no longer easy. Initially, you might only hold the pose for a few seconds, but eventually the time will increase.

Transitions are a hidden treasure in day to day yoga practice. By honoring them and giving them the attention they deserve, an individual’s yoga practice can be taken to the next level of fitness and awareness.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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