AshtangaYoga.info

International Infopage for Ashtanga Yoga

Asana + direction = alignment

An asana alone does not define you as a yogi. Only the interaction of breath and energy, lightness and stability, falling back and advancement will open the door for you to the wealth of experience of the infinite cosmos of yoga. If this is understood, the direction, or alignment, results in the asana arising almost by itself.

Breathing and bandha are a manifestation of two cosmic opposites.Emerging from the opposite, energy flows through the entire body. And breathing and bandha are sustained throughout the whole body.

The yogi knows 72 laks (100,000) of Nadis (energy channels). These direct the prana (energy) in the body.All these channels merge at one point, two finger's width below the navel. This is called Kanda. Prana (energy) pulses continuously. It approaches the Kanda and radiates from here. Breathing sets the rhythm for this pulse. Notice how with the inhalation the energy spreads out. It radiates out of your fingers, toes and hair like little rays of sunshine. With exhalation, the energy is drawn together to an inner glow in your central point, the Kanda.

Having recognized Mula Bandha as a principle of strength, you can again find Mula Bandha all over.Your feet give you stability, sometimes also your hands. The legs and arms require stability. Also Uddiyana Bandha sustains a principle of lightness in the body. The opening of the ribcage, the extension of your strong arms and legs into the room, and the ease with which you stretch yourself up to the sky, are all possibilities alluding to Uddiyana Bandha.

Through the balance of bandha originates alignment (direction).We see that alignment from this perspective becomes completely simple and obvious. We can recognize the principles that manifest themselves in the practice, principles that help align the joints in an anatomically correct manner, guaranteeing at the same time flexibility and stability. Principles that sustain yourself healthily and enchant your practice with an inner glow. You will find the details more precisely explained in the asana descriptions (on this webpage). Here is a rough summary of the basic principles:

Mula Bandha, exhalation:

The principle of strength, of contraction.
Rooting from the Metatarsophalangeal joint, rooting of the thumb and forefinger.
Inner rotation of the forefoot, inner rotation of the lower leg, inner rotation of the forearm.
Curling of the free ribs, curling of the coccyx.
The body becomes solid and stable, it is grounded to the Earth.

Uddiyana Bandha, inhalation

The principle of lightness, of stretching.
Outward rotation of the hind foot, thigh, upper arm.
Opening of the ribcage, points of the sitting bones.
You lift yourself like a lark, effortlessly high into the blue sky.

×
Contribute