How to improve your Ashtanga practice

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is structured in a progressive manner such that your awareness, engagement, and attention in the previous postures affect the succeeding asana. For example, in order to support the seated postures, we must first work in building up awareness and attention through the standing sequence.

Here are some general tips that can help you improve your standing sequence practice:

1. Always follow your breathing. The breathing comes first, and then the movemement will follow.
2. Engage your quadriceps, toes, and inner thighs. This action will activate the Mula Badha and the lower abdominal region.
3. In symmetrical asanas like Padagusthasana, Padahastasana and the Prasarita series, always shift body weight towards the balls of the feet while keeping the heels grounded, the toes pressing down, the belly tucked in, and the quadriceps engaged.
4. In asymmetrial asanas such as Trikonasana and Virabhadrasana, most of the body weight must be on the back foot. Legs should always be active in order to avoid collapsing with gravity.

Keep these techniques in mind as you go through your standing postures, and eventually apply the same principles to the seated sequence. Your practice will surely feel lighter, allowing you to access more subtle aspects of the practice such as breathing and badhas in a more effective way.

Just keep practicing, and let us know how your practice progresses.

Ricardo and Joy
It’s Yoga Satellite