|Words: Lynette Suchar - Image: Tamara Michelle Photography|
In yoga, sometimes my favourite moments are the spaces in between a pose. I crave that pause, that “pose” between a pose. That pause seems to happen so naturally, a reprieve for a breath or two. It’s almost like life freezes for a moment, like all thoughts disappear, until movement carries me away again. Breath is the constant throughout your yoga practice. Breath carries you from one pose to the next. Through each transition, each posture, each pause, our breath supports us from stillness to movement. The pauses are possible because of our breath, steady gaze, and strong foundation. Consider these three elements when flowing through your vinyasa (movement with breath) practice:
1 - As we transition from posture to posture, remember to come back to your inhale and exhale. Breath is the first tool you can cultivate in your practice. It is often the first one that we forget and we end up holding our breath as we hold our pose. Remember that with inhale comes expansion and the creation of space. On the exhale comes the grounding and the surrender. Let your breath fuel your movement and when you find yourself in a pause between two poses, drink in the breath and let any tension soften on the exhale.
2 - Find the softness within. Whether still or moving from pose to pose, find your drishti, or one spot to focus on. This one-pointed gaze will help you stay present in your movements and pauses. If we start looking around, our mind, body, and breath are distracted. As you fix your attention to one spot, allow your eyes to be soft. Move through your practice and settle into the pauses with a gentle determination. You can be strong and soft. Notice how allowing that softness into your eyes and jaw changes the space between a pose.
3) Root down to flow and grow. Another element that will give your practice stability and strength is to find a strong foundation. Find stability and equanimity wherever your body is touching the ground, and from there grow tall. This foundation can be applied whether you’re on your feet or upside down, whether you’re flowing from Updog to Downdog or holding Warrior Two. Root down to grow tall.
Find your breath, a gentle gaze, and your stable foundation in between each pose and you have three tools to guide you through the stillness and the transitions on and off the mat.