Stay connected to the breath. When you feel your mind wandering, don’t become frustrated but simply let that be a reminder for you to come back to the breath. Over and over again.
Keep the spine long. Think about the crown of your head as an extension of the spine—never tip the entire head back but be conscious to keep space for the neck.
Relax your face and your hands. When we’re in long holds or deep stretches we sometimes unconsciously transfer tightness from one part of the body to another. Notice if you’re making fists with your hands or clenching your jaw. Relax. Soften. Release.
Every time emotions pop up in our practice it means that your body is releasing emotional tension that’s been stuck in certain body parts. It’s absolutely natural to cry on your yoga mat—I do it all the time! Our yoga mat is a place of silence where we wholeheartedly can give ourselves the time we need to feel, and it’s not uncommon for strong emotions to surface. Let it be! Cry when you need to. Allow the heart to open and your body to let go. Inhale to create space where space is needed. Exhale and release anything you might have been holding on to that is no longer of use. Keep breathing this way, and before you know it you’ve taken your yoga practice from the body all the way into your heart. In the heart, right here, is where true transformation happens.
Lead image courtesy Dennis Schoneveld
Featured image courtesy Ben Kane