When I started reading about Ashtanga yoga , the term “Movement Meditation” came up a few times . Only after doing the practice regularly I have been able to appreciate its meaning . Once you really start getting the hang of the asanas and the flow of the practice , it gets easier to follow your breath . When your mind stays focused on the breath rather than the asanas , you can feel the silence of the meditation .
This is exactly what I was looking for all along . It really gladdens my heart every time I realize that I have really found my practice . I go to a regular yoga class in the nearby gym , just to mix it up a little bit . Earlier I used to think that unless I find my yoga teacher and go to a class everyday , I will never be able to learn yoga . I know there is no substitute for a good yoga teacher , but now if asked , I would advise everyone to do home practice atleast once or twice a week , This is the time when you can really connect with the asanas , with your body and your breath . You will be able to feel the nuances of the asanas rather than focusing on the instruction of the the yoga teacher .
My Ashtanga practice started with 10 Surya Namaskar ( Sun Salutations ) everyday for the first few days . Believe me it took me a week to just get used to doing 10 Surya Namaskar and not be drained by the end of it . Since I was not in any rush , I listened to my body and slowly started adding more asanas of the primary series in my daily practice .
So the first asana of Surya Namaskar is Samasthiti . This is the asana you will come back time and again between different asanas . This is where , you can regain your normal Ujjayi breathing , even if you lose it between asanas .
Stand with your both legs firm on the ground . Open your toes , so that the your weight is equally distributed on all corners of the feet . Now , contract your thighs so that your kneecaps are pulled up and your legs are active . Activate your stomach so that the bandhas are engaged ( I will write about bandhas in details later , for now contract your stomach muscles so that you will not be stomach breathing ) . Lift the front of the rib cage .Relax your shoulders. Start taking Ujjayi Breathing with your rib cage expanding in all directions. . Look straight so that you are looking at your nose . Now do the ujjayi breathing evenly . Although there are still many more details in the pose but once you start paying attention to your body while doing yoga you will be able to know the subtle actions needed to do each asana perfectly .
This is where I am now.