No matter what your level of practice is, there are three aspects that we need to keep an eye on and care for at all times. These are alignment, focus and breathing.
Have a good lineup allows us to obtain the most benefits from our practice, and allows us to find that point where we can also be comfortable.
Misalignment will cause you discomfort in your yoga poses, and worse, can potentially lead to serious injury. At first it may be difficult to accept that your body can’t go where you might want it to, but over time the body builds strength and elasticity needed to extend your reach and progress in asana practice.
We must learn to go slowly and to practice each modification or variation of a posture that best fit our level.
2. Focus or Drishti
Drishti is that place where we place our gaze and attention. Sometimes it is a fixed point on the wall, while others prefer to focus their gaze on the tip of the nose. Having a focus develops our concentration and helps with balance.
Sometimes, the focus can also be be directed at ourselves. One of the things I enjoy tremendously during my practice is to do pratyahara, when you close your eyes and withdraw the senses.
This way, there are fewer distractions, and you can take your practice to be more in touch with yourself.
Although it is the last thing I mentioned, the breath is the most important aspect of a yoga practice. Breathing is the key to everything — after all, without it, we wouldn’t be alive.
In yoga, uneven or erratic breathing is the product of a troubled mind. Our goal is to find the point in our mind-body balance where we can breathe with ease and in sync with the flow of our body’s movement in yoga postures.
If you take care of these three aspects, your practice will develop in a healthy and timely manner. I too am always keeping an eye on my drishti (pun intended!), breath, and alignment — not in the hopes of going “faster” in my journey, but rather knowing I am practicing safely, and I am where I need to be.