Dharana Leads to Mastery
There are multiple reasons why we practice asana (the physical practice of yoga), but most of us would agree that the primary one is that we feel better afterward. Asana offers us an opportunity to get to know our body on a deeper level because it demands the full attention of our mind. You can’t mentally check out while holding a balance posture; you must stay present. It’s that type of absolute focus that allows us to advance in anything we do. In the yoga sutras, the harnessing of our mind’s attention to focus on one thing is referred to as Dharana. We can get to the state of Dharana on and off the mat. It’s a skill that can permeate every aspect of our life. To become masterful at anything we do, we must practice this single-pointed focus. So how do we do it in our asana practice?
The challenge most of us face is that our only measure of progress in the asana practice is the attainment of postures. I say asana specifically because the yoga practice includes far more than the study of the physical body, and for this discussion, I want to target the development of our physical awareness. If the postures are our only measurement, then we subconsciously will strive for the ability to achieve more of them so long as we feel safe enough. On the other hand, if we don’t feel safe then we will likely hold ourselves back from our potential. I’d like to invite you to focus your attention on something more specific in your physical practice: targeted, intentional muscle activation and the sensations you experience while doing so. Instead of practicing many postures, focus on fewer postures with several muscle activations. The body has a tremendous amount of muscles, so limit your options by focusing on one area of your body i.e. the hips, shoulders, spine, ankles, core, etc. This is how I structure my Elements of Mastery immersion, I take you through simple postures while targeting each area of the body throughout the weekend or online course. In the video below, I give the example of how to activate 3 different muscle groups in the “hips” category for one single posture, lunge pose.
What Does it mean to be advanced?
The practice of yoga is always about developing some form of awareness through intentional actions. Advanced in the physical practice of asana means heightened proprioception of the body or “Body Awareness.” Understanding how to activate the various muscles of the body in order to move your bones/joints and be able to feel the sensations of these actions is what qualifies an advanced practitioner. For some, that may result in complex postures that require flexibility and strength, and for others, it might be living a more pain-free life. In any case, “advanced” is not aesthetic, it’s functional, which may or may not be visually pleasing to someone watching. The recent interest in fascia, the connective tissue of the body, has revealed many findings in modern research. While researchers are just a few years into the study of connective tissue, studies are showing the correlation between proprioception and chronic pain – those that are less aware of and capable of moving or activating certain areas of their body also experience chronic pain in these areas. What that means for us practicing yoga is to use the practice to develop greater body awareness if we want to decrease chronic pain. Watch the video below to see how I explore different muscle groups within a simple lunge posture
Elements of Mastery
The most in-depth online yoga immersion offered by Matt Giordano. This immersion contains several full-length workshops focusing on how the body relates to nature’s elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, & Space. In addition to deepening your physical practice, you will learn anatomy, adjustments, and the approach to Mastery!
Get access to 3 or more products so you can develop your yoga practice in a well-rounded and enjoyable way right from your home! You will not only save money but you will also have unlimited access to feeling better in your body and mind!
GARUDASANA - EAGLE POSE How to Double Wrap the LegsEagle Pose GARUDASANA - EAGLE POSE Why is it hard to double wrap the leg Garudasana, known as Eagle Pose is a challenging hip opener and hip strengthener. Its useful in developing balance, but for many people, double...
Hips & Hamstrings Flexibility "The 4 Quadrants of The Hips"Hip & Hamstrings Hips And Hamstrings Flexibility Why Is Hip Mobility Important? If you practice yoga you are sure to increase your flexibility of the hips and hamstrings. However, that doesn't mean you will...
Intelligent Yoga Sequence Technique "REVERSE ENGINEERING"Yoga Sequencing HOW TO DESIGN AN INTELLIGENT YOGA SEQUENCE REVERSE ENGINEERING Designing an intelligent yoga sequence for your at-home practice or for your students can create a massive lifelong impact. Whether...
Backbend Technique to relieve back pain "BOWING THE SPINE"Bowing The Spine Why are backbends uncomfortable for many people? Can we do anything to change this? Let's dive into my #1 backbend technique to relieve back pain, and provide you with maximum range of motion....
FIREFLY POSE TITIBHASANA STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: LEARN TO FLYFIREFLY POSE FIREFLY POSE: TITIBHASANA STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: 4 KEY ACTIONS Firefly pose (Titibhasana) might have you thinking, “There is no way I’ll ever be able to do THAT pose!” Yes, for sure it requires...
YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDSCOBRA POSE YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE HOW TO RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDS If you feel back pain in backbends, you are not alone. Many people experience low back pain in backbends. If you're...
Learn the techniques that make Handstand fun, easy and accessible! This collection of the top 12 most effective exercises will make you rethink how you approach handstand and what is possible.
In this workshop you will practice specific techniques to open your hips, finding greater rang of motion and freedom. Each action in the body is carefully layered and clearly articulated to provide you with success.
Dance With The Flames
Change is Inevitable but transformation is a choice. Step into the fire and dance amongst the flames in this live workshop! You will get the full energy of being in the class room, strengthen your hips, and free your heart.
Still Have Questions? Email Matt Directly