Concentrating on bodily sensations in yoga

As I wrote before, there are not one or two ways to make the conscious. Which (or which) of them to use is everyone’s business. However, in order to choose the most effective ones, it is advisable to try each of the existing ones.

Today we will talk in more detail about focusing on bodily sensations.

When you exercise while focusing on the sensations in your body, the effectiveness of the exercise increases dramatically. Muscles get involved better. Their growth and increase in strength is faster. This effect is familiar, for example, to those who work out professionally in the gym.

But if in the gym, the exercises are mainly isolated (they involve only one muscle group), then in yoga, exercises involve several muscle groups at the same time. And if in the gym it is enough to limit yourself to how the working muscle contracts or stretches, then in yoga practice it is desirable to produce a greater amount of internal work.

Physiological concentration in yoga
Awareness of the work of muscles and joints.
While performing the asana, feel which muscle) does the main work. If this is a strength pose, then feel which muscle is most tense. If this is a stretching pose, then feel which muscle is stretched the most. Feel that by concentrating on the body, the pose becomes easier.

During the stretch, as you begin to “breathe through the working muscle,” the sensations of the stretching in it gradually become less intense. This means that gradually you can enter the pose deeper and deeper.

While performing the asana, keep track of which joints are involved in the work. If the asana is aimed at opening the pelvis, then there should be no pain in the knees and ankles. If the asana is aimed at opening the shoulders, then it is the shoulder joints that should be felt, and not the elbow joints. Also, make sure that there are no “extra” sensations in the joints. That is, there is no pain in the wrists while resting on the hands (plank, quadrangle pose) and in the knees while performing lunges (Warrior 1 and 2 pose, Anjaneyasana). By the way, the knees are generally the most traumatized area and you can read about the correct work with the knees here.

By doing this type of concentration, you will greatly improve your brain-muscle connections. This is especially true for beginner practitioners who, in order to straighten their back, often “help” themselves with their neck, throwing their head back. And they begin to “hang” when it becomes necessary to “change the direction of movement” or “change the cross of the fingers” by changing the position of the hands relative to each other. But you never know the instructor’s commands made you start looking around, trying to find out: “What do they want from me?” and “How can I do this?” 🙂

Comparison of the sensations of muscle and joint work.
This is a deeper level of concentration, when you begin not only to be aware of sensations in different parts of the body, but also to compare them. (This is the type of concentration that is often used in Pilates training). When doing symmetrical postures, you start comparing the sensations on the left and right sides of the body. So when performing Pashchimotanasana, you keep track of whether the muscles of the back of the thigh are stretched equally in the left and right legs; and whether the right and left sides of the back are stretched the same.

If this is an asymmetrical posture, then you can compare the sensations arising on different sides of the body. When performing the Warrior Pose, watch how the muscles of the front of the thigh of the forward and back legs work differently. And when performing the pose of the Tree, compare the sensations arising in the supporting and in the bent leg.

You can also compare the work of paired muscles (antagonist muscles). For example, to track how the abdominal muscles are stretched and the back muscles are strained during the Dog Face Up. And when the body is tilted to the left, the left side is reduced and the right side is stretched.

Awareness of existing trends
This type of concentration allows you to go even deeper. This is a deeper level of awareness, close to pratyahara (the fifth step of the 8-step yoga).
This is where the information received about physiological processes is analyzed. And on the basis of this, the identification of existing trends. For example, we realize that during the transition from Ashtanga Namaskar to Planck we begin to pull our shoulders to our ears. Or we constantly slouch while doing Pashchimotanasana.

This practice of concentration is twofold. It not only brings us one step closer to meditation, but also increases the physical benefits of performing asanas. Observing the sensations in the body, we monitor the correctness of the performance of asanas. This means we do it safely and most effectively.

These are the main points that I wanted to tell about physical concentration (awareness of sensations in the body). If you have any questions regarding this topic, ask in the comments. If not, wait for the next article.