In Ashtanga yoga, the asanas are practised in a specific sequence, combined with bandhas, prana and drishti. Traditionally practised 6 days a week followed by a day of rest.
The Breath – Prana:
Breathe continuously (inhale & exhale) through the nose, creating a soft noise in the back of the throat.
Internal Energy Locks – Bandhas:
Mula Bandha – Root Lock: This bandha controls the downward moving energy found in the lower abdomen. Contract the perineal muscles (ladies think pelvic floor).
Janandhara Handha – Chin Lock: This bandha regulates the flow of prana in the throat. It’s essential for the practice of any pranayama where the breath is held Kumbaka. Lower the chin onto the notch between the collarbones.
Uddyana Bandha – Abdominal Lock: This bandha is a gentle inward pull of the abdominal muscles. Place 3 fingers below the navel and contract below that point.
Gaze/Focus – Drishti:
Aṅguṣṭhamadhye – Toward the thumbs
Nāsāgre – Toward the nose
Bhrūmadhye – Toward the centre of the forehead (third eye)
Nābhicakre – Toward the navel
Hastagrahe – Toward the hand
Pādayoragre – Toward the toes
Pārśva Drishti – Far to the right
Pārśva Drishti – Far to the left
Ūrdhva – Upward