How to Light the Fire in your Vinyasa Flow
That heat, that heart-filled, soul-catching, delicious, sparkly fire begins with breath. The ujjayi Darth Vader whisper ocean breath. This breath is your beginning, your foundation. This breath is where your vinyasa will flow and change and build. If there is no breath, there is no place for the vinyasa to grow. Vinyasa without breath is just exercise. Breath gives you purpose, focus, and power.
After breath, the core. During a yoga practice, every move you make involves the core. It is what enables you to stand in mountain pose with your feet pressing into the ground and your tailbone curled in. It is what empowers you to lift your body up as you reach your foot forward from downward dog to lunge, making your toes meet the earth with grace instead of force. The core creates fire in the belly and the fire spreads with the help of a strong, solid breath. In Forrest yoga, we even begin our yoga practice with the core, so that the heat we make there is activated right away, and this makes it available for every pose afterward.
The last element necessary for staying lit up is time. You have to give your body time. Be in warrior I for a full five breaths. Feel the quadricep working. Notice your heels pressing into the ground as the ground presses back. What is your tailbone doing here? What is your breath like? Breathe as deeply as you can. Notice where your breath begins and ends. Are you tense anywhere? Is your jaw clenched? Relax that space in between your eyebrows.
Combining these three actions—breath, core, and time—will create a crazy amount of heat. The breath will circulate it throughout the body, the core will keep generating new warmth, and time will challenge you to treat each pose like a meditation in being present.
The only question is: how much fire do you want to make?
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