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Thinking one or two seconds ahead of yourself when practicing your yoga will keep you boxed-in with a beginners mind, never exploring the true power yoga can bring.

Within the first six to twelve months of practice, new students learn to connect with the basic structure of the postures. Typically they are always thinking ahead of themselves. For example take Balancing-Stick, the moment the teacher says come down their mind is concentrating purely on the end goal of getting into the T shape. Their minds are always two or three seconds ahead, never observing or engaging in the journey.

If you are demonstrating for an Instagram picture the destination is all that matters.  However if you seek to move to the next level you need to be concentrating on the moments in-between.  The moments in-between is where the magic happens.

When I say this to students, the typical question I get back is - "If I am not focusing on the destination, what should I be focusing on?".  In Hatha yoga, every moment, every millisecond of time, your primary focus is on opening up all the joints of the body.  Yoga is a continuous, moment by moment observation of the interplay between your body & mind as you gently pull all the body joints open, as prescribe by the posture.  How far you go into a posture is totally irrelevant - who cares how far you go!

So in Balancing-Stick the moment you lift the back leg off the floor you should be observing how all the joints of the body are gently being pulled open (writs, elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, ankles, toes).  Next, observe the process of keeping these joints open as you slowly move in & out of the posture with precision.  

Although physically it's a lot harder, you develop a far more enhanced meditative state of mind making your whole practice extremely exhilarating.

Once you have fully embrace this concept you will discover a whole new world of strength & focus, from which your mind & body will never look back.  

 

Bill Thwaites