O.S. asana practice uses a conscious, audible breath through the nose (Ujjaii) to guide movement. The postures develop within the envelope of the breath, using the breath as a barometer to guide the appropriate level of intensity for the practitioner. As the breath – inhale and exhale, is one of the most obvious illustrations of the binary nature of our embodiment, O.S. Yoga asana practice begins with the breath.
The next example of the binary nature of embodiment are the two types of tissue in the body that asana practice affects – Yin tissue, which is the connective tissue, and Yang tissue, which is muscle tissue. O.S. Yoga practice recognizes the difference in these tissues and trains them appropriately – dynamic practice for muscle tissue and long, muscularly passive practice to target the connective tissues.
Conscious muscular action performed in a balanced way (integrative and expansive), and appropriate to the individual’s ability is innately healing and therapeutic. Therefore, O.S. asana practice seeks to bring the body back to balance through the skillful use of opposing forces – an approach to alignment that also recognizes individual differences.
We need both periods of appropriate stress and rest in all areas – physical, mental, and emotional. O.S. Yoga recognizes the pulsation of opposites here as well. The age and constitution of the individual practitioner determines the appropriate schedule, duration and intensity of practice.
The practitioner learns Yoga from a teacher in order to develop her own practice – not to become dependant on an outside source. Yoga practice yields its greatest rewards when approached in a creative and individual way.
The focus of O.S. Yoga instruction is to increase not just the student’s knowledge base, but to encourage discernment and creativity. With these tools, the student becomes her own teacher.
Using these six “threads” as a starting point, weaving an appropriate individual practice can begin.