There is no accounting for tastes. However, the tastes themselves are not disregarded, and even among yogis can be found various preferences regarding practice. Someone will say that Hatha yoga is boring because of its static nature. There will definitely be those who do not like the repetitive movements of Kriya yoga, but someone, on the contrary, will enthusiastically talk about their personal practice both in Hatha and in Kriya, and after that all listeners will involuntarily want to learn from the experience. From those who only hearsay about the existence of Yoga, you can often hear something like: “Yoga? It’s too boring. I’ll fall asleep there. I need something more active”.
In this case, the practice of Prostration Yoga, which is a dynamic version of Hatha Yoga, can be a kind of compromise. The body smoothly changes asanas, getting the necessary muscle tone, and the mind is no longer as boring as when we are in static poses, especially for that period, while the sequence of asanas has not yet been brought to automatism. However, Prostration Yoga is so multifaceted that it can satisfy even the most demanding practitioner.
The sequence of asanas can be either quite short, say about twelve asanas in total, as it is in the practice of Surya Namaskar, or exceed a hundred and include quite complex elements.There is no strict sequence, as it is in Kriya yoga, and from day to day you can easily add or remove any exercises. Number of execution circles, i.e. cycles of the selected sequence, may also be different depending on your goals.
Prostration yoga can be used as a morning practice as it helps to invigorate the whole body and wake up. It is also good before dinner if you lack movement in your daily life. And finally, in the evening before going to bed, this practice will help relieve the tension accumulated during the day, which will contribute to a better rest at night.
Prostration can be an excellent warm-up before the more subtle yoga practices, like Mantra yoga or Meditation. By regularly performing Prostration, you can master quite complex Hatha Yoga asanas without paying much attention to it.. This practice can be a cleansing practice if you combine it with oatmeal.
The basic version of Prostration yoga includes exercises that actively involve the abdominal cavity. In combination with a small portion of oatmeal eaten before (two to three tablespoons — dry or with sparkling water), the practice provides a gentle removal of toxins from the digestive tract. Regularly performing this procedure, you can cleanse your body without using more extreme variants of shatkarmas (i.e. cleansing practices), such as shank prakshalana.
Any yoga practice has three important stages: the beginning of the practice, the practice itself and its completion with rest. Prostration Yoga is no exception. Before starting, it is recommended to take a shower or rub the body with a damp towel, and then tune in to the practice. Any comfortable sitting posture with a straight back is suitable for this: view your body with your mind’s eye and try to relax it.
The practice itself can be either dynamic or extremely slow, when you slowly “flow” from one posture to another, freezing in some asanas from time to time. Moreover, the rhythm can change even during one cycle of Prostration. Try doing Prostration to the music, that is rhythmic or more relaxed, or practice in silence. Pay attention to how music affects your movements: sometimes it helps to cheer up, and sometimes it can make it difficult to find your own rhythm. Do not be surprised if the time to perform the same sequence of asanas varies greatly from time to time. A dynamic version can take 5 — 10 minutes per cycle, while a slower version with smooth movements and static in asanas can take up to an hour. Therefore, if you practice in the morning, keep track of the time so as not to be late for work.
At the end of practice it is recommended to lie on your stomach, put your forehead on the mat, press your ears to your head with your hands, remaining in this position for a while. Then you can roll over on your back, or relax in the Crocodile pose, resting your forehead on your palm.
You can start with two circles of the basic version of Prostration. Gradually, you may want to do more circles or add more asanas. And if at the beginning it could be like a warm-up or a practice option that does not take much time, then with time, Prostration yoga can become a full-fledged independent practice, to which you want to return again and again.
Compromise between static and dynamic
Prostration yoga does not seek to replace the practice of Hatha or Kriya yoga. All practices fit together and complement each other. Rather, it is a compromise between statics and dynamics, which, moreover, will add new colors to the usual practices in the future. Prostration involves a large number of muscles, each time revealing more and more of the body’s capabilities. And if at first attention is required to repeat the sequence, then in the future the body will perform the practice automatically, the mind will relax and allow you to dive deeper into the sensations and find the harmony necessary for Yoga. Finally, the variability of this practice makes this type of Yoga a universal helper for every day at any time of the day.
Be active every day!
Article author: Misha Ashvin
Author of the drawing: Marina Fedorova
Editing: Eva Rati, Mirra, Inna Shakti
Project curator: Kerigona
Translated by Larysa Skybina and Avlaada