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Breath, Bandha & Drishti: Pillars of Vinyasa Yoga

by Yogiji01
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Breath, Bandha & Drishti: Pillars of Vinyasa Yoga

You’ll frequently hear your instructor at yoga in castle hill prompt you to start breathing in and out through your nose to locate your ujjayi breath as the class begins. You’ll hear alignment signals such, “Push the mat away and expand your collarbones” as the session progresses. Then there is the reminder to maintain a single point of focus; this is known as Drishti.


Breath, bandha, and drishti are the three main pillars that guide our vinyasa yoga practise, which were founded by Sri Krishnamacharya and later refined by B.K.S. Iyengar and Sri K. Pattabhi. They all work together to help us reach a level of intense inner attention and concentration, which occasionally causes us to enter into meditation during class.


Ujjayi Breath

Ujjayi pranayama, often known as the breath of triumph or having an oceanic sound, should be used throughout the whole of your yoga practise, including your last resting pose, savasana. You make a sound like waves washing ashore while keeping your lips locked and breathing slowly through your nose with a slight restriction at the base of your neck. This calming breath causes the body to start to warm up and soothes our physiology.

In the book called “Modern Yoga”, it is explained that when breathing is done correctly, gracefully, and smoothly, it has the power to activate our parasympathetic nervous system response (a state of rest and relaxation) and bring about the dynamic tranquilly that vinyasa yoga practise ought to be accompanied by.



The word bandha, which means “lock,” also serves as the second tenet that directs our vinyasa yoga practise. Consider these locks as muscular contractions over weak joints. The movement of energy and prana through our body is also facilitated and controlled by them.

In the aforementioned illustration, when we pay attention to the prompts to “Push the mat away, wrap the triceps back, and broaden your collarbones,” we work several muscles in a high plank position. These cues make sure that as we transition from high to low planks, the muscles around our shoulder girdle are all operating correctly to safeguard our joints.

During your dynamic asana practise, many of the alignment cues you hear in your vinyasa courses are intended to help you develop bandha. Bandhas make sure that your practise is tough and safe. As we move through our postures, muscle activation and engagement will produce more strength rather than “hanging out” in our joints. 

Our joints benefit from the stability and freedom that bandha offers, and it also aids in the flow of energy through the body.

Some examples are – 

  • Mula bandha or Root lock
  • Uddiyana bandha or Abdominal lock
  • Jalandhara bandha or Throat lock



Drishti, a quiet, one-pointed look that further sharpens our focus, is the last piece of the puzzle. Our minds will remain active if our eyes are darting around the room, usually making comparisons or passing judgement. We can get the full rewards of yoga by calming our sight, slowing our breath, and turning our concentration inward. If we can improve our capacity for focused attention when doing yoga, this is a potent tool to bolster our capacity for focused attention when we are not practising yoga. 

We enter Dharana, a state of intense focus, through these three components of the practise. Together, they all contribute to the feeling of calmness, steadiness, and focus that we experience. Even merely directing your focus to one of the three will help you maintain mental stability if you are feeling disorganised or over-exerting yourself in class. Recognize that these basic asanas—breath, bandha, and drishti—can be used as anchors to the present moment, enhancing your yoga practise.


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