Sometimes the practice seems this big thing, all these poses that your tweaking, breath, bandhas, vinyasas, drishti, your alignment in the asanas, getting further into this, extending further out of that, dropping shoulder blades here, rounding shoulders there et cetera, et cetera, et cetera and so forth. It can seem a lot to face on those mornings when your lacking motivation.
Mornings like that, I try not to think any further ahead than the first Sury Namskara. Other mornings I give myself just the one thing to think about and let the rest of the practice take care of itself. I use four or five of these regularly but following the 50 ways to practice ashtanga list this week a few more more jumped into my head during this mornings practice. To stop thinking about it during practice I promised myself I'd post on it tonight.
When I tend to do this I try to make myself focus on just one or two at most. What seems to happen is that the one you focus on for a couple of days then goes into automatic in the background as you focus on something else. So focusing on nice long exhales for a couple of days then moving on to Uddiyana bandha say, you'll notice that the long exhales have become a bit of a habit. A week or two later you might need to do a long exhale focus again just to reset them. Once again the first few are ones that I use regularly the rest are ones that jumped into my head during practice. Obviously you might come up with a different list as might I on another day.
When mentioning vinyasa, below, I'm referring to the transitions from one pose to the next.
This morning I will try to focus on.....
1. Long slow exhaling throughout.
2. Long slow inhaling throughout except for tight binds.
3. Making the inhale and the exhale the same except for tight binds.
4. Making Ujaii as soft as possible, only just audible.
5. Engaging Moola bandha throughout the practice.
6. Engaging Moola bandha towards the end of every exhale in a soft lifting manner.
7. Engaging Uddiyana bandha on every inhale.
8. Linking Moola and Uddiyana bandha together throughout the practice.
9. Breathing steadily while in the asanas (not worrying so much about alignment or how you get in the asanas).
10. Stability in the asana (being less concerned with the edge)
11. Lengthening in all appropriate asanas (really like this, kind of sitting/standing up tall in the pose).
12. Floating the vinyasa
13. Keeping the vinyasa clean, no shuffling back and forth, moving hands here and there or rocking back and forth.
14. Correct drishti throughout
15. Forget drishi and use Jalahandra bandha (throat lock) throughout most of the practice Vinyasa krama style.
16. An extra breath or two in Upward dog
17. My feet
18. A steady count (rhythm) throughout
19. My head.
20. No mind ( When you notice yourself counting breaths try to let it go, when you hear yourself talking about an asana or where the next drishti is, or setting up for the next jump through, just let it go. the old Zen technique of not allowing your inner voice to settle on anything).
As I said there are a couple here that I haven't tried, 19 for example but might be interesting, 20 I haven't tried for a year or so. 11 I haven't made the focus of a whole practice. 14 is one I really should do, though might have to swot up first.
As I said I use this as a motivational tool for days when the practice seems a lot to face and I want to simplify it and not turn it into a drama.