Long, slow, complete breaths,,, wow, I was sweating a lot. I let the breath be natural unto me. with the bandhas, how should I be thinking of them or doing them? I think I'm doing it correctly but than again.... want to make sure. ok,,,,, thanks, I'll keep my practice up with all that, which should keep me busy for some time.
The deepest possible breathing is always the best.
Focus on continuous mulabandha, use jalandhara bandha on all forward bends, and when you think you have totally exhaled...squeeze out another pint or 2 of exhaust. The secret to breathing more in is to simply exhale until you are really empty. This dynamic expansion and contraction of the ribcage is the source of the "real stretching". Don't worry about "external tugging."
Also, "yoga is cessation of the fluctions of the mind." Yoga ends when thinking begins.
ok, so the only consciousness, or better yet. awareness, should be the continuous mulabandha, (uddanya than happens naturally?), and counting of the breaths i.e. 5, than move to next asana. listening, watching and being in the breath. thinking about how you're doing, if you're tight, about people, or up coming dinner etc. is the preoccupation of the mind and takes you further away from yoga and realizing and experiencing "you."
is this correct? thanks very much for your suggestions,,,, they are making a huge difference already.
Yes, that's it. Concentration leads to meditation. Yes, uddiyana comes automatically with mulabandha.
Introduce your mind to meditation during the practice. It will love it and want to stay zen all day. Thinking and worrying unnecessarily is a waste of prana. The mind figures it out. Everything is seeking equilibrium.