your body is always changing
The first thing anyone ever mentions when I say the word “yoga” is that you have to be flexible and in good shape to so that stuff. Well, I’m hear to tell you first hand and straight up... you can be as stiff as a board when you start the practice. You may have tension in your body and feel very interesting things as you begin to move your body to these ancient and healing movements... but you may just be surprised at how your body will respond if you give it a chance.
We are always fearful of what we don’t know or understand. And my journey to discovering yoga has been a practice in learning what my body and mind can do in the face of that fear. When I first started in February of 2011, I was a wee bit scared and anxious, but I wanted to find out for myself what this thing was that so many people were doing in the community around me. Now, five months later, I am feeling on top of the world and my body has responded in ways that I had NO IDEA it would.
I decided to jump in with both feet. ...no sense in just dipping a toe in and not getting the full sensation of the class. I joined a yoga class by the recommendation of a friend and discovered that I could, surprisingly, manage most of the poses. Maybe not as deep or as fluid as others around me, but I was doing it. I couldn’t manage a squat to save my life, as my knees were yelling and screaming at me “get the heck out!” But it was enough that the teacher was so positive and affirming in his directions on tipping and tilting our bodies to the rhythm of the meditative music playing softly in the background.
Persistence and a feeling of accomplishment week by week made me continue on to becoming a teacher in the practice of Classic Hatha Yoga and I know share my knowledge of learning with my students... from the floor up. I know how it can be for beginners to embark on a journey where they have never treaded before... but as a meditation coach, Reiki Master and healer... I can honestly say... ask your body to respond and you may get an answer that surprises the most educated doctors and specialists. I can now do a squat without any pain, I can balance on my hands safely and effortlessly and still keep a beautifully calm breath in my body without having the urge to run out of the room screaming for my life.
Yoga is a mediative practice, and whether you do it for physical activity, to lose inches off of your tummy, to tone and sculpt your muscles... it’s purpose in the beginning of existence was meant to allow us to be at ease with ourselves and our bodies. See what yoga can do for you in what ever capacity you wish to try it.... be that hot classes, Flow, Power, Anusara, or the Classic Hatha... you will never know until you try.
"Now get to know your body from the inside out and the outside in. Any age, any body type, any gender can do yoga with grace and ease."
"The practices that I teach are based mostly in Restorative and Yin Yoga styles. Slowing down is one of the hardest challenges in these modern times. While we are promoted to do more – be more – produce more – have more... I find that these slow practices are such an important balance to our busy-filled lifestyles.
...taking moments to pause is a good thing."
yoga draws on connection between our physical – mental – energetic layers
All of our bodies have the ability to bend, move, fold, reach, run, dance, skip... and we often times don’t connect the physical to the energetic sides. Each of our energy centres in our body (Chakras) are connected by energy Channels (Nadis or Meridians) and when we practice moving our body using the movements of yoga we activate these energy centres and build Life Force Energy (Prana). This Prana is similar to Reiki in the sense that without it... life does not exist. We think that by just giving ourselves fuel (food) and walking a little here and there, we can live perfectly healthy... but there is more to it than that.
STRESS... what do you do when you have stress in your life?You eat a bucket of ice cream and crawl into bed. OR you yell and scream and kick things. OR you stew about it and make bad decisions and hurt people’s feelings and generally don’t solve that issue that originally brought the stress into your path.
PRANA... allows you to stay calm, to navigate through various options and outlooks when dealing with the stress. Prana gives us the energy when we should normally feel tired and withdrawn from life. It also sustains us when we go too long without eating a balanced meal, or traveling great distances on less than humanly needed sleep. We cannot exist without energy in the body... food OR Life Force Energy.
YOGA... helps to build Prana in the body, mind and spirit. It is the union between all three that allows us to practice living our lives with grace and ease. If you are feeling stress or pain, you are burning up and using Prana. If you are consciously moving through the flow of yoga with ease and grace and control of your breath... you are building Prana! This is why so many practices of yoga can make you feel drained and tired afterward, and it is not my place to say that one practice is better than another. But think for yourself, judge for yourself... can your body sustain energy without burning or consuming Prana if it is under stress? The old adage of “no pain no gain” is a curse upon the new ideologies upon our existence. Why do we constantly battle ourselves? why do we think that without pain life is not worth living?
Sure you might learn something... “that hurt... I’m not doing that again!” Listen to your body... it is YOUR GUIDE and we all too often take that guide for granted and let others tell us how to feel and take care of ourselves. So, that being said... I’m not telling you what to do... but if you’ve read this far, you’ll probably come to understand that I am a facilitator or information and guidance when someone is interested in learning more... so let my words guide you to ask more questions, try more things and never - never - never NOT do something because someone said so.
...happy bending and staying flexible beyond your hip joints!
Ha – (Ham) – vital life force
Tha – (Tham or Ksham) – mental force
Yoga – union
Hatha (Hatta) Yoga
Therefore the meaning of Hatha Yoga may be interpreted as Yoga through the union of Prana (life force energy) and mind.
Mind and Prana in yogic terminology can be understood as Ida (left side energy channel - feminine, cooling, moon) and Pingala (right side energy channel - masculine, fire, sun) Nadis (energy channels). Their purification and balance results in an awakening which when sustained perfectly for long periods of time leads to an awakening of Ajna Chakra (third eye chakra), which triggers an awakening of Mooladhara Chakra (root chakra). At this time if all conditions are auspicious Sushumna (Kundalini energy, most powerful energy in the body in the formation thought of as a snake) Nadi opens and Kundalini makes her ascent through all the major Chakras illumining them fully, as she passes along inside the Brahma (main life energy channel) Nadi of Sushumna (the spinal cord). This Shakti force conquers the mind at Ajna Chakra.
Copyright © - Satyam Yoga Centre - August 2000
yoga began as a practice for meditation
The Human body is like a vehicle or temple which houses the mind and spirit. The ancient Seers and Rishis of Yoga realized through their expanded awareness, inner vision and intuition which was developed through the awakening of the Kundalini (energy at centred at the root chakra) that the human body contained many interesting mysteries.
Some yogis who were undergoing an inner awakening “ either in their Central Nervous System or the Pranic system, or both” unconsciously developed bodily movements known as Kriyas and assumed classical Yoga postures. Also some even began breathing in peculiar and not previously known ways. Yogic Adepts like Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati and others believe that these Kriyas that are a phenomena are initiated as a result of natural evolution “biological, Psychic, Spiritual” and heralds the last evolutionary step as a homosapien human being.
Ancient Yogis also had a close affinity with nature and the environment around them, including the earth, space, stars and the sun to name just a few. They also started to study animals with great depth, and the subsequent naming of many asanas after animals is a fitting tribute to the ancient Yogis great affinity with nature. This was probably the starting point which was later expanded on through SELF experimentation over centuries and millennia to encompass all of the Classical asanas (yoga postures) and pranayamas (breathing techniques) that we know today.