Saturday, December 27, 2014

Get to Know the 8 Limbs of Yoga

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called ashtanga, which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they direct attention toward one’s health; and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.

1. Yama
The first limb, yama, deals with one’s ethical standards and sense of integrity, focusing on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves in life. Yamas are universal practices that relate best to what we know as the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The five yamas are:
Ahimsa: nonviolence
Satya: truthfulness
Asteya: nonstealing
Brahmacharya: continence
Aparigraha: noncovetousness
2. Niyama
Niyama, the second limb, has to do with self-discipline and spiritual observances. Regularly attending temple or church services, saying grace before meals, developing your own personal meditation practices, or making a habit of taking contemplative walks alone are all examples of niyamas in practice.
The five niyamas are:
Saucha: cleanliness
Samtosa: contentment
Tapas: heat; spiritual austerities
Svadhyaya: study of the sacred scriptures and of one’s self
Isvara pranidhana: surrender to God
3. Asana
Asanas, the postures practiced in yoga, comprise the third limb. In the yogic view, the body is a temple of spirit, the care of which is an important stage of our spiritual growth. Through the practice of asanas, we develop the habit of discipline and the ability to concentrate, both of which are necessary for meditation.
4. Pranayama
Generally translated as breath control, this fourth stage consists of techniques designed to gain mastery over the respiratory process while recognizing the connection between the breath, the mind, and the emotions. As implied by the literal translation of pranayama, “life force extension,” yogis believe that it not only rejuvenates the body but actually extends life itself. You can practice pranayama as an isolated technique (i.e., simply sitting and performing a number of breathing exercises), or integrate it into your daily hatha yoga routine.
These first four stages of Patanjali’s ashtanga yoga concentrate on refining our personalities, gaining mastery over the body, and developing an energetic awareness of ourselves, all of which prepares us for the second half of this journey, which deals with the senses, the mind, and attaining a higher state of consciousness.
5. Pratyahara
Pratyahara, the fifth limb, means withdrawal or sensory transcendence. It is during this stage that we make the conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli. Keenly aware of, yet cultivating a detachment from, our senses, we direct our attention internally. The practice of pratyahara provides us with an opportunity to step back and take a look at ourselves. This withdrawal allows us to objectively observe our cravings: habits that are perhaps detrimental to our health and which likely interfere with our inner growth.
6. Dharana
As each stage prepares us for the next, the practice of pratyahara creates the setting for dharana, or concentration. Having relieved ourselves of outside distractions, we can now deal with the distractions of the mind itself. No easy task! In the practice of concentration, which precedes meditation, we learn how to slow down the thinking process by concentrating on a single mental object: a specific energetic center in the body, an image of a deity, or the silent repetition of a sound. We, of course, have already begun to develop our powers of concentration in the previous three stages of posture, breath control, and withdrawal of the senses. In asana and pranayama, although we pay attention to our actions, our attention travels. Our focus constantly shifts as we fine-tune the many nuances of any particular posture or breathing technique. In pratyahara we become self-observant; now, in dharana, we focus our attention on a single point. Extended periods of concentration naturally lead to meditation.
7. Dhyana
Meditation or contemplation, the seventh stage of ashtanga, is the uninterrupted flow of concentration. Although concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana) may appear to be one and the same, a fine line of distinction exists between these two stages. Where dharana practices one-pointed attention, dhyana is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without focus. At this stage, the mind has been quieted, and in the stillness it produces few or no thoughts at all. The strength and stamina it takes to reach this state of stillness is quite impressive. But don’t give up. While this may seem a difficult if not impossible task, remember that yoga is a process. Even though we may not attain the “picture perfect” pose, or the ideal state of consciousness, we benefit at every stage of our progress.
8. Samadhi
Patanjali describes this eighth and final stage of ashtanga, samadhi, as a state of ecstasy. At this stage, the meditator merges with his or her point of focus and transcends the Self altogether. The meditator comes to realize a profound connection to the Divine, an interconnectedness with all living things. With this realization comes the “peace that passeth all understanding”; the experience of bliss and being at one with the Universe. On the surface, this may seem to be a rather lofty, “holier than thou” kind of goal. However, if we pause to examine what we really want to get out of life, would not joy, fulfillment, and freedom somehow find their way onto our list of hopes, wishes, and desires? What Patanjali has described as the completion of the yogic path is what, deep down, all human beings aspire to: peace. We also might give some thought to the fact that this ultimate stage of yoga—enlightenment—can neither be bought nor possessed. It can only be experienced, the price of which is the continual devotion of the aspirant.
SOURCE : yogajournal.Com

Mind-Mapping Meditation to Identify Shraddha + Dharma

4-Step Meditation to Identify Your Dharma

1. Ask yourself 3 questions.

Meditate on the following three questions:
  1. What are my core beliefs?
  2. What am I most passionate about?
  3. What are my most valued virtues?

2. Take notes.

As you meditate, make a list of the feeling states that come to you, as well as the answers. This list can be linear or more of a circular mind map. How you write it doesn’t matter.

3. Assess your answers.

Once you feel complete, observe the list for a theme and answer the final question: When, where, and how often am I in the greatest alignment with my answers?

4. Write your “dharma statement.”

Combine your answers to formulate a dharma statement. Similar to a mission statement, your dharma statement is a filter through which you can pass situations of conflict. If it flows through the filter then, odds are, it is in alignment with your shraddha and is part of your dharma. If not, then maybe it is time to recalibrate and navigate in a different direction.

My Dharma Statement

I’ll tell you about my own dharma statement as an example. When I was 18 I got a tattoo on my ankle. I don’t know whether it was luck or wisdom that led me to choose a symbol that has more meaning to me than I even knew at the time. I very easily could have gotten a dolphin or cartoon character, but I chose an I Ching symbol, which stands for the process of desire, perseverance, and fulfillment. I have a more detailed dharma statement, but this tattoo serves as my reminder to stay on the path, the path that I knew was before me even as a naive 18-year-old philosophy student.
Here are my values and virtues from my meditations:
Truth, Compassion, Reverence, Commitment, Considerate, Ethical, Generous, Service, Respectful, Humility, Resilience, Perseverance, Mindful, Integrity, Loyal, Purposeful, Empathy, Faith
And here is my dharma statement, reflecting them:
I strive to mindfully live in alignment with my authentic self and to risk discomfort if it serves my personal evolution.
In dealings with others, I will act with integrity and goodwill. I will be graceful, fair, conscious and truthful.
I will tenaciously continue to develop my skills and use them with humble confidence to raise the collective consciousness toward healing, fortifying, and integrating body, mind, and spirit.
I will live what I love.
SOURCE : www.yogajournal.Com

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cleansing Yoga for Fall

YogaGlo Fall is a good time to start a new and focus the mind and body. Summer at the end of day and form new habits and routines to come, so it's the perfect time to wear off and start a new account and start over. That we release, recovery from illness, begins a new chapter in our lives, to begin a new season or a new relationship, cleanliness is an important part of honoring what came before and prepare for what is coming. Presented this week, classes that will give your body and mind are a good rinse inside and outside.Yoga cleaning for fall cleaning your body, your mind with balance Kia Miller: This class focuses on cleansing your body balance and their negative mental tendencies. A Kriya activated to move the subjects of their tissue, followed by a short meditation, which actively helps balance your energy. Make this class when you feel down in negativity from your mind. You a slave to the mind not to be. Choose the thoughts that you want and other free hug!
Cleaning and rinsing profound practice with Noah Maze: This series of twists and investments with low water and cleaning at each level fighter. This sequence has been carefully prepared turn and repent, and familiar to deepen poses of the family, and the introduction of a few. Yoga makes us inside, the source of wisdom, that we live and live this wisdom to the fullest. The energy of the internal organs with little Tias Tias lead a deeply caring nature lights to activate the internal organs. If the organs are functioning optimally, it is radiant with health, vitality and sustainable energy to the whole body. Through a sequence of still deep penetrating slowly Tias leads compression practice, squeezing and purify the blood (and prana) through the abdominal organs. This class strikes deep ways to give life, creativity and joy for the body twists.
Support needed: A strengthened, a belt, a blanket and a block. Releasing, healing and cleansing Steven Espinosa: Yoga free help "fight or flight" mode of organization (sympathetic) to "relaxation response" (parasympathetic) allows the physical and emotional cleansing and care for another reason. opening of slow but steady warming, including Surya Namaskar (sun salutation). Leading a brisk walk Pose series combines lateral extension Two Guerrero, Guerrero and inverse triangle set angle. It also contains margins Uttkatasana (Chair), to avoid discomfort in the knee. Bakasana Next (Raven), Pigeon Hip Opener and a number of seats to land and calming lower body. concludes with back flips, twist and short Savasana. eliminate toxins, cleanse the body and mind with Tiffany Cruikshank. A stream of short detox to remove toxins and purify the body and mind, we will use the breath and movement to pump blood through the abdominal organs as a refresher throughout the body. This class uses the work of breathing and cardiovascular circulation circuit to increase the liver and digestive organs, so move stagnation and improve detoxification. If you use a block, strap and blanket, but otherwise no change. A good detox used alone or in combination with diet modification to help you give your body a fresh start. Materials: block, strap and cleaning practices nervous optional coverage Jodi Blumstein: The second series of Ashtanga Yoga is like Nodi Shodona - or the practice of cleaning the nerve, and usually consists of a sequence Despite asanas enough pace fast. Here Jodi has created a very accessible level 1 practice that anyone can do to experience the sensations and the impact of nodes Shodona in 30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

FIVE Secrets For Weight Loss

1.The World Is Not Enough : It's a new world awaits you outside your yoga studio. Give your yoga practices such as incentives or rewards. The real test lies in the activity on a daily basis and what you eat. For this system of mind is a must. Watch your diet and try to cut carbs after sunset. The light goes on the belly can help you wake up because you do not contain carbs in the last meal you stopped actually treat carbohydrates converted to fat when the body is at rest or sleep.

2.Do not to lose hope, lose weight : Do not forget, however, that the layers of fat around the abdomen, added in recent years. We tend to lose hope and easily break the pattern. The important thing here is to believe in practice and keep practicing. Yoga reduces weight, over a period of time and not immediately. Our minds are quick results conditioning these days, but we tend to forget that there is no alternative to the sweat. With a friend to practice religious and vice versa to promote partners. This will improve your yoga workout session and more fun.

3.Imagine your body and your bank account : The no. The intake of calories in a day against no. the calories you burn in a day gives you the down payment for the day. Try not to fill this gap by reducing food intake and increased. Calories burned. You must be at least Nr. Calories in a day of his life to maintain, so it is not advised to go on a strict diet. Most diets are fads, and you tend to gain weight when they are his. Therefore compensated for burning calories is the way to go. With meals to reduce the time on the body called Pseudo hunger. It should also be breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a beggar. We tend to the adage that invest a large non-represented. of unused calories for the day.

4.Surprise your body : The different yoga poses. Have, for example, when finished trikonasana for ABS, try to place the child. Work or engage muscles from different angles is guaranteed inch loss. Inch loss can not be a substitute for weight loss, but will help you get the perfect picture image we want to achieve. Learn new yoga postures to work the same muscle group. Yoga has to offer a variety of poses can help you add variety to your workout.

5.Beat the Boredom : With it happens. Often tend to get bored with our yoga practice. Think this does not work, or if you need a break. Talk to your hard drive sessions and stretch your training for a longer period. This will help to break the pattern or conditioning of the mind. Enjoy this weekend. Due to the addition of cardio before yoga Once the body has adapted their practices Yoga, weight reduction can reach a plateau. This extra-long sessions can help to break this plateau. These secrets are well known facts, but they tend to condition the mind to our liking and press face to know what is best for our bodies. Listen to your body plays an important role not on board with work outs excessive or strict diets, balanced body, mind and focus go very far.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Some Important Yoga Tips for Beginners

1. Where ever you decide to practice:
whether it's in a YMCA, a city Gym, a Yoga Studio or a  faction School night class, Begin with a starter or Gentle class. There are many  incompatible format of Yoga in The United States today, and some can be quite  strong in  power, and fast moving. You may already be an athlete, you may already be in  structure, but when it comes to Yoga, Form is everything, and teaching the most effective alignment within the poses is major. Many Studios  discuss their classes as "All Levels." This means anyone is welcome. But learning the poses in a newcomer level class first will help you feel most at ease, when attending an "All Level" class. Learning position when static and learning them on the fly are dissimilar animals. think of too, even when you are a seasoned yogi, "regularly keep a learner's Mind." It may look just like be elastic and bending, but you'll find it's so much more! 10 or 15 years in, you may static find your learning something new: about the poses and about YOU.

2.The Sticky Mat:
Before you buy a mat, try a few classes to make sure you love yoga. Most studios and gyms have mats for your to manipulation. There are many different variation and price points, ask an trainer for their opinion on mats to guide you in the right direction.
Mats can range anywhere from $10 to $80. Some are extremely thin and some especially thick. There are mats that have lines to help you stay aligned throughout your practice. Other mats are make for hot yoga instead of room temperature. Again, speak to an trainer or go online and read reviews about yoga mats to determine what's right for you.

3. Know that although classes may be labeled:
"Power" "Bikram" "Vinyasa" "Classical" "Iyengar" "Kripalu" or "Forrest" ( to name only a few) they are all branches off the same Tree, whose roots are "Hatha." These styles can be wildly different. As you journey in, I'd suggest inspect many. They all have something valuable to offer. Fina a Hatha or Classical class, and then go from there. That way you'll always remember your roots.

4.Yoga is a Mind and Body Practice:
A quieting of the mind, by linking the breath to the pose in awareness is one of the most important benefits it will proposal you. And it will proposal it to you for the life of your practice, which has the prospective to be your whole matter what level you're at, or how long you can hold a handstand, breathing will farther you along in your practice.'pretzel' you can twist yourself into or how long you can hold a handstand, If you are breathing when focusing your mind on a pose-- any pose, and you remember to keep a beginner's mind, you are an accomplished. That's all there really is to it!

5.Child's Pose:
The most important pose of all. Child's pose is a resting pose. I always begin my practice accompanied by it and I go to it through out my practice. Most instructors will counsel you, that if at anytime during the practice you need to rest, or it gets too extreme, "Go to Child's attitude." It is a attitude, also of humility, and it's a attitude of kindness. It's a pose which allows your body to incorporate the work you've done advance to it, and it's a attitude which stimulates the third eye, the eye of inner knowing, the eye of "this is my own unique practice, and I will glory my body." But we'll save the third eye for another article.

6. Last but not least:
If you take a class in a studio with a teacher whose style isn't your cup of Chai, then try another trainer or class or studio altogether. You will not be able to focus on yourself if you are frustrated with the instructor or style. Find a class that you feel comfortable in to enjoy your practice.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

4 Things Yoga Teachers Should Stop Saying

The foundation that I have built my teacher training company on is the belief that the most effective yoga teachers wholeheartedly work toward basing all of their instructions on a clear understanding of the philosophy that underlies asana practice. In a nutshell, we use the body as a tool to concentrate the mind so we can see and identify with the stillness that underlies the chatter. According to Patanjali, this works best when done while being observant of the yamas and niyamas, the 10-part set of guidelines that begins with the intent to cause no harm (ahimsa) and ends with the willingness to work hard (tapas), study what’s happening (svadhyaya) and recognize that we are doing all of this physical stuff to get more aware of the non-physical (isvarapranidhana).
My fascination with teaching and yoga has kept me keenly aware of what I hear teachers of all experience levels say when they teach classes. The way that we say things matter. When you are teaching with words, the words must be chosen carefully or you may steer your students away from their best practice. As my teacher and mentor, Maty Ezraty said in my own teacher training, “Assume that all yoga teachers have the best intentions”. In observing teachers, I have heard a million amazingly helpful and powerful instructions that surely benefit the practitioners who follow them. But I have also heard a short list of cringe-worthy instructions, the discussion of which inevitably weaves its way into all of the teacher training I lead. Here are four of them:
1. “Feel the stretch” … (or feel almost anything else).
Have you ever heard a teacher say that in a certain pose we are stretching some part or that we are having some particular experience? For example, in a forward bend one might say that we’ll feel a hamstring stretch or that in a hip opener, we might feel emotional or that in a backbend we might feel less depressed. While these sensations may very well be likely in many practitioners, they are not sure things.
If we’re trying to teach people to be present, and I think we all are, we have to teach them to observe the present on their own. Let them see what they feel, not what you feel or what you think they should feel. Telling a student what they are feeling defeats much of the purpose of yoga practice. I was somehow very fortunate in finding my most important teachers in that they never told me what was happening inside of me. Instead, they taught me how to practice and left the observation, the svadhyaya, up to me.
What if a student doesn’t feel what you are saying they feel or should feel? Doing an asana guided by a desire for a particular sensation might lead to injurious or aggressive practice. Or, if a student doesn’t feel what you are saying they should feel, they might think that they are doing it wrong. Or they might just think you don’t know what you are talking about. And if you are telling other people what they feel, it is probable that you actually don’t know what you are talking about, since you are not them. You can avoid all these pitfalls by focusing on telling them how to practice well and by trusting that the good practice you are teaching them will show them the rest of what they have to learn.
2. When the arms are overhead: “Pull your shoulders down"
When we take our arms overhead alongside the ears (called shoulder flexion or abduction depending on how you get there), the entire shoulder-blade rotates like a spinning slice of pizza. Imagine two slices of pizza on your upper back with the pointy ends down and the crusts at the top. At the outer top corner of the slice is the shoulder joint, a very shallow little crater into which a small part of the humerus (arm bone) fits. As the arms lift, the arm bones and the scapulae (the pizza slices) move in sync with each other. This paired movement is called glenohumeral rhythm. We can’t really move our arms very much at all without having the shoulder-blades move also. It’s the way things naturally happen and it’s a good thing because it moves the shoulder joint through an arced path that promotes stability. The way the pizza slices move when we take the arms overhead is that the inner edges near the spine move away from the head, the pointy ends at the bottom move far outward around the side ribs under the armpits and the outer upper corner, the shoulder joint itself, moves up …. way way up. When we pull the shoulders away from the ears while moving the arms overhead, we aren’t letting that rotation of the shoulder blade happen and it leads to injury.
Here is why: The shoulder joint is highly mobile and therefore prone to injurious instability. There are no ligaments in the shoulder joint that we can rely on for stability during movement. Therefore we must rely on a set of four small muscles that together make up the rotator cuff. Connecting parts of the shoulder blade with parts of the arm bone, their main purpose is to work together to prevent dislocation when the shoulder joint is moving. They pull in different directions at the same like the supporting cables of a circus tent’s central pole, thereby keeping the arm bone and the shoulder blade from moving too far away from each other. When we pull the shoulders away from the ears when taking the arms overhead, we are putting the joint into a position where these muscles can’t stabilize it. Because we pull the shoulders down with muscles much larger and stronger than those of the rotator cuff, the little guys don’t stand a chance and the joint is put into injurious instability.
This gets particularly dicey when we have the arms overhead in a weight-bearing position. Think Downward Dog, Upward Bow and Handstand. In the flow-style of yoga that is so popular today, with its emphasis on repeating many of these poses, the shoulder seems to have replaced the knee as the most commonly injured body part. I think this is happening because so many students think they should always be pulling their shoulders away from their ears. When you force the shoulder blade away from its natural position of rotation into this position of being pulled down the back, there is little support for joint stability.
Picture the pizza slices again, but this time in a handstand. Now the crusts are nearer the floor and the points are pointing up to the ceiling. When we allow the natural rotation of the blades to happen (about 75 degrees when in a handstand), the shoulder joint, the outer corner of the pizza slice, has arced around so that it is actually under the torso, which means that the arm bone is supporting the shoulder blade and the weight of the body well because the arms are under the blades. The arm supports the body’s weight well because it is under the shoulder joint and the arm bone stays seated in the socket.
When we pull the shoulders away from the ears we disallow the rotation of the blade to happen. When we deny the rotation of the shoulder blade, we are keeping the joint held at the side of the body- the arm bone is next to the body in this case. Therefore it can’t support weight and it is prone to dislocation. Imagine building a house. You’d want the supporting beams to be under the house, not next to it. If we put the beams for a house next to the house, the house falls down. When we need the arm to support weight while overhead, but we force the arm to stay next to the body, we dislocate the shoulder. Even tiny and quick dislocations lead to painful injury in the types of practice we do because we repeat the same movements so often. So, let the shoulder blades be free to move as is their birthright! Lift the shoulders!
While it’s true that many beginning students do take their shoulders way too far up along the head when they lift the arms, we need to learn to tell them to back off in a more sophisticated way than simply telling them to pull them down. One of the things that my teacher, Chuck Miller, used to always say was that we should give instructions that will always be true because the student may remember it forever. I find that people latch onto this instruction of pulling the shoulders down because it may have been the first instruction they got in a yoga class that they could actually do. While I definitely recommend against teaching each of your students the sophisticated (and beautiful) pattern of the shoulder joint’s movement in a yoga asana class, you, as a teacher, must know it very well before you tell people to do any version of standing on their hands. Which takes us back to the idea that underlying all of a yoga teachers’ instructions, no matter how simple, is a broad and detailed understanding of what exactly it is we are asking them to do.
3. “Soften your front ribs.”
This goes with the last one a bit. When the arms reach up along the ears, because so many bodies have tight shoulders, the arms pull the spine into an arc, usually in the flexible low back. This is not ideal for a couple reasons. First, if we move a flexible part (in this case it’s the lower back) so that we can create the illusion that a stiff part (the shoulders) is moving, we are avoiding the work and discomfort of positive change (the 3rd niyama: tapas). Further, we’re not being totally honest in our actions (the 2nd yama: satya). But most importantly in this case, by arcing the low back without intelligent support, we’re likely dropping into the lumbar discs and setting up or reinforcing a pattern that leads toward injury … we’re not practicing the first yama: ahimsa or non-injury.
So, with all of that in mind, teachers often say with the very best of intentions to soften the front ribs. There a couple reasons that this isn’t effective. First off, ribs are bones. They are hard and they are hopefully going to remain hard for as long as you live. Asking the student to soften ribs is asking them to do something impossible.
Second, when we instruct to soften here, the result is that the student drops the chest down, closing the space around the heart and lungs. To correct the drop in the low back, we’ve asked the student to drop the chest down to balance it. Much of yoga is about lifting up! And this is no exception. it is a sad sight indeed to see a student who is trying hard to push their chest down! It’s heart breaking!
Instead, let’s get them to keep the chest up! It’s beautiful and healthy to lift there. But let’s also teach to lift the low back. The integrated muscular actions that lengthen the lumbar spine in shoulder extension are way too complicated to be included in a regular asana class. But, the teacher should know how it all works. If you don’t know, find out! One tip: it won’t work to just tell your students to lift the low back. You have to teach them how to do it. And that means you have to know how it happens, which is why I include this in all of my teacher trainings.
4. “If you’re a beginner/advanced/flexible/tight … then do this”.
We often ask students to choose between two or more actions during a class. For example, we will have them choose whether to use a particular prop, whether to straighten the legs, whether to go up into a particular inversion or whether to use a wall. But I rarely hear teachers explain how to choose which action to take. Instead, it’s most common to hear something akin to: “Grab a block if you need to” or “If you’re tight, use a strap” or “Do this if it’s comfortable” or something similar.
For two reasons, I recommend being more clear in explaining how to make a choice when you offer it.
The first is that when we keep it vague, the student simply doesn’t know which one to choose. They might use a prop when they don’t need one or, more likely, not use one when they need one.
Second, and this one relates right back to the essential purpose of yoga practice as I understand it, when we say something like “If you’re a beginner/advanced, do this/that” or “If you’re tight/flexible do this/that”, we are directing the students to make a choice based on what they think about themselves instead of basing it on what is happening in that moment. If yoga is about being present in the now (The first yoga sutra is “Yoga is now.”), then we are directing students AWAY from the yogic path by asking them to rely on possibly outdated notions that they have about themselves.
When I started practicing yoga I was very tight in the hamstrings. So whenever a teacher said “Do this if you’re tight”, I would do that. After a lot of practice, my hamstrings did open up but for a long time after that, I was still telling myself that I was tight because it reinforced the old beliefs I had about myself. Eventually my ignorance of what was (This ignorance, called avidya, is said in yoga to be the root of all suffering), led me to pull my thighbone out of my hip socket- an injury that took several years to heal. My own practice hadn’t taught me to pay attention. Dislocating my hip did.
When we don’t observe what is actually happening in the now, we tend to base decisions on memories of the past or fears about the future … we’re not really learning what yoga feels like. If we can teach our students to base their choices on what is actually happening with concrete and indisputable observations like whether the knee is straight or whether one body part is in line with another, we teach them to be observant (svadhyaya: self-study). And when we teach them to do those things without attaching any value to either available choice, for example if one means your are open and one means you’re tight, we are teaching them to be content with what is (santosha: contentment).
So, whenever you give your students a choice between things, tell them how to choose so that they keep their practice safe, honest and effective. This will keep them practicing for a long time and will show them the way to their own yoga.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara

The origins of yoga are a matter of debate.[53] Suggested origins are the Indus Valley Civilisation (2600-1900 BCE)[54] and pre-Vedic north-eastern India,[55] the Vedic civilisation (1500-500 BCE), and the sramana-movement (starting ca. 500 BCE).[56] According to Gavin Flood, continuities may exist between those various tarditions:[57]

[T]his dichotomization is too simplistic, for continuities can undoubtedly be found between renunciation and vedic Brahmanism, while elements from non-Brahmanical, Sramana traditions also played an important part in the formation of the renunciate ideal.[57][note 4]

Pre-philosophical speculations of yoga begin to emerge in the texts of c. 500–200 BCE. Between 200 BCE–500 CE philosophical schools of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were taking form and a coherent philosophical system of yoga began to emerge.[59] The Middle Ages saw the development of many satellite traditions of yoga. Yoga came to the attention of an educated western public in the mid 19th century along with other topics of Indian philosophy.

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