READY FOR THE COMPLETE YOGIC EXPERIENCE?
By treating the body, mind and spirit, we treat the entire being so that the possibility to reach the highest level of health may become more accessible.
The word "vinyasa" can be translated as "arranging something in a special way". Like yoga poses, students coordinate movement and breath while flowing from one pose to the next. Vinyasa is also the term used to describe specific sequences commonly used during a vinyasa class. Like the movement from Chaturanga, Up Dog, Down dog, etc…
Vinyasa means breathing and movement of the principle of breath. For each movement, there is one breath. For example, in Surya Namskar vinyasas there are nine. The first is the inspiration for the first vinyasa while raising your arms above your head, and putting your hands together, the second vinyasa while exhaling and leaning forward, placing your hands next to your feet , etc. In this way all asanas are assigned a number of vinyasas.
The following aspects are specified by Pattabhi Jois defined as the main components of Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient system of yoga that was taught by Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta. This text was sent to Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the early 1900's by his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari, and was then sent to Pattabhi Jois during the duration of his studies with Krishnamacharya, beginning in 1927.
The purpose of vinyasa is cleaning house. Breathing and moving together while performing asanas makes the blood hot, or as Pattabhi Jois says, "boil the blood." Thick blood is dirty and causes disease in the body. The heat created from yoga cleans the blood and it is thin, so it can flow more freely.
The combination of movement and breathing asanas makes the blood circulate freely in all joints, and removes the pain of the body. When there is a lack of circulation, pain occurs. The heated blood also moves through all the internal organs removing impurities and disease, which are made out of the body through sweat that occurs during practice.
Sweat is produced by the vinyasa, because it is only through sweat that disease leaves the body and purification occurs. In the same way that gold is melted in a pot to remove its impurities, by virtue of dirt to the surface as the tip of gold, and dirt is then removed, the same way yoga boiled the blood traces on the surface all our toxins, which are eliminated through sweat. If the method of vinyasa is followed, the body becomes healthy and strong, and pure as gold.
Once the body is purified, it is possible to purify the nervous system and sense organs. These first steps are difficult and require many years of practice. The sense organs are always looking from the outside, and the body is always subject to laziness. However, the practice of the determination and diligence, they can be controlled. Once this is accomplished, mind control is set up automatically. Vinyasa creates the foundation for that to happen.
Most forms of yoga fall under the umbrella term of "Hatha" yoga. In sanskrit the word literally means sun="ha" and moon "tha" which is representative of balance. The full word simply refers to the physical practice of yoga postures to create balance. Hatha is designed to align and calm the body mind and spirit in preparation for meditation.
Hatha yoga is not an exercise. By using certain knowledge of body mechanics and the study of postures and asanas, Hatha guides yogis toward using their energy in specific directions to create a more natural and preferable state for the body and mind. Through the consciousness and exercise of Hatha practice yogis can elevate their consciousness and alleviate ailments of the body and mind.
Pranayama is the practice and control of one's life-currents through controlled breathing and meditation. This process of connecting to ones prana "breath" is the connection to one's life force and considered one of the most important methods for achieving balance in life. Through various exercises, pranayama encourages the yogi to the connection to our cosmic life. Breathing is the physical manifestation of prana and is the vital force of our life. While prana is subtle, its influence is vast and can determine large aspects of our lives. As we learn to master the pranayama we gain control over our experience in this life.
Meditation is the means in which we consciously transform our mind in order to gain concentration, clarity, and positive emotional insight while calming our experiences. The techniques and practices surrounding meditation are vast but the goal is mostly the same. Meditation provides an ability for a person to cultivate a new was of being as it nourishes patience, control, a focussed mind and deep insight into ourselves. Experiences within meditation can produce transformative effects on a person and deepen the understanding of life. Some forms of meditation include dancing meditation, loving kindness meditation, walking meditation and chakra meditation but the possibilities for developing skills for success are endless.
Energy lock, Bandha
Bandha means to lock, close-off, to stop. When a person uses Bandha technique, they block off the energy flow to a specific area in order to cause blood flow to that area after when pressure is applied. When the pressure is released, fresh blood flows to this area and causes and immediate healing effect. This technique helps to flush old dead cells, strengthen organs, all while rejuvenating and circulating our systems energy flows. The brain centres and chakras benefit from this practice while energy channel release their blockage and allow improved exchange of flow throughout the body. This helps to alleviate mental restlessness and returns the inner harmony and balance that our body requires.
Mudra in sanskrit is translated as a gesture or an attitude. Mudras a distinct practice under the Aruvedic principles where the participant simply shapes their hands or other body parts or the entire body in a specific way in order to stimulate certain organs and internal system. Yoga mudras are considered a healing modality which in combination with breathing exercises help to enliven the flow of prana through our nervous system. Mudras provide subtle connection in distinct patterns through the brain and influence unconscious reflexes throughout our body. By incorporating this practice, one can change and enhance the yoga experience.
Being the curious beings that we are, many philosophies of yoga have developed over the years just as its popularity has also soared. Our desire to know and understand the world has encouraged thinkers to seek knowledge in a more in depth level surrounding the practice, history, and benefits of yoga. The work of such seekers, has enabled us insight into the meaning of life, ethics, illusions, and reality that can all be better understood by using yoga in our daily lives.
Studies informal and scholarly have attempted to enlighten the world on the yogic experience as the world embraces the life of yoga. As we seek to answer questions that arise in our daily lives, we can interpret the teachings and ideas around the importance of yogic life to guide us toward the paths we choose in an informed manner. The study of various philosophies under the yoga subtext help us to examine perspectives of a vast experience outside of our own which enables us to open our own belief system towards understand those outside of us.
Early modern psychology was defined as the study of the soul or mind. Yoga psychology provides for us a synthesis of both yoga and psychology and helps provide for us a clearer understanding of consciousness and human behaviour. Yogic concepts, principles and techniques play a strong role in understand psychology in the world today as we reexamine what it means to be a human and the relevance our lives place within these concepts of a deeper understanding. Ancient literature of yoga has been used in a vast array of psychological studies so much that it often surpasses the abilities of modern psychology to progress in our understanding of the world.
Mantra Chanting and Kirtan
Kirtan is defined by man as the praising of that which is exalted, the exalted being the divine. In sanskrit kirtan has a root meaning "to cut through" or in practice kirtan is cutting through the idea of separation, connecting to our hearts and the moment through sound. Kirtan involves the singing and praising the divine. The chants involved are expressed through specific mantras that have a particular focus of energy. The mantras often contain names of gods and goddesses of the Vedic times that is central to religions like Hinduism and Sikhism. Kirtans typically involve musicians playing instruments like the harmonium or tablas while chanting a mantra as the audience participates in a call and response action. Although kirtans can be practiced in small groups or giant auditoriums with thousands of participants, the uniting quality of kirtan brings together the room as a single voice of unity. Some people find kirtans to be a very joyous or emotionally healing experience.
Mantras have a literal meaning of "to guide and protect the mind" or from a similar approach we can say mantras are used to "to guide the consciousness away from excessive thoughts. We use mantras to help guide your awareness to a place that is quiet and still. To properly receive the benefits mantas offer is by practicing the repetition of the words and practice of using mantras. Although mantras are often sanskrit words or names of gods and goddesses taken from Vedic life, mantras can be quite personal. Used to bring awareness and rest the mind, mantras can be created for use in ones life to be used during certain practices such as before meals, upon waking, or before sleep etc.
The act of walking with a very directed and focussed manner with focus on the actual act of walking. It is a method we can use to increase our mindfulness as we participate in a natural part of life. It is important to recognise that this meditation is not about contemplation during walking but rather about the act of walking itself. It is believed that this process helps us to create mindfulness and staying present and grounded. It helps us to appreciate and enjoy having a body and can be very pleasurable especially when used between sitting meditations.
The practice of silence is a fast from speaking. This technique is used to create a deeper understanding of meditation. It is extremely important to practice the absence of speech in order to develop self-knowledge and live in harmony from within oneself. It is thought that silence helps clear the mind and deflect distractions so that one can be more attentive and aware.
One of the world's oldest and holistic healing system is called Aryuveda. It was created in India thousands of years ago and is based on the approach of treating and assessing the mind, body, and spirit. Aryuveda encourages a delicate balance in the mindy body and spirit in order to live a harmonious and healthy life. The methods of treatment promote health within a person rather than to fight against a disease. Specific health problems can be treated with Aryuvedic methods but for the most part it is considered a way of life. Practicioners seek to create harmony with a person to the universe. Some practices of Aryuveda includes massage, oil treatments, and assessment and treatments of the specific Doshas.
Reiki is the "laying on of hands" with use of the "life force energy". It is a Japanese technique which allows a flow of energy from practitioner to patient in order to increase ones "life force energy". When a person is long on the energy they are more susceptible to illness and stress while the opposite of feeling happy and healthy occur when our energy is high. When receiving treatment, one can feel a glowing radians flowing through the body. It can be used for treatments of the body, emotions, mind and sprite as it relaxes the mind and body and in turn creates a feeling of peace, security and wellbeing.
Yoga is widely accepted a healthy exercise in our world today. But used a therapy, Yoga can prove to be extremely beneficial. Psychotherapy claims the possibility of reaching a greater self-knowledge which enables us to change that which is considered dysfunctional. Yoga seems to do just that in its practice of mind body connection. It can help develop a more enhanced physical and emotional state within a person and can prevent ailments or aid in recovery. Yoga therapy believes that first step toward healing is by moving the vital forces in the system. Energy blocks in the body are considered the hinderance in healing and so by using yoga to promote the flow of "prana" or our vital force, yoga combats these blockages and helps restore health.
Massage, stretching, breathing techniques and alterations in circuler patterns can help specific muscles, joints and organs which are part of the vital functions of our body. Yoga therapy also considers the balance or focus of disfunction within the chakra system as well.
Anatomy specific to yoga can be difficult to understand without some knowledge of what yoga is and what yoga aims to accomplish. Yoga anatomy examines the body structures that are used during specific yoga actions and why they are important to examine. By gaining comprehension of anatomy through yoga practices, students deepen their understanding of the manner in which the body functions in its daily movement and how to bring homeostasis back to the body through yoga therapy.
As an example, most people have a specific pose, sequence, or pose that is difficult or challenging during their yoga practice. When we study the structure and functioning of parts of the body used during these specific exercises we can examine the finite areas that disrupt our ability to accomplish our goals during practice. A person may struggle to achieve a full lotus position but after examination of their specific anatomy, we may discover that they must first create hip flexibility in order fully move their legs into position. The same could be discovered with someone attempting to do down dog but struggling with tight shoulder girdles…etc.
While students learn about their own personal yoga practice, they will also learn the skills needed to share yoga with students. By learning concepts and techniques involved with teaching yoga to others, students will gain a better understanding of what it means to live a yogic life and spread the benefits of yoga to others. Our yoga classroom will be the setting for students to hold their own instructional sessions during their course.
It is important to remember why we teach yoga. As a student in our school, it is very important that we first support our personal practice of yoga and its lifestyle so that we may live what we teach. As we grown closer to our own practice, our words and techniques associated with instruction become a truth that we are sharing with others. Students will understand the importance of adapting teaching strategies to their students based on student skill level and classroom dynamics. Basic preparation before teaching and skills associated with the flow and rhythm of the moment are very useful but require practice and experience.
While it is true that teachers are born and not made, proper knowledge of teaching skills and methodology help to support the role of the trained teacher so that lessons are understood effectively. We believe strongly in the idea that yoga teachers have a a very important and delicate role towards their students which is extremely unique to that of teachers in standard exercise classes and because of this our teaching methodology explore a the intricate skills required for sharing the yoga experience.
A great and leader in the research and education of yoga once said "A teacher should have a motherly love for his students. One cannot win over students either through creating a personal awe and fear or through creating and aura of one's knowledge and scholarly panache. Students should be treated with affection and be encouraged. Give some more time to students even after the usual school hours. They should see to it the subject matter being taught is thoroughly understood by each student."
© 2016. Vinyasa Yoga Academy