Yoga asana (movement) is much more than exercise. If practiced correctly it’s a moving meditation or a relaxation in action. Mindful, intelligent and structured movement is what separates asana from an exercise routine.
An understanding of the 5th limb of yoga “pratyahara” meaning ‘withdrawal of the senses’ is crucial in developing a yoga practice. Pratyahara forms a link between external and internal focus which moves the practitioner to higher states of concentration and meditation.
A technique used to develop focus and concentration is drishti or gaze point (conscious seeing), the drishti established reflects the alignment of the pose, there’s 9 drishti’s relating to various parts of the body, candles and mandala’s can also be used. If your eyes are darting around the room while your practicing your scattering your energy. Establishing drishti allows your mind to focus on a single point without distraction from other external stimulus. Where ever you focus your gaze (drishti) your energy (concentration) will naturally be directed to that place.
I’ve had a few interesting drishti fails in my classes. One person established a drishti on a billboard advertising pizza outside the studio, I realized her mind had definitely drifted from practice when she sat on her mat and ordered a pizza mid class. Another person thought that I was jealous of her because she felt her asana practice was superior to mine. It may well have been true but making that comment is ego driven and indicates a lack of understanding of the body-mind connection.
As you move through the various poses the bio-feedback from your body allows you to discover your inner world. Your trying to make your body comfortable in what you might be finding to be an uncomfortable position. Your assessing whether you can take yourself deeper or do you need to practice a modified version of the pose, do you need to come out of the pose completely, what sensations are you experiencing, where can you strengthen or relax your body, where can you direct your breath, have you established a gaze point.
The aim of asana practice is the body-mind connection, being present, being now! You can’t change the past it’s happened, you can’t live in the future, it hasn’t happened. What you have is the present moment. Yoga offers all the tools to live in the “now” particularly if you take your moving practices beyond the physical
The Yama’s and Niyama’s offer essential blueprints for any practitioner of yoga, quite simply they outline yoga’s moral and ethical codes for living. Patanjali codified this series of ethics very succinctly in his classic treatise ‘The Yoga Sutra’. Quite simply Yama’s are things you shouldn’t do (restraints) and Niyama’s are things you should do (observations)
The Yama’s comprise Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truth), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (chastity, marital fidelity or sexual restraint) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)
The 4th Yama (brahmacharya) is quite pertinent at the moment considering revelations of sexual misconduct by some high profile men, the world of yoga hasn’t been spared. Photos of Pattabhi Jois indecently assaulting students under the guise of “alignment adjustment” have been well documented, the deeds of Bikram Choudhury are sickening.
The concept of brahmacharya is very wide. It forms part of the ashrama or age based stages of human life, a component of this stage is celibacy. Another connotation of brahmacharya is the principle of celibacy when unmarried and fidelity when married in conjunction with leading an honourable and simple life.
All very virtuous concepts and certainly not unreasonable behaviours. Undoubtedly when the principles of brahmacharya are not adhered to every other yama is breached. How can you possibly be considered a truthful and non-violent person if you’re not practising brahmacharya or being unfaithful in a relationship
Who sets the standards? Who judges? Society sets certain guidelines of acceptable behaviour but does the standard of society match the individual. Does karma play a role, it certainly has a balancing affect. Is self-assessment an adequate bench mark to determine yama compliance, probably not particularly if you don’t have a discerning mind. Individual thoughts and paradigms are developed over years of nature and nurture experiences. The mind’s “inner” critic with it’s cycle of negative and soul destroying dialogue can take people into a spiral of depressive thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. An over inflated ego can lead to feelings of superiority and a sense of entitlement, as the saying goes “Do what I say not what I do”. A person who berates and accuses the loudest and most often is usually doing the exact thing their accusing others of doing. Self assessment can be flawed due into individual belief systems.
The concepts of YAMA and NIYAMA will be just one topic of study offered in our upcoming yoga teacher training.
For more information and to receive a free information brochure click on to the link below.
Contemplating how to answer the question, “Am I good at Yoga?” A strange and ego driven question which is nearly impossible to answer.
Attending a yoga studio a few times a week and practicing an asana class doesn’t constitute “yoga”. The philosophy of yoga goes well beyond the physical aspects which are emphasised in the west.
Even the question “Am I good at yoga asana?” isn’t easy to answer. A person may have perfect alignment in a pose but the teacher has no idea what level of mindfulness has been established. Your posture, gaze and breath are indicators but only the practitioner knows their level of mindfulness.
Even asking the question “Am I good” indicates an over inflated ego and yogic deficiency. Don’t over analyse but feel the practices and benefit.
Introducing our NEW teacher!!!
This teacher has an interesting bio, firstly it’s gender specific, doesn’t say much (the job interview was a bit one sided) certainly needs a feed, appears very flexible but seems to lack coordination and balance. Didn’t respond at all to my jokes but that’s normal. Appears very cold, heartless, even organless but has great knowledge of human movement, breath work (interesting because it has no lungs) and mindfulness (interesting because the skull seems empty)
Welcome to the team Bones!
The skeleton is a prop for the anatomy classes in our yoga teaching courses, for more information about teacher training click onto the link below
Unfortunately for us Faye won’t be teaching a regular class at Peninsula Yoga from today. The good news is she may be coming back to make the occasional cameo appearance.
Faye has led some incredible classes at our studio for which I’m very grateful, her presence and teaching style will be sadly missed.
Thanks for your support of Peninsula Yoga Faye, more importantly thank you for your friendship.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BECOMING A YOGA TEACHER AND LIVE ON THE CENTRAL COAST?
Peninsula Yoga is presenting YOGA TEACHER TRAINING starting in May 2018. In partnership with Adore Yoga a 200 hour yoga teacher course is being offered for the first time on the Central Coast @ Woy Woy. Become a qualified yoga teacher in this fully accredited course right here on the Central Coast.
To registered for a free webinar phone 0427 442 230
Peninsula Yoga is presenting Yoga Teacher Training starting in May 2018. In partnership with Adore Yoga a 200 hour yoga teacher training course is being offered for the first time on the central coast @ Woy Woy. Become a fully qualified, recognised and certified yoga teacher right here on the Central Coast.
If you’d like more information check out the following link