What is Himalayan Yin Yoga?

Himalayan Yin Yoga is a meditative practice handed down through the Himalayan tradition where we work in a systematic manner with the grosser, external aspects of our being and then move inwards to more subtle practices that lead to meditation. In a Himalayan Yin Yoga class you can expect to be exposed to a quiet nurturing practice with positions to be held between 2 and 5 minutes. In Yin Yoga all shapes or body positions will be seated or lying and well supported to facilitate maximal muscular disengagement in order to more effectively accessing the fascia (deep and superficial), ligaments and tendons.

 

The practice of Yin Yoga is considered to be exercise for your yin (connective) tissue, and has significant regenerative benefits for your body in our active lives. Yin Yoga has its roots in Daoist Yoga and is tied to the Chinese Medicine tradition. For this reason classes are inspired by the Chinese 5 Elements (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood) and their associated meridian lines. The classes are designed to open the targeted meridian lines to encourage more efficient Qi flow throughout the body.

By Markji

What is Ashtanga Yoga?

A beautiful all-encompassing discipline of self-discovery and transformation.

I love yoga full stop. I’ve sat at the feet of many wise and wonderful teachers from different ilk’s of practice. I’ve travelled the world with yoga. Danced and laughed in the dessert, while chanting my heart out. I’ve even had the guts to deliver yoga to women in a high security prison. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think all of that could of evolved from attending a yoga class because stress was getting the better of me. The first ten years was a gentle introduction to understanding my body and keeping stress at bay. Then I stepped into my first Ashtanga Yoga class and anything I thought I knew before that completely evaporated. I felt like I had been turned inside out and pushed to my edge, dripping with sweat, split wide open with splintering glimpses of something deeper. It completely pushed all my buttons and forced me to shred through the outer layers of myself with no promise of a destination, other than the faith that something good was coming.

Dena Kingsberg, one of my teachers describes it as "What begins as physicality, a struggle of bodily limitations, can evolve with an ignited breath and heartfelt intention. With effort, discipline, concentration, the energy shifts and changes the way we experience ourselves and others. It affects our moods, our behaviour, our relationships and our sense of self.”

So let’s talk about the physical practice

Ashtanga yoga is a powerful tool for transformation through gradually dissolving the physical, mental and emotional blocks that limit and restrict our potential. It’s a set series of postures that are woven together using flowing movements to create one sequence. Each connecting move is synchronised with the breath which contributes to the idea that it’s likened to a moving meditation. It is a challenging physical practice, increasing strength, flexibility, endurance, co-ordination and stamina. But, wow, it’s also a very honest way to observe who you are. It is more correctly known as The Ashtanga Vinyasa System, the Vinyasa meaning, breathing synchronised with movement. The sequence itself creates internal heat which is cleansing the body of toxins. creating space for good health and clarity of mind.

Magic in Repetition

One of the distinctions of Ashtanga yoga compared to other forms of yoga is that it’s a set series of postures practiced in the same order each time. This is one of the many gifts of this practice that begins to build a conscious relationship between body, breath and mind. The practice is the same, but what is different is who it is that shows up each day. It is within this traditional parameter that we get a very personal and upfront view of what state of mind we are in during our practice. With repeated practice, day after day, what begins to surface is compassion for whatever it is that keeps arising. Patanjali (the author of the dharshana - The yoga sutras) tells us right from the start that the purpose of yoga is about stilling the fluctuations of the mind. To grasp stillness of the mind, we need to be able to witness it first to understand it. The magic is arriving at a place of pure witnessing with no judgement, just allowing clarity or confusion to surface. There is nothing more sacred than to study yourself with no expectations. Just pure awareness!

How we practice it @ THE INTUITIVE Room

“Unfortunately today Ashtanga Yoga is often misunderstood as a mere physical practice and limited to body-building and beautifying. Additionally it’s linear presentation lends itself to an attitude of conquering one posture after another and a mindset of acquisition and physical performance. But this practice offers so much more than mere posture-grabbing. To be true to its ancient roots it calls to be presented in an intelligent and compassionate way, guiding the student away from ambition and competition to enable him or her to eventually go beyond the body towards the spiritual practices. To achieve this it cannot be allowed to harm the body. Unfortunately much of today’s discussions on yoga are related to the physical problems of yogis, which they have acquired through ambitious practice.” By Gregor Maehle

Ashtanga - the eight limbs

The term Astanga yoga is from the second chapter of the yoga dharshana (yoga sutras) complied by Patanjali a few thousand years ago, describing a complete and all encompassing path to freedom. Gregor Maehle is another of my inspiring and primary teachers who in this short video gives a very concise and brief overview of the meaning of the Ashtanga system. This system is a very precise science of living consciously with all beings in harmony. The first two limbs (yama and niyama) relate to how we interact with our surrounds and with our own personal wellbeing. Then it focuses on the physical tuning of the body through the postures (asana) and the breath work (pranayama) It is the exploration of the higher limbs of Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana that we open ourselves to moving beyond the stillness of the mind. Until we arrive at a state known as Samadhi… oneness, freedom, connection to all!

If there was a goal to yoga, freedom would be something to aim for.

How to get started

It’s best to start with a LEARN YOGA COURSE. This will consolidate you in the fundamentals of Ashtanga yoga. From there you may decide to attend a LED ASHTANGA CLASS. This is a drop in class that will keep you consistent and remembering the sequence. A SELF-PRACTICE CLASS is open to everyone and empowers you to work at your own pace within your limitations. Your teacher is in the room guiding you along the way.

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Happy Ashtangaring…

Happy Mothering Day!

 

Yogis always begin their practice with a gracious acknowledgement of all that sustains us. Our hands melt together resting at the centre of the chest consciously breathing huge dollops of gratitude. Each breath effortlessly expanding to the next. Through melodic chants we soften our heart and invite compassion to walk with us. The breath held in the body with grace just as the mother holds her beloved child. 

Gratitude is confidence in life itself. In it, we feel how the same force that pushes grass through cracks in the sidewalk invigorates our own life. Gratitude infuses our heart with the faith to carry forward giving back as much as we take.

In our KIDS LOVE YOGA course we always begin each class with the children taking turns to share their gratitude for the day. As gratitude grows it gives rise to such sweet joy, instantly shifting the young yogis from the mono focus of self indulgence to a benevolent heart. 

Truly magical. 

The practice of gratitude is free and available to you anytime you need a dose of love. Bring to mind all that you are grateful for in this moment. Bow to your blessings, as gratitude gives rise to the ocean of abundance within. Gratitude ignites our inner spark and refreshens our deep connection to our own self worth. 

~ Mothering ~
to nurture
to support
to love
to adopt
to take care of...
yourself, your loved ones and even that stranger!

Free offer (Sunday May 13, 2018)
We would love to share our love for all mothers everywhere by offering your mum, son or daughter a free a class this Sunday only. Please note the offer only extends to one guest per person.
 

 

SILENCE

A monk was once asked

Does the mind exist?

If so, where?

Is it in the body?

Or is it outside?

Or is it everywhere and all over?

Where is the mind?

 

His response was to ask his audience to participate in a social experiment:

"if you are happy right now, raise your right hand please.

If you are unhappy, even a little, please raise your left hand.

Now, those that are happy, please point to that happiness with your right index finger.

Those who are unhappy, please point to that unhappiness with your left index finger: locate if for me.

Happiness is real. Unhappiness is true. There is no doubt that these things exist. But you cannot locate these realities anywhere in your body, anywhere outside your body, or anywhere else at all.

The mind cannot be within a three-dimensional space, but three-dimensional space is within the mind.

The mind is the biggest thing in the world, it contains the universe."

{ an extract from 'Opening the door of your heart' by Ajahn Brahm }

 

Offer your mind a much needed break with a very simple yet power approach to living.

~ SILENCE ~

Silence is the greatest retreat we can offer not only to our minds but also to our spirit.

Perhaps this full moon ( happening this Monday ) you might consider even an hour of complete silence. Silence from speaking, from reading, from gadgets and from people. Empty out and consider it the start of a detox for your mind.

OM.

A SPIRITUAL NAME

One of our senior and truly cherished teachers Sharon Jenkins has written this heart felt piece about her choice to change her name from Sharon to Kanika. 

Spiritual names carry a special significance within the world’s spiritual traditions. It is a vibration and a tool that helps to elevate your energy through the power of its nadh (inner sound current) and meaning. It has the potential to challenge you to live in your highest consciousness.

Your spiritual name is based on the numerology of your birth date, and I imagine each tradition and the associated teachers who offer the names to their students have their own unique way of choosing them.

 Last year I met a Himalayan monk called Pandit Ji whom I immediately connected with at one of his yoga philosophy classes. I continued to go to his classes every week for 6 months during which time my teacher offered me a spiritual name based on my astrological moon chart and his personal considerations after getting to know me, as there is more than one name that may be appropriate.

In October 2016 I went on a spiritual retreat with Pandit Ji to India on a pilgrimage to the Holy Ganges River, many sacred sites, holy temples and caves within the Himalayan mountains where the ancient Vedic texts had been written. Needless to say my experiences in the Himalayas were transformative and life changing.

 Since returning and continuing my training in Vedic knowledge, I have felt a calling to start using my spiritual name Kanika more and more - which my teacher has translated for me as ‘golden energy'. For me, making the choice to start using my spiritual name has come through the love, respect and trust I feel for my teacher and also taking another step toward leaving old patterns behind and connecting more deeply with my infinite self.

Blessings,

Kanika

RESHAPE YOUR MIND


Yoga in one sentence.

"Rid your body of it's impurities, let your speech be true and sweet,
feel friendship for the world, and with humility seek wealth and knowledge"
T. Krishnamacharaya (pictured above)

Now to apply it.

"Discipline and Freedom are not mutually exclusive,
but mutually dependent because without discipline
we would sink into chaos"
Paulo Coelho

Practice is the key.
The gift of devoted practice is pathway to free range, organic growing liberation.
To get there you will need to edge over to the labyrinth of established old patterns. With scriptures in hand, a yogi or two to inspire you back to you, the journey begins. A little dislodged, raw but trusting, you begin to remember who the heck you are. And get this, you like it, a lot!

Being PRESENT is the only gift to rejoice.

"It's not your history but your presence on the mat that matters"
S.K.Pattabhi Jois (also pictured above)

Time to roll that mat out and be you, over and over again.

Hari Om Tat Sat
{ in supreme truth }
Adriana

MOVE WITH THE FLOW

YOGA MOVES FOR YOU
{ To AIR, FIRE, EARTH, WATER, ETHER teach us to stand strong and face the world together }

Life.
It's complicated and succulent all at the same time.
Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
A mat.
An intent.
And wham,
front row tickets to the other side of your mind.
Buddha whispers:
"No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may.
We ourselves must walk the path"

Take courage, we are evolving.
We are flowing.

Be the leader that lets love in and disco dances to the tune of perfect peace.
Sound the voice of silence. Sing the song of souls.
For we are yogis in the making.

Join the flow.
 

A THING OR TWO ABOUT BALANCE

Happy Spring Equinox!

Today marks the first day of an equal length of day and night. Where perhaps we bring consciousness to the often unbalanced seesaw of emotional traits that affect us daily through disease or injuries. Maybe today, is a day to soften the hardness and present as a blank canvas ready to paint our own version of harmony. In a balanced state of being, we open to a playful and healthy sense of curiosity that beautifully expands our perspective from limited to expansive... our perfect 360 degree view of adventure.

Even how we breathe can determine our equal balance. Take a moment as you're reading this to check which nostril you're breathing from. If it's mostly coming out of the left nostril you are activating your intuitive and holistic traits which relate to your right brain hemisphere. If your breath is mostly coming out from your right nostril you are usually performing tasks that require you to be more analytical like study or work and your mind is more anchored in being strategic. Here's a tip for you; if you are called upon to provide a compassionate shoulder for a loved one, you might want to check that your breath is coming mostly from your left nostril which supports your empathic and nurturing side. Listening and holding space for someone in need requires the gentleness of the right brain hemisphere and not the critical analytical traits powered by the right nostril breath. Both are valid and play vital roles in our daily living. Breathing equally through both nostrils is an experience of being deeply relaxed whilst being fully present and alert. In yoga we perform a pranayama (breathing technique) that regulates an equal flow called Nadi Shodana. 

Practice and all is coming...

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A student once asked the guru for some advise:

"As a big yogi to a little yogi do you have any advise for me?.

"Yes" he replied.

"Each morning wake up, do as much yoga as you want. Maybe you'll eat, maybe you'll fast, maybe you'll sleep. The next morning wake up, do as much yoga as you want. Maybe you'll eat, maybe you'll fast, maybe you'll sleep. Practice yoga and all is coming"
The stunning wisdom from Guruji K. Pattabhi Jois as told by David Williams

... and all is coming.

There is a place in each of us that aches for clarity, to be awake and alert to being solid about who we are and what our purpose is. ANANDA is a sanskrit word meaning Bliss. It is a word that could possibly define the meaning of Yoga, although it doesn't mean Bliss in the sense of intense happiness. Instead, ANANDA is an experience that is neither happiness nor a place devoid of suffering. ANANDA is self realization. From this place of Bliss we get to glimpse into our truth. It requires devoted practice (Abhyasa), and a commitment to staying focused and letting go of what is not serving our highest good (Vairagya). "Practice and all is coming..." perhaps part of that 'all' is that place were we emerge calm and deeply refreshed. The challenge is remaining established in this state.