For me, yoga is the exploration of our physical, mental and emotional body – unified through conscious breathing (pranayama). Yoga helps us to activate the diaphragm (the main component of core stability), invigorate blood and lymph movement, strengthen and open our musculo-skeletal systems, calm the mind to create inner/outer focus, and open our hearts.
- Raminand Patel encourages us to, “recognize the breath and let it open your eyes,” and “use the breath to find forgiveness when you can’t stop blaming.”
- Meditation to hone skills of non-doing and mindfulness.
- Studying yogic scriptures and the chakra system for education and intention.
- Inspiration and self-understanding, herbal rejuvenation and basic ayurvedic practices to tonify and balance the supply of prana (air), tejas (fire) and ojas (water).
- Chanting to focus the mind, stimulate prana, feel calm and centered, and most importantly, to communicate with the divine spirit within ourselves and the universe. Connecting to that divine spirit, as Rusty Wells says, is to bask in that which we love most, to unite with our Beloved.
- Mantra to train concentration, listening skills and to interrupt mental and emotional habits.
- Prayer, ritual and sangha (community) for guidance, community/service, compassion, love, self-worth and celebration.
Vinyasa yoga generates internal heat and stokes agni – or digestive – fire that helps detoxify and cleanse the body, removing impurities. If our internal fire is strong and the mind is calm, we are better able to adapt to life’s challenges.
My aim with every class is to offer a joyful, enlivened and challenging sequence of postures that open the body to a deeper, more expansive place.