The process of yoga is the exploration of the sphere of the whole person; connecting breath to movement, movement to focus, focus to balance, balance to stillness, and stillness to breath. All of these aspects are intertwined and continuously renewed within this ancient practice. Yoga informs us that all are one, that separateness is an illusion, and that the principal tool we use as yogis is breath and attention. Within this connected and infinite cycle lies the inner teacher, that silent observer within where we find truth and guidance in yoga and in life.
- Conscious, intentional movement, stillness and breath. Raminand Patel once said, “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, activate the fifth vishuddha chakra, to feel calm and centered, and most importantly, to communicate with the divine spirit within ourselves and the universe. Connecting to that divine spirit, as my teacher Rusty Wells says, is to bask in our Beloved. The essence of Kirtan is singing to that which we love most, to unite in love with our Beloved.
- Mantra to train concentration, listening skills and to interrupt mental and emotional habits.
- Prayer, ritual and sangha for guidance, community/service, compassion, love and self-worth, and celebration.
Vinyasa literally means “to place in a special way,” but it also refers to breath synchronized movement. The purpose of linking breath with movement (or stillness) is to calm and quiet the mind while creating space to open the body.
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 are mind is calm, we are better able to adapt to life’s challenges.
My aim with every class I lead is to offer a joyful, enlivened and challenging sequence of postures that help open the body to a deeper, more expansive place. And a really great soundtrack doesn’t hurt either.