Pattabhi Jois, the Father of Ashtanga, studied under Krisnamacharya as head master of an orphanage in Mysore, India. He developed a series of asanas focused on health along with the benefit of running out the energy of the growing boys that he over looked.
As a young boy BKS Iyengar, the Father of ‘The Iyengar Yoga’ System, came to the orphanage. He learned the asanas and practiced regularly as a way to improve his health and overcome his own physical disabilities. Both the Ashtanga and Iyengar series were brought to the west and have become very popular in our culture and is now the primary standard for the way that our culture thinks of Yoga.
“Life is full of stress” is the first line on the Malaysian Journal of Medical Science written by Mohd Razali Salleh. It continues to state that “chronic stress has a significant effect on the immune system that ultimately manifest an illness. It raises catecholamine and suppressor T-cell levels, which suppress the immune system.” Unfortunately, we live in a culture of stress. Stress related illnesses are increasing every year. The cost of living is increasing. We work multiple jobs just to stay afloat and take care of our families. We need to visit with friends, entertain out of town guest, eat on the run, run to catch up, catch up only to realize that there is a whole other hurdle to jump. Then we jump into a yoga class and power through it until we collapse into savasana.
I am concerned as a Relaxation Specialist that we, as a culture, are confusing the physical (exercise) element of practices such as hot or core with the traditions and health benefits that yoga can offer a society that is already stressed, tired, overworked and sick. I believe that we need to reevaluate what yoga means and how beneficial in can be to our society.
Let’s refer to Osho’s quote above: “life happens between rest and movement.” This is very powerful. Take note that this quote does not state that life happens between one movement and the next. Where’s the rest? When can we give ourselves the permission to rest, breathe and recharge? I traveled to India to learn and teach a linage of yoga that gives us the permission to cultivate strength by taking brief moments of rest before challenging ourselves into powerful asanas. It shows us how to cultivate power so that we can accomplish difficult asanas on the mat. And in my classes I teach the importance of taking this practice off the mat and into our worlds. We learn to breathe and rest in between difficult asanas so that we can gain enough strength to accomplish the difficult hurdles we need to jump in our every day life.
Yoga, is the “yoke” that binds mind, movement, and breath. It is the energetic connection between all energetic beings. If we are lying on the floor, in the present moment, connecting the mind to the movements of the body and observing the breath, then yes you are doing yoga. Our bodies are glorious machines and they know how to work well. As my teacher says, “then allow them the work.” Chronic stress is like swimming upstream. If we learn to change directions and flow with the natural balance of our bodies, then everything becomes a lot easier, clearer and more rewarding.
In 2017 I am teaching monthly workshops on identifying stress and clearing a path that is more in tune with our natural and true state of being. These workshops are based on my years experience of teaching and practicing the philosophy of Tantra yoga, Meditation, Body Awareness Work, Movement Therapy, Compassionate Communication and Holistic Life Coaching.
2017 Mind Over What Matters workshops are a combination of these practices with an overall theme of harnessing inner strength while we find our breath and float through life with our soft edges. They are about renewal and rebuilding, while removing mind clutter (chitta), so that we can move through life with confidence and faith in our actions. It’s about acknowledging our passions, dusting off our dreams and having the power to bring them to fruition.
Make 2017 all about you. Join me at Eka Yoga Seattle. Learn to relax, set your intension and live your best life.[Photo by: 1YogaGirl | CC BY]
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