Yoga is a way of moving into stillness by quieting the endless chatter crippling our consciousness. It improves circulation, and increases strength, stamina and flexibility. Yoga unites us to our true selves.
Asana practice strengthens us emotionally as we learn the use of pranayama, or how to breath through a challenging pose. There is a point as you enter into a pose that you feel a bit anxious. Your unconscious mind quickly decides for you that this asana looks difficult- there's no way, I'll never be that flexible. Now as you move deeper into the pose, you wait for the tightness to hit and it does, right where you thought it would be, and in other places that you didn't know existed. It's nerve racking- your muscles tense up, you are barely breathing- all you want to do is relax.
The thing is, though, the pain isn't that bad, it's just uncomfortable, it's a tight muscle. By focusing on the breathing and relaxing the body, you realize that you can stretch a bit farther, breathing into a pose.
In my own practice, not only has my flexibility increased but my tolerance for the uncomfortableness has increased as well. This is called "Tapas".
The initial anxiety when first starting yoga makes us think that we are stiffer than we really are. The Asana practice which builds our tapas is helpful in that it teaches us how to deal with loss and pain in our daily lives.
Yoga helps improve efficiency of the cardiovascular system, digestive and nervous systems.
Hatha Yoga is a complete approach to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual transformation, bringing physical health and vitality, mental clarity, wisdom and emotional serenity. The postures or Asanas flow from one form to another and provide a pathway into the development of our intelligence and our ability to concentrate and sustain focus. The body becomes flexible and strong.
The method offers:
1) A safe and systematic progression of yoga postures.
2) Sequencing that develops strength, flexibility, stamina, concentration and body alignment.
3) Highly developed teaching methodology.
4) Hands on individualized correction and adjustment, when needed.
5) Use of props, such as blocks, straps, and blankets to facilitate learning and adjust yoga postures.
Each Asana physically reflects and can induce different states of mind- such as balance, surrender, open-heartedness, acceptance. As we move into a pose, we take on the external form and attitude and let it move through us. It's experiential rather than intellectual. If you are trying to cultivate open-heartedness, you may decide to do back bends to open your chest. There is also a surrender that occurs within you as you practice regularly; it is a surrender to God or to the Universal forces.
There isn't an urgency to fight every battle or to fix all the people in our lives that we think need fixing. Somehow life still happens, work gets done but with much less emotional energy. When you are in the mind set to do battle and fix and criticize all- it feels as if it's "me against the hostile world- everybody is stupid and against me" thoughts. But when you trust in the energy that you've connected with during meditation- a deeper kind of awareness surfaces- a natural sense of love and compassion. We don't have to respond automatically like Pavlov's dogs every time someone or something presses our buttons or an urge or desire floats through our minds.
There is an order in the world and the true self emerges with increased energy working through you and guiding you through everyday actions. Self makes us believe that we can control our lives and make things happen according to our plans. Also, the strong "I" presence diminishes its power on our consciousness. It's as if we all have an inner compass to guide us through life if only we checked our pockets. But the ego doesn't think it needs any help. It can guide us just fine, make us lots of money, get us the fastest car. The Truth is trying to get our attention all the time but when the focus is always searching outward toward the physical world, you may not even know that the inner voice exists.
Yoga will help quiet the senses so that we can experience the Truth.
The Truth is not what it appears to be. Many of us live our lives feeling that there are divisions or differences between the races, hostile countries, cooperative countries, men and women, mankind and nature, animals that are pests, animals that we eat, animals that our part of our families. The division is an illusion. There are many illusions that we believe to be true but with a daily yoga practice, we can gain a different perspective on how really connected we all are to each other, a Universal Consciousness.
WHAT WE DO:
Each Class is taught by a yoga certified instructor and begins with a 10 minute Chi Gong warm-up. Chi Gong is a life force. Everything in the universe is comprised of Chi. Chi energy travels through our bodies in pathways called meridians that form a network throughout the entire body and connect everything in the body.
Chi Gong promotes the free flow energy throughout the body, breaking down energy blockages within the meridians. The conditions for disease are created when the flow of Chi is blocked.
After a warm up of Chi Gong, a repetition of sun salutations heats up the core and warms up all the muscles. Continuing to use the sun salutation as the base, we flow into various Hatha poses and hold for 3-5 breaths. The last fifteen minutes is devoted to Savasana, completely relaxing all of your body and muscles in a guided meditation.
By combining elements of Chi Gong, Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Flow you receive a complete body workout.
WHY TAKE YOGA CLASSES HERE?
Although inexpensive yoga classes are offered in gyms, Fitness and Recreation centers, YMCA's, etc. BEWARE; sometimes you get more than what you pay for. Most injuries that occur from yoga happen because of the many untrained or poorly trained instructors out there. These places tend to hire unqualified yoga instructors or they convert trainers to "fill in" for a yoga class. They do not cater to individuals but teach classes for the masses, regardless whether the majority of students in the class can follow or not. Temple Goddess Dance & Yoga only hires Yoga Alliance certified instructors. The Yoga Alliance has a listing of instructors who have passed certification and are able to instruct people properly.