Posts In: yoga

It’s spiritual

October 17, 2013

Why is yoga a spiritual practice and not just exercise?

Yoga was developed thousands of years ago. The ancients wanted to know why we are here and while we are here, how can we be happy? What they came up with back in the time of the oldest teachings, the Rig Veda, was that we are inherently happy. That is why we strive for happiness all the time.

But through years (or lifetimes?) we have developed patterns, physical and mental attitudes, that block our way.

The sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda come from these teachings and explain how if we are balanced, find out our own unique attributes and live in such a way that we are healthy, then we find the fountain of youth: physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health. The path of self-knowledge IS the removal of suffering, and we can reach liberation (moksha).

The problem begins with the body. If we have any malady, that’s all we can focus on. “Ouch! I stubbed my big toe.” Now all I can think about is that physical pain. Any injury or illness can become all-consuming. We focus everything around it and even learn to identify with our illnesses.

The more focus something has, the more energy it has. It can grow this way.

The practice of yoga is to optimize physical health so that we can find liberation. We need to remove the obstructive patterns. We need to develop a relationship to our bodies for maximum health. Our patterns will then become apparent and we can do something about them.

Yoga is not a religion. It enhances our religions and our relationship to ourselves.

See you in class.


Blowing in the Wind

October 4, 2013
They say that this weekend we will be blowing again.
In Yoga and Ayurveda (the sister science to yoga) we say that the wind is Vata. Wind is good, it keeps things blowing or moving around. It keeps us dancing, talking, questioning.
But when we get too much wind – we get spacey. The wind can make us ungrounded, unfocused and depressed. If we cannot concentrate – we cannot get anything done. Getting things done gives us a sense of self and accomplishment.
In today’s world everything is Vata! There are planes, trains, cars, cell phones and Twitter! Everything is moving too fast. Not to mention that as we age, well, we get a little drier in the skin and bones department. So while we want to keep moving, we need nurturing and grounding. We want to learn the secrets of living longer and feeling whole.
Your yoga practice can make a HUGE difference. A focus on the elements can bring greater balance.
For example, the elements that balance wind would be Earth and Water. So bringing in the earth element can stabilize and ground you. The water element can hydrate and nourish you. A flow-y water like practice can counter that fast-paced wind but keep you moving and happy. Forward folds are a great way to bring in earth. Balancing with your gaze fixed on a spot on the floor can help too. What we want is calm and steady. So we flow a little and then stabilize. Easy right?
The idea is not to get rid of what we cannot change – the wind, but to balance and support what we can change – ourselves.
See you in class.
Namasté, René

Posted on 2013

Our view

September 12, 2013
This morning in the studio many people were speaking about how much they love it.
It happens every day. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful space, such wonderful teachers and a fabulous community of practitioners. From those of us in gentle class to those of us in the advanced class, we are all coming together and our lives are better for it.
See, it’s all about perspective. In yoga we learn to change the prana or the energy. This has a huge beneficial outcome on the way we view the world. This is why we feel so good after we practice. We are balanced and focused. According to the great sage Patanjali, “Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions.” (definition from the Yoga Sutras in The Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikchar) or in another translation: “Yoga is experienced in that mind which has ceased to identify itself with its vacillating waves of perception.” (Mukunda Stiles) –
Vascillating waves of perception, hmmmmm? So, what we are saying is that you can choose how you want to see the world, if you can get a hold of your thoughts and direct them. Thus, we can be happier. Wow, can prozac do that?
Yoga is really the all –natural, anti-depressant. It teaches us not to identify with the thoughts that are dragging us down and causing us misery. But to choose the thoughts that are serving us. We can become our truest selves. The ones we were born to be, with talent, creativity, open hearts and ready to serve each other.
Sounds easier said than done? Well, it is by learning to consciously shape your breath and body that leads to this conscious shaping of thought. That’s why us yogis are smiling. That is what keeps us coming back every day. We long to see the beauty in the world, and as we deepen our practice the beauty begins to jump out at us more and more everyday.
Thank you to all our amazing family of yogis, for embracing a better way!
See you in class.
Om Shanti!


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