_
____
________

Yoga

Union, Presence, Unconditional Love, Wholeness, Oneness, Interconnection, Balance, Integration



________
____
_
 

For me, the practice of Yoga is one of alchemy & transformation.  Converting poison into medicine; pain into presence; and suffering into healing. There are innumerable ways to get there.  It seems to me that every indigenous culture has some sort of method for achieving higher states of consciousness & ending suffering. Yoga is something much more than physical practices, though the physical body is a integral piece of this puzzle.

The yoga that we know of in this modern world has its cultural roots in India, and the practice itself continues to evolve with each and every practitioner who tastes it. We are witnessing a blossoming of international yoga culture, and within this culture every walk of life can be found: CEO's, lawyers, doctors, musicians, artists, professors, janitors, politicians, salesmen, nurses, inmates, students, teachers, homeless, rich, poor and everything beyond & in between. Yoga practice is helping to connect our world.

Traditionally, each lineage of yoga was passed on from Teacher to Student, on a one to one basis.  Just within the past Century, yoga has been taught in group settings. There are benefits to both methods, though certainly, yoga is most potent when it is customized for an individual. The duty of a lineage is to keep their knowledge alive. To do this, the student must conform to the needs of the lineage, for example, alignment of postures, order of postures, meditations, breathing exercises & philosophy.  Unfortunately, for those with considerable injury, health conditions or who have had surgeries, conforming to a lineage of practice can make existing issues much worse.  

As a Yoga Therapist, I have been exposed to various lineages of thought & practice. I strive to customize & conform lineage practices to an individual's needs, to facilitate their unique healing process. Without the lineage, there would be no ancient knowledge still alive; without the therapist, the practices can become very exclusive, only to those blessed with the genetics, bone structure & mentality that is harmonious with that lineage.

Below are some of the basic yoga philosophical concepts that have profoundly shaped the way I relate with myself; with my practice; family; friends; students & the entire world; in a way that continues to  help me shift out of suffering & into a healing, loving state:

_
____
________


Ashtanga Yoga

Ashta - Eight    Anga - Limbs

1. Yama:  Moral Codes
Ahimsa: Non-Harm
Satya: Truthfulness
Asteya: Non-Stealing
Brahmacharya: Control of Sexual Energy & Expression
Aparigraha: Non-Attachment
2. Niyama: Conduct
Saucha: Cleanliness
Santosha: Contentment
Tapas: Austerity
Svadhyaya: Study of Self & Sacred Scripture
Ishvarapranidhana: Surrender to the Divine
3. Asana: Postures
4. Pranayama: Breathing Practices
5. Pratyahara: Sensory Reclamation
6. Dharana: Concentration
7. Dhyana: Meditation
8. Samadhi: Realization / Higher States of Consciousness


_
____

Krama

Sequential, Chronological, To Build Upon


____
_


5 Koshas

The ancient yogis have observed 5 distinct yet interconnected layers or sheaths of our being, they call these layers Koshas

Annamaya Kosha -  Physical Body, bones, muscles, tissues, glands, organs, brain etc

Pranamaya Kosha - Chakras (energetic vortices, associated with glandular systems in Annamaya),
Nadis (energetic channels associated with circulatory, lymphatic & fascial systems in Annamaya),
Vayus (currents of energy), Prana or Chi (life force)

Manomaya Kosha - Conscious mind, thoughts, stories, emotions

Vijnanamaya Kosha - Subconscious mind, subconscious archetypes (healer, hero, victim), memories, beliefs

Anandamaya Kosha - Unconscious mind (and the process of becoming conscious), abode of the Soul, pure unobstructed awareness, Divine Immortal Bliss


________
____
_


When I work with people, I use this Koshic model to identify patterns of imbalance throughout this individual. If there are muscles that have been locked up from stress, trauma & injury in the Annamaya Kosha, they can have all kinds of stagnant stressor chemicals stuck in the tissues that have not had enough blood flow for a very long time. In the Pranamaya Kosha there can be stuck energy in those correlating Nadi's (energetic channels), cutting of the supply of fresh energy to the correlating Chakra (energy vortices, associated with glandular systems in Annamaya Kosha). 

Each Chakra is enlivened by one of the five Vayus.  Each emotion we have in Manomaya Kosha, either facilitates the flow of the vayus to the chakras, or inhibits the flow of the vayus. Each emotion we have, has grown from our subconscious beliefs (Vijnanamaya Kosha). Our subconscious beliefs were created when our consciousness was influenced by one of the three basic subconscious archetypes.

_
____

Subconscious Archetypes:
Healer (balanced union of opposing energies - Balanced Emotions:
gratitude, joy, patience)
Hero (destructive masculine - Hot Emotions: anger, agitation, frustration)
Victim (destructive feminine - Cold Emotions: sadness, depression, addiction)

____
_


These subconscious archetypes & their correlating emotions, serve as parameters for the trajectory of our conscious thoughts, the story lines. Where the mind goes, the energy flows. These story lines & our emotions influence the secretion of hormones through the glandular systems in the physical body.  Through this koshic lens, it has helped me observe in myself how my emotions can become stuck in my body.

_
____
Where the mind goes, the energy flows.
____
_

There have been innumerable instances when my mind has been completely colored by emotion while practicing yoga, especially when I first started. I would be doing something intense & all the sudden my mind would become overwhelmed with anger, feeling like I wanted to just burn the whole house down for no apparent reason; or feeling overcome with such intense grief & sadness that I immediately started sobbing uncontrollably! These emotions can get stuck in your tissues, and if you have not opened these tissues up in a long time, there can be some intense energy in there! Though it is not all destructive emotions! There can be unprocessed laughter, happiness & joy in there too! Every range of the emotion can be stored & experienced in the body; for the seed of every emotion is within you. Very recently while teaching workshops, I have had several people start uncontrollably giggling, crying so hard they are laughing while they were massaging their own shoulders!

_
____
The seed of every emotion is within you.
____
_

There are no bad emotions. Some simply obstruct the flow & some facilitate.  As a yogi, I strive to feel every emotion as they arise & dissolve without attachment or aversion. That way their natural cycle is allowed to live & die, without it becoming stored in my tissues.  It is when we repress our emotions that they become stored in the tissues. When we don't allow ourself to feel them, while we are enduring some sort of pain, hardship, stress, trauma, etc. - that's when the emotion & their correlating chemicals get stored in the tissues. There are physical practices to release these stressor chemicals & to assist in revealing these stagnant emotions, but ultimately it is up to each individual to choose for themselves the appropriate time to feel into this deeper more advanced practice of yoga.  For me, I started yoga for physical reasons, and the curiosity to look deeper blossomed as I continued to see more results. The deeper practices unfolded naturally, without force, as I continued to trust the yoga more fully.

I desire to give people a safe space to explore themselves.  Reading them the recipe for healing.  I am not a healer, I have never healed anyone. It is Yoga that heals. It is through devoted, daily practice that healing arises.  It is through your own Love, that you heal your life. As one of my dearest teachers Robert Boustany often says "Don't miss your life!".

_
____
It is through your own Love, that you heal your life
____
_

Living in Love, extending love to all those you encounter, especially the ones who are difficult to be around, is much more advanced Yoga than floating into handstand. 

Physical postural practice, is but one limb of a giant tree. It is through Love, that the tree continues to grow all of its branches. As my first yoga teacher Ray Eppler wrote inside the first yoga book I was ever gifted (B.K.S. Iyengar's Light On Yoga), "For best results, practice all 8 Limbs."

_
____
________

OM
________
____
_

08 copy.jpg