Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Bow to the Teacher Within

Om Namah Shivaya

Our final niyama, Ishvar-Pranidhana, is often defined as “centering on your Ideal.” It is a simple pledge to honor the indwelling teacher. Ishvar-Pranidhana is a practice of attunement that brings us to the apex of our study of the niyamas.

This week, make an effort to salute yourself, your teachers and all of those who have come before you. Practice chanting “Om Namah Shivaya” at the end of each meditation or asana practice.  aware-1353780__180

In Sanskrit, the meaning of the chant is:

Om– Ever present, it is the pulse of the universe and the source of our whole being.

Namah–  A word that means to bow.

Shivaya– Literally it means Shiva; but more than that, it represents the inner self.

For your reference, here is an audio link to the pronunciation of Om Namah Shivaya

When understood fully, the phrase translates to “I bow to the inner Self.’ In class, you may have heard me say, “bow to the teacher within”.

A wonderful set of words that expresses exactly how I feel as I end each and every practice. Bowing to the teacher within me is saluting all of my wisdom and where it stems from. It is how I respect my journey and honor all those who have made it possible.

My deepest gratitude!

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: What is Your Truth?

…we should progressively embrace what is real for us, so that we may find health and harmony. As you go deeper into yoga, remember that you are doing this study in order to remember yourself, to come home to all of you…  – Rolf Gates

In our practices this week, let’s focus on the second ethical quality or yama known as truthfulness. As a moral principle, truthfulness or satya, as it is called in Sanskrit, asks us to convey truth responsibly. Like the other yamas, we should consider truthfulness in thought, speech and action.

This week set a goal for yourself to be more authentic in your asana practice. Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: What is Your Truth?”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Get Balance & Seek Harmony

temple-2891941__340Now that we have built our foundation for a steady yoga practice, we are ready to begin  supporting our practice so that we can keep it going. In my experience, I have found that the best way to keep a steady practice is to form balance. Balance teaches us to be moderate and achieve evenness – it keeps you upright and steady. And, in order to form balance you need to establish pillars to hold up your practice. We will begin with the yamas and the niyamas. These are the yogic branches of abstentions and observances that can stabilize your asana practice.

The first yama is ahimsa which is the Sanskrit word for non-violence. The obvious definition for non-violence is to do no physical harm onto others. However, ahimsa goes way beyond the obvious. Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Get Balance & Seek Harmony”

Looking for These Sources…

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Please help! Despite the intellegence of the internet, I cannot locate the source of these beautiful and profound yoga quotes that I recorded in my journal long ago.  I would very much like to attribute them to their original authors.

If you are familiar with the following quotes, please leave me a comment…thanks!

#1: “Yoga is not a destination to be reached, it is a place where you simply are. The method is the goal.”

#2: “Take this opportunity to begin to shed your outer layers – your coverings. Find the way back to center: through flesh, muscle, bone. To the river that underlies us, solid and fluid. Lean softly into your experience and give it your whole attention.”

#3: “The technique a teacher passes on are petals on the flower, but the stem is inside you. No one can show you what that looks and feels like. They can help you learn and show you what they have found useful, but the inner teachings are going on all the time – the little discoveries that can only be made from within as you compare the you that was with the you that is awakening.”

#4: What is the purpose of yoga practice? To open the heart. Measure your success in your postures not by how far you go but by how aware you are in each moment. What makes you feel most alive? Most present? Most whole?”