All posts filed under: Yoga

Yoga articles and reviews

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Yoga Training in Anatomy Weekend 1

Pillow propping myself up. Legs elevated. Hips low and relaxed. I’m pretty comfortable right now on my sofa as I write. I write after the first anatomy weekend with my teacher Karen of Avid Yogi. I write with more knowledge in my head about the Spine. I write with the slow fading buzz off the class I just shared with great people. I write with my eyelids drooping from getting off the plane this morning and heading straight to work. I write with excitement still going round in my body. I write with my belly feeling full from Chinese Lettuce, egg and soy sauce. I write with expanding feelings in my chest that I cannot describe. Pause here. What expanding feelings? Well you know when you breath a breath and fill up the base of the ribs, the sides, the back, and more and more and more. It feels like that but all the time. It may be the backbending session we did all day yesterday to open up the thoracic spine. It may be …

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I have never known a practice like it. Everytime I am on my mat chanting the opening invocation of the Ashtanga practice followed by the Yoga Sutra’s that I’ve been reading the past couple of weeks, preparing my mind, focus and breath to begin the practice, I still find I have to take a deep moment to let my Self know that I am about to start. Sometimes when you guys see the yoga photos posted by me, or anyone else out there, there isn’t the backstory most often in the caption that lets you know the state of mind of the person in the picture before, when, or after it was taken. I get this in class sometimes with poses that you might think seem ‘easy’ for me to do. Be assured, my calm face, is for me, part of the discipline of the yoga practice- to practice with a smile and a light heart (and a calm face where possible ) but I too am focussing deeply in, say, lifting the quadricep muscles …

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My pilgrimage

So here I am sat back again where I was sat just in November gone, drinking a warm elixir, looking out at rainy Edinburgh. What has got me about this place? You ask me, I ask my reflection in the glass. Landing off the plane, walking the same route to the yoga studio, mm, a big smile on my face. The familiarity and also the same walk walked all those dark mornings in my YTT seems to have ingrained in me some kind of nerve/muscle/emotion memory  like my yoga practice. Who knows! I can’t explain it. Perhaps this is why yogis take the pilgrimage trips to India, where they have trained, the home of yoga must feel like a place they belong too. India for some, Edinburgh it seems, for others.. 😀 Before you think I’m some looney just coming to Edinburgh to walk the streets that I walked last month, I’m here catching up with yoga mates and shadowing classes in the studio I’m training with! A few things and some snippets of brain …

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1.2 Yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ

  [Download a bigger version here] I woke up one morning, a tad bleary, a little unstable on the feet, with my mind going. yes… yoga.. but actually.. Zzzzzzzz… Some days! I find this state is temporary and you literally go ahead with the toilet and sink duties of waking up and you’re totally ready to begin your morning practice. On the other hand, other days, when your body is swaying with every stroke of the toothbrush to your teeth, the ‘totally ready to yoga’ bit doesn’t quite arrive at where you’re standing. And it’s those days I take a more Yin (relaxation) practice, or on this particular day, very strangely for me, I really wanted to sit and read the next Sutra in the Yoga Sutras. Ok so for some background knowledge, just a month ago I was quite a skeptic about the Sutras. Perhaps out of ignorance. But all the Sanskrit kinda scared me a little. It felt to me a total separate thing from what I was doing on my mat. Fast forward just a month …

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I know I said I would be writing about each yoga sutra from Book 1 (of the Yoga Sutras). But in coming home and re-diving back into Ashtanga in my practice, I thought we should skip ahead for now and take a look at Book 2, sutra 28. ‘Yoganganusthanad asuddhi ksaye jnanadiptir a vivekakhyateh’ A little bit of a mouthful, especially to my new eyes and brains to the Sanskrit markings on the letters. With explanation taken from the Yoga Sutras book with translation and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda, here it is broken down: Yoga = union anga = limbs anushthanat = by the practice asuddhi = impurity ksaye = destruction / dwindling jnanaiptih = light of wisdom a = leads to vivekakhyateh = discriminative discernment ‘By the practice of the limbs of Yoga, the impurities dwindle away and there dawns the light of wisdom, leading to discriminative discernment.’ Maybe you’re like, what does this have to do with me? I just do yoga to get fit, to stretch, to be stronger with my body.. …

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Parampara. What?

A type into Google brings up this definition of parampara, ‘denotes a succession of teachers and disciples in traditional Vedic culture and Indian religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. It is also known as guru-shishya tradition (succession from guru to discipline)’ Quoting www.sanskritclassis.com, which gives a nice and interesting short history of how the word ‘parampara’ came about, it means ‘the traditional way of perpetuation of the spiritual discipline from the Master (the Guru) to the disciple and the lineage through which the blessings of the realised Master flow to the followers of the particular discipline’ Ashtanga yoga first came to me in September 2010, 5 years ago. Before that yoga was just something else to do to try and get fitter, add an activity to my week, etc etc etc. I went to a retreat in Portugal where I met my first Ashtanga teachers, Peter & Sue. How I stumbled upon this retreat, I have no idea. I have Google to thank for that. It sounded like a great way to get …