Saturday 2-5pm Ashtanga Essentials: Tristhana, Vinyasa and Shraddha

Embarking on the journey of transformation requires that we follow a path, a method. On the Ashtanga path, we make use of and rely upon certain tools. We will discuss these tools as they relate to our daily practice.

Tri means three in Sanskrit; sthana means standing place. The Tristhana are breathing, posture, and gazing point. These important places of action should always be observed and practiced simultaneously in asana practice.  

Vinyasa means a coordinated “breathing and movement system”; for each movement, there is one breath. The purpose of vinyasa is internal cleansing. Breathing and moving together while performing asanas makes the blood hot, or, as Guruji said, “boils the blood.” Thick blood is dirty and impure, causing disease in the body. The heat created from vinyasa cleanses the blood and makes it thin, so that it may circulate freely. When there is a lack of circulation, pain occurs.

Shraddha means faith, a special faith that comes from personal and prolonged experience. 

We will use Surya Namaskara as the practical means to explore and develop precision with these tools of the practice.  The Sun Salutations strings together body, breath, mind, and soul with the healing and nurturing forces of the sun. The sun salutation is a complete practice of yoga, meditation, and spirituality.  Surya Namaskara are of ancient origin and serve as the foundation for the rest of the yoga practice as they help gather the strength of the mind, establish clarity and depth to the breath and alignment in the body.  If the mind is not brought into focus and strengthened so that the body can be pushed through its limitations, the ancient texts say that students cannot be certain to avoid injury.

Guruji fondly referred to Surya as the minister of health and said that everyone should learn to perform Surya Namaskara correctly.

Sunday 1:30-4pm Ashtanga Yoga Conference

From the simple and seemingly mundane to the more esoteric, we all have questions about our yoga practice.  This session is a chance to ask questions and engage in discussion about this journey.  In a daily class, there is rarely time to ask about a specific topic of interest, a concern, a confusion. That is what this session is for.   Topics may include:

What is the meaning of the opening chant?

Who is Patanjali? And what are the sutras?

What books are important to read?

What is parampara?

What is a vinyasa count?  

What is prana?

What are the bandhas?

What is the correct alignment of a posture?

Please come and please bring your questions, an open mind, and a sense of humor.

Monday 5:30-7pm Basic Breath Work, The Four Purifications 

Yoga is aimed at purifying the channels (nadis) of the body. While the full exercises of purification can be quite strenuous (shat karmas), there is a simpler system that can be taught to anyone, regardless of experience. These four techniques (as taught by Baba Hari Das of the Mount Madonna Center) are not difficult to learn, but have a profound effect on the nervous system and should be practiced regularly for several months before beginning a regular pranayama practice. We will learn and practice the four techniques so that you take home a daily practice.

TUESDAY 5:30-7PM INTRODUCTION TO MEDITATION IN THE TRADITION OF HIMALAYAN MASTERS

Meditation is a manifestation of the natural state of yoga. It is not something that you "do," but rather a state that you receive or enter as a result of practice. The fluctuations of the mind and consciousness are to be calmed through meditation.  

Meditation is a path for transformation, but on a more practical level, it is a wonderful tool as an antidote for stress. Our bodies react aggressively to perceived obstacles and stress: increasing blood pressure, increasing stress fighting hormones, creating erratic breathing patterns, shifting blood sugar regulation, and decreasing immunity. These are the seeds of disease. These changes in physiology can be countered with the practice of meditation. Meditation can decrease heart rate, normalize blood pressure, quiet breathing patterns, reduce stress-fighting hormones, while increasing rejuvenating hormones, and increase immunity.

In this class, we will learn concentration and mind-focusing tools for developing a home meditation practice.

Wednesday 5:30-7pm Dinacharya: creating healthy daily routine, an ayurvedic perspective

“Rogastu dosha vaishamyam dosha saamyam arogata.”

When the dosha are in a balanced state, they provide health; the same in an imbalanced state cause disease. —(Charak Samhita)

To keep the tridosha in a state of equilibrium, Ayurveda prescribes for each individual a specific daily routine. Dinacharya means daily routine (dina = day and acharya = to follow). In following the natural rhythms of the day, we can align our beings with the cycles of the sun, moon and our natural environment.

Scientists are only now beginning to understand exactly how important it is for the body to stay in rhythm with nature. In our modern world, this is becoming a challenge, as more and more folks are dissociated from the natural environment. Ayurveda has taught the importance of a connection to nature for thousands of years

Dinacharya, ayurvedic daily routine, is designed to maintain and reconnect us to the natural circadian rhythms and it is the best way to stay in balance, prevent disease, and treat disease.