Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mind ~ Body ~ Breath



Yoga is the union of mind, body, and breath.  Utilizing gravity, the body can be manipulated into various postures enhancing the flow of energy.  Yoga affects the whole body, the poses produce a balanced foundation for the breath to move in and out.  My yoga practice is based on two distinct styles of yoga, of which there are many more.  My training is built on the principles of Kripalu (Krih-PAH-loo) yoga and my advanced training focus is on Yin yoga and Mindfulness Meditation.

Yoga is a return to wholeness.  Kripalu yoga is a compassionate, conscious practice of breath and movement through postures, meditation, relaxation, sensation, experience, and expression.  The practice of yoga lies in the understanding of Prana (life force energy) as a link between the mind, body, and spirit.  Kripalu yoga begins with listening to the wisdom of your body, focusing your mind on your breath while moving through various postures.  For your mind, the breath work can calm restless thoughts, cultivate concentration and support mental clarity and confidence.  For your body, the postures stretch and tone, release chronic tension and unlock hidden stress within the muscles.  For your spirit, the union of mind, body, and breath can encourage self acceptance, honor inner wisdom and invite peace.  A regular yoga practice initiates a process of personal transformation.  It is important to practice yoga with a caring and non-judgmental awareness of self.

There are three stages of Kripalu yoga:
1. Body and Breath awareness
2. Focusing Inward
3. Meditation in Motion

There are five elements of awareness in Kripalu yoga that enhance the practice.

~ BREATHE ~ RELAX ~ FEEL ~ WATCH ~ ALLOW ~

www.kripalu.org

Yin yoga consists of holding various poses for several minutes.  Yin yoga is preventative, nourishing, regenerative, stimulating, and balancing.  These holding poses stimulate energetic meridians which flow through the connective tissues of the body.  Meridians are pathways of energy that continuously flow through the body.  These pathways carry Qi (chi, pronounced chee) which is defined as energy, vitality, and the universal force in all life.  These energetic pathways are invisible, a comprehensive network of flowing that links all substances and organs of the body.  The pathways are unseen but embody a physical reality.  Illness is the body's way of communicating that one or more of these pathways do not have the proper amount  or the correct quality of energy flowing through it.  The care and strength of the meridian system is essential for maintaining the harmonious balance of the mind, body, spirit connection.  Before each meridian can be in harmony with other pathways, it has to be in harmony with itself.  This leads to the balance of yin and yang energy.  Yin yoga is a wonderful way to warm up the body before a yang practice, pranayama (breathing exercises), or meditation.  Yin yoga can draw insight into the body by staying and breathing into a pose while acknowledging sensations or feelings that may arise.  This act of moment to moment awareness in the postures is mindfulness.  Mindfulness is the direct registry of what is happening in us and to us at successive moments of our experience, without going into reaction for or against what we notice.

Tonight I am teaching for the first time in three months, since I had my second baby.  It has been twelve years since my first yoga class, I remember everything and how it kept me wanting more.  I have been teaching and guiding group yoga classes for seven years.  Attempting to re-inspire my skills, I am going back to those first days of practice that brought me increased strength and poise, while decreasing stress and anxiety.  Teaching yoga has given me a new reflection into my personal practice.  Connecting the mind with the breath to the action of the body, sparks intuition and alters perception from which creativity is born.  Let go, embrace truth, beauty, transform and breathe.

To share in a yoga class with me, please visit www.yogamandala.com for details.

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