The Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali, the ancient treatise on Yoga, describes Yoga as having eight core elements, each of which is essential to the practice of Yoga and living a meaningful, purposeful and stress-free life.
Understanding and living these eight core elements deepens and accelerates our progress in Yoga. It is the foundation of all practice.
The practice of Eightfold Yoga aligns mind, heart and body, but more than that, it supports and fosters the spiritual aspects of our nature: our sense of freedom, strength and purpose in dealing with of the drama and demands of everyday life.
The main goals of Eightfold (Ashtanga) Yoga are relief from suffering and full alignment of body, heart, mind and spirit (kaivalyam) and also support for a meaningful and purposeful life (dharma).
In these three workshops we'll be exploring each of the eight parts in turn, beginning with the first two: Yama and Niyama.
First Workshop: Yama and Niyama
Yama and Niyama: the Core Understanding of All Yoga Practice
If you’re thinking of making a deeper commitment to Yoga or want a deeper understanding of the core concepts that make Yoga work, on your mat or in your everyday life, this is a workshop that will help you do that.
Many teachers and students have a narrow understanding of the core principles of Yama and Niyama and as a result aren’t fully able to use these ideas to transform their practice or their lives. As a result, the concepts remain abstract ideals; not lived practices.
Yama and Niyama are more than a list of ethical guidelines, more than a series of do’s and don’ts. They are the core concepts, the essential principles of all Yoga practice: ten simple ideas that can provide a basis for the optimal practice of Yoga and living your best life.
Experiencing the transformative power of the ten principles of Yama and Niyama is the single most important step you can take in taking your practice and your life to a whole new level of peace and freedom.
The five principles of Yama (non-forcing, loving what is, respect for differences, responsibility for self, allowing) teach us how to practice Yoga and live in peace and freedom. The five principles of Niyama (purity, contentment, radiance, mindfulness and harmony with Nature) unlock the true power of Yoga to change our life and the lives of the people around us for the better.
Join us as we explore each of the teachings of Yama and Niyama in depth. The program will include guided meditation, pranayama, discussion and natural energy attunement and is suitable for all levels of practice.
Second Workshop: Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara
Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara: Attaining Emotional Ease, Comfort, Balance and Stability
Do you feel grounded in a good way? Comfortable and steady in life? Asana in Yoga usually refers to being steady in physical postures, but in the context of the Yoga Sutras it has a much broader meaning.
Asana in Eightfold Yoga means our overall stance in life. It’s where we’re coming from in every situation: how steady, confident, comfortable and responsive we are facing our circumstances, whether they’re good, bad, or in between.
Asana means being secure, being aligned, being ready, willing and able to face life — feeling ready for anything. Not shaky, not dependent, not uncomfortable, and certainly not anxious. Asana is feeling comfortable and steady in every situation.
Pranayama is more than breathing exercises to steady your nerves. It’s learning how to be even-tempered, open, loving and happy. In this workshop we’ll be moving beyond breathing exercises and learning to directly work with energy to balance our emotions so that we’re calm, even-tempered, buoyant and confident — ready to face any challenge with ease and grace. That’s how Yoga should make you feel. This segment will include natural energetic attunement exercises to move you along the path to balanced emotions, which means more choices, more freedom.
Do unhelpful habits of mind drive you crazy? Do you obsess or perseverate? Or have fixed ideas or feelings that weigh you down? If so, then you need to learn more about the limb of Yoga called Pratyahara. Simply put, it’s the Yoga of how to release fixed ideas and feelings in order to be free of negative or unhelpful mental habits. Pratyahara isn’t withdrawal and it isn’t resistance. It’s perspective. It’s releasing fixations; it’s letting go of old habits and self-stories. It’s being able to look at the same old things from fresh new points of view so that you can see possibilities where once you only saw obstacles.
Third Workshop: Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi: Focus, Flow and Understanding
Dharana is the limb of Yoga that has to do with managing attention, managing focus. We all know about the millions of things that distract us from things that matter most: our peace, our well-being, and being able denjoy our daily lives without frustration or sacrifice.
If you’re lost in multitasking, finding it hard to focus, or feeling pulled in a lot of different directions, then Dharana, the Yoga of Focusing, is the practice that will teach you how to prioritize, release distraction and stay on task.
Dhyana, the Seventh limb of Yoga, is usually understood as meditation. But it’s really the ability to stay with tasks in an effortless, flowing and productive way. Living without any resistance. It’s "flow" in it’s best sense — moving through situations with grace, ease and purpose. It’s "going with the flow," in a mindful, smart and purposeful way.
We practice meditation in order to practice both Dharana and Dhyana, so we’ll be teaching and practicing traditional Yoga meditation in this workshop in order to demonstrate the concepts and help you train the mind to focus and stay focused in and effortless and enjoyable way.
Samadhi, the Eighth limb of Yoga is something you’ve already experienced to some extent. It’s peak performance: all parts of you positively aligned around one purpose, with no resistance and no reservationsSo any time you’ve been overjoyed, or thrilled, or blissfully happy, content without self-consciousness, you’ve dipped your toe into Samadhi. The Yoga practice of Samadhi just refers to the deep and deliberate and intentional experience of Samadhi in the context of practice (abhyasa) of daily life.
Samadhi has many levels and there are lots of different kinds of Samadhi, but simply put, it’s the experience of mental and emotional and physical alignment — experiential and intentional flow taken to it’s full extent.
Samadhi is a natural outcome of the alignment of all Eight limbs in any Yoga practice, and in this workshop, we’re not just going to be talking about it, we’ll be experiencing it, naturally, effortlessly, as a result of practice.
Dates and Times to be announced. Send me an email if you'd like to be included in my mailing list.