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Yoga

Why do Yoga Studios in Amsterdam offer so many styles of Yoga?

Yoga studios in Amsterdam offer a lot of different yoga styles. To discover the origin of all these styles of Yoga, we need to take a look at the past. Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago. And, although different styles of Yoga already existed also back then, these different forms were mainly focussed on either the body (Hatha), the mind (Jnana), the heart (Bhakti) or a combination of all these paths (Raja). The vast amount of different physical styles of Yoga was not yet so cultivated as it is today.

Over the last 150 years, Yoga made its way from India into the rest of the world. To make Yoga easier to access for Western people, the physical aspect of Yoga (Hatha Yoga) was the main aspect that was adapted. In the West, we are schooled differently than in India. Our world view today is based on a scientific and objective way of reviewing the world. That is why, for us, entering a subjective practice like Yoga is easier through something relatable like the body. From this starting point, slowly we can start to experience the deeper, holistic benefits Yoga has to offer.

Read more about what Yoga and the realization of Yoga really means! 

 

How did so many styles of Yoga came into existence?

There is a vast amount of different people in the world, all with different constitutions and preferences. To make the practice of Yoga more accessible for a wider audience, there was a need for different, more specific branches. That is why certain aspects of Hatha Yoga were split off into different styles of Yoga. For instance, to satisfy people with active minds, the flow aspect of Hatha Yoga was adapted into different Vinyasa Flow and Power Yoga classes. For the more introspective types of people, Yin Yoga was distilled from the Restorative aspect of Hatha Yoga.

It is good to realize we all need different styles at different times in our lives. The one day, Vinyasa Yoga serves us and the other day Yin Yoga will help us enormously. This only shows the wide range the whole teaching of Hatha Yoga encompasses. All these paths are as beautiful and important as the other. They can all equally serve as a path towards the realization of Yoga. We can choose one path and stick to it religiously, or combine different styles in our practice next to each other. Both can learn and teach us a lot. There is no right or wrong in this matter.

Check our class page for all the different styles of Yoga we currently offer.

 

What is Iyengar Yoga?

We, as LiveYoga Amsterdam, started out with being purely an Iyengar Yoga Studio. B.K.S Iyengar was a Hatha Yoga teacher from India who, in particular, emphasized the importance of aligning the body properly in poses (asanas). To do so, he invented the use of Yoga props to help students align in poses that, otherwise, their body could not perform. During his 60 years of teaching Yoga, he developed a methodical system in which his teaching was preserved. This is what is called Iyengar Yoga today. Iyengar self did not agree with that name by the way. He claimed that he simply was teaching Hatha Yoga like it was described in the ancient scriptures.

 

What styles of Yoga do we teach at LiveYoga Amsterdam?

We recognize that different students are served with different styles and not just Iyengar Yoga. Even students that love the style of Iyengar, are sometimes served by a different approach. Because we do not want to be dogmatic, we move with the changes of the time while also maintaining true to the core principles that Iyengar shared with us. Just like Yoga teaches us, the inner core is unchanging but the outer layers change constantly. We honour that cosmic dance between the permanent and the transient and try to keep it alive.

Because of this, our schedule has changed accordingly while staying grounded in our core principles. You will see that nowadays, next to Iyengar Yoga, we offer Yin Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Pilates, Iyengar Flow, Restorative Yoga, Sun Salutations, Meditation and different kinds of Breathing classes. Still, in all our classes, you will find that inner and outer alignment is a very important part of our teachings. The wisdom Iyengar shared with us during his life is still very much alive, even years after he left his body.

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The Fifth/ Throat Chakra and what you need to know about it

The Fifth / Throat Chakra governs our energies of truth, expression, healing and creativity. Part of our self-development journey is knowing and accepting who we are. Being able to watch our inner world, and accept it, allows us to live and express it with an authentic voice – to show our true colors. This process requires some distance from our inner personal-dynamics. Such an objective, non-judgmental space of awareness is the birthplace of true expression, healing and creativity. The name of the Throat Chakra in Sanskrit is Vishuddhi Chakra. Here is what you should know about it and its associated gemstones and crystals.

 

WHAT IS THE FIFTH THROAT CHAKRA AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT US?

The fifth chakra is referred to as the Throat Chakra. It is located in the V of the collarbone at the lower neck and is our center of communication, sound, and expression of creativity via thought, speech, and writing. It represents our connection to our innermost truth and our ability to express it in our own unique way. The potential for change, transformation and healing are all located here. The throat chakra is associated with the element Space and its primary color is Blue. Physically it governs the organs located around the Throat and Neck region such as the vocal cords, the entire mouth, and the thyroid gland.

Our Voice and Hearing are the primary active aspects of the Fifth Chakra and their balance is essential to it. The sound vibrations of our voice convey to the world around us what is going on within us on all levels (mental, emotional, spiritual). Our ability to truly listen to the world is our primary source of spiritual learning. When both aspects are in tune we learn not only the integrity that comes from living our true colors, but also develop an objective, non-judgmental perspective of the world (outer and inner) as well as true creativity.

 

HOW DOES IT FEEL WHEN THE THROAT CHAKRA IS IN BALANCE?

 

In life, we experience ourselves as individuals separated from the world around us. We have our own body, Sensations, and thoughts which are ours alone and which we need to take care of. We also know, however, that there is a non-personal aspect to life. There are people around us, a culture, a society, animals and other living beings, as well as a historical context, and ultimately god. A balanced life according to the chakra system represents an evolution from the personal to the spiritual, from the subjective to the Objective. It’s a spiritual journey of perspective and ultimately – Identity.

 

Read the full article on ManipuraMala.com 

The Fourth/ Hearth Chakra and what you need to know about it

The Fourth/ Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra in Sanskrit) is the loving center of our being. Positioned at the very center of all the chakras, it naturally balances the physical energy of our body and the intellectual energy of our mind. People refer to as the ‘hidden city’ or the ‘cave of the heart’. Our Fourth / Heart Chakra is the doorway to our deepest self. With its qualities of Love, Compassion, Gratitude, and Courage its the connection between our personal desires and our higher wisdom, between our emotions and thoughts.

A Simple Guide to the Root chakra.
A Simple Guide to the Sacral Chakra
A Simple Guide to the Solar Plexus Chakra.

 

What is The Fourth/ Heart Chakra and how does it affect us?

The Fourth/ Heart Chakra is located behind the breast bone, in front of the spine, and between the shoulder blades. Relevant organs include the heart, lungs, circulatory system, shoulders, and upper back. It is the center of love, compassion, and spirituality. It is associated with the Air Element and its primary color is Green.  Since the heart chakra is connecting both body and mind with Spirit (consciousness).

The heart chakra is the center of Love which governs our ability to relate to the world, outwardly and inwardly, from an objective place. While it’s often described as our ability to give and receive love, In essence, it’s a bit wider than that. Seeing the world, and ourselves, objectively allows us to step outside of our personality/individuality. This is a necessary step in our development which allows us to experience love, care, acceptance, compassion, etc.

The three lower chakras deal with our individual self, its primal needsemotions, and even personal growth. The three highest chakras, on the other hand, are less personal as they deal with our spiritual essence and our connection to Spirit. The Heart Chakra is right in the middle. It acts as the bridge between our lower and higher energies. It recognizes both as important and when in balance it harmonizes them into a greater whole. This alchemy between our Earthy and Spiritual essence happens through the Heart Chakra and its qualities of Love, Insight, Courage, and Compassion.

 

How does it feel when the Heart is in Balance?

 

Read full article on ManipuraMala 

The Third/ Solar Plexus Chakra and what you need to know about it

The Third/ Solar Plexus Chakra deals with our personal growth and development. A prominent part of our development is to discover our place and purpose in the world. When our primal survival needs are met, and we build a healthy emotional relation to pleasure through our body, we begin to investigate what it is we further want from life. To feel fulfilled and happy, we want to claim our unique place in the circle of life. From this natural urge to define ourselves, we begin to explore what it is that makes us unique and how we can use that to find our purpose. The energies that govern this personal sense of I-ness are located in our Third/Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura in Sanskrit). It is associated with the element of fire.  The third Chakra is the home of our power, self-esteem, self-image, energy, will, responsibility, and life purpose.

A Simple Guide to the Root chakra.
A Simple Guide to the Sacral Chakra

 

What is The Third/ Solar Plexus Chakra and how it affects us

The Third Chakra is located just below the solar plexus (our diaphragm). It is in the centre of what is often described as the gut-brain. Since our guts are lined up with many nerve cells, it forms a direct connection with the brain. The constant dialogue between the gut (emotions) and the brain (thoughts) results in a personal sense of I that is unique and authentic and wishes to apply itself onto the world.

These energies of personal will, power, self-esteem, digestion and assertiveness are part of the Solar Plexus Chakra, which is associated with the element Fire. This Fire quality pushes us to develop, discover and to expand our life all the time from inside out. From here our authentic personality grows as we begin to touch the world in our own meaningful and unique way.

 

How does it feel when we have a healthy sense of Self?

Read full article on ManipuraMala

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The Second/ Sacral Chakra and what you need to know about it

The Second/ Sacral Chakra is about our senses and emotions. As children, we begin to know the world through our senses. They tell us which things cause pleasure or pain. Naturally, we start longing for pleasure and avoiding pain by trying to control the things we come in touch with. This dialogue with the world affects much of our sensuality, libido, and passion for anything we do. These energies are located at our Second/ Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana in Sanskrit). which governs the ‘pleasure seeker’ inside us. Here is what you should know about it and the way to balance it.

A Simple Guide to the Root chakra.
A Simple Guide to the Solar Plexus Chakra.

What is The Second/ Sacral Chakra and how it affects us

The Second/ Sacral Chakra is located at the roof of the pelvis, just below the navel. Together with the first chakra, it governs the primal energies of our body. But while the First/ Root Chakra mostly deals with our primal need for survival, the Sacral Chakra is about the body’s interaction with the external world. It governs our emotional reaction to its sensations.

When our roots are firmly planted (being physically safe and grounded), we want to experience the world. As we grow, our emotional landscape develops through interaction with the world. The nourishment we receive on this level is not only physical but mostly sensory and emotional. We discover the pleasure in things and develop cravings to the positive sensations that some bring us. Since we are not in control over our sensations or their duration, we begin to develop emotional reactions towards them. We crave pleasant things and fear their unavoidable end. On the other hand, we fear other things and long for their end.

The emotional energy in our Sacral Chakra (which is associated with the Water Element) is forever in motion. It keeps flowing and changing throughout our lives. Like water, our push and pull game with the world is in constant flux and never rest. Our sexuality, creativity, and passions all arise from here. So too most of our addictions and fixations. In many cases, this energy is the silent driving force behind what we do (or avoid) in the world as adults.

How our emotional and sexual energies become balanced?

 

Read the full article on ManipuraMala

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The First/ Root Chakra and what you need to know about it

The First/ Root Chakra governs our primal needs to survive, to be safe, and to belong. To survive we need food, shelter, and protection from danger. It is difficult for us to live a balanced and happy life when these basic needs are not taken care off. We need to feel connected to the Earth by being an integral part of it. These primal energies are centred in our Root Chakra (Muladhara in Sanskrit). Here is what you should know about it!

A Simple Guide to the Sacral Chakra

A Simple Guide to the Solar Plexus Chakra.

 

What is The First/ Root Chakra and how it affects us

The Root chakra locates at the base of our spine, just below the tailbone. It is all about security, safety and a sense of belonging. In simple words – Grounding.  It takes care of our primal needs, physically, mentally and emotionally. Only after this happens, we have a solid foundation to evolve as human beings. Just like plants; first the roots arise, then the stem grows, the leaves, and finally, flowers appear. In other words; without a proper foundation of safety and belonging, it is difficult to speak of happiness and fulfilment on higher levels.

 

How do we plant our Roots firmly?

Read the full article on ManipuraMala 

 

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Sanskrit Dictionary – the language of yoga

Sanskrit is the original language of yoga. The names of the asanas (postures) often help to understand the pose. Some are names of sages from a known legend/poem, while others are names of animals, body parts, movements, and more.

The Sanskrit names of asanas are used in most Iyengar classes. I found that I could benefit more from the asana if I know the Sanskrit name. I immediately prepare for the following asana and don’t have to wait and see what others are doing first.

I made this list when I wanted to learn the Sanskrit names. I chose the words that were part of the most common asanas practised in class at the time. It is not a complete list but it should get you going.

 

Sanskrit – English Dictionary

 

Sanskrit English Asanas (Sanskrit) Poses (English)
Tada mountain Tadasana Mountain pose
Vrksa tree Vrksasana, Adho Mukha Vrksasana Tree pose, Full Arm balance pose
Utthita extended, streched Utthita Trikonasana, Utthita Parsvakonasana, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Extended trianlge pose, Extended lateral angle pose, Extended hand-to-big-toe pose.
Tri three Utthita Trikonasana Extended trianlge pose
Kona angle Utthita Trikonasana, Baddha Konasana, Supta Konasana Extended trianlge pose, Bound angle pose, Reclining angle pose
Trikona traingle Utthita Trikonasana Extended trianlge pose
Parivrtta revolved, turned round or back Parivrtta Trikonasana, parivrtta Parsvakonasana, Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana Revolving triangle, Revolving lateral angle pose, Revolving head-to-knee pose
Parsva side, flank Utthita Parsvakonasana, Parsva Halasana Extended lateral angle pose, Side Plough pose
Vira hero, warrior Virasana Hero pose
Virabhadra name of a hero in Siva’s army Virabhadrasana (I,II,III) Warrior (I,II,III)
Supta supine, lying down Supta Virasana, Supta Baddha Konasana, Supta Padangusthasana Reclining Hero pose, Rclining bound angle pose, Reclining hand-to-big-toe pose
Ardha half Ardha Chandrasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana (I,II, III) Half-moon pose, Half spinal twists
Chandra moon Ardha Chandrasana Half-moon pose
Hasta hand Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Padahastasana Extended hand-to-big-toe pose. Hand under foot pose
Pada foot Padangusthasana, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Prasarita Padottanasana Hand-to-big-toe pose, Extended hand-to-big-toe pose, Wide-legged forward extension
Angustha the big toe Padangusthasana Hand-to-big-toe pose
Ut intense Parsvottanasana Intense side stretch pose
Tan to extend, stretch, lengthen Parsvottanasana Intense side stretch pose
Uttana intense strecth Parsvottanasana, Prasarita Padottanasana, Uttanasana, Paschimottanasana Intense side stretch pose, Intense standing forward extension, Intense seated forward extension
Prasarita expanded, spread Prasarita Padottanasana Wide-legged forward extension
Ustra camel Ustrasana Camel pose
Utkata powerful, fierce, uneven Utkatasana Chair pose
Garuda eagle Garudasana Eagle pose
Salabha locust Salabhasana Locust pose
Dhanu bow Dhanurasana, Urdhva Dhanurasana Bow pose, Upward Bow or Full Wheel pose
Danda staff, rod Dandasana Staff pose
Chatur four Chaturanga dandasana Four-Limbed Staff pose
Anga limb, parts Chaturanga dandasana Four-Limbed Staff pose
Bhujanga serpent Bhujangasana Cobra pose
Urdhva upwards Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Urdhva Dandasana Upward facing dog pose. Upward staff pose
Adho downwards Adho Mukha Svanasana Downward facing dog pose
Mukha face, mouth Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Gomukhasana, Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana, Adho Mukha Vrksasana Upward facing dog pose, Downward facing dog pose, Cow-face pose, Upward facing intense west stretch, Full arm balance pose
Svana dog Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana Upward facing dog pose, Downward facing dog pose
Paripurna entire, complete Paripurna Navasana Full Boat pose
Nava ship, boat Paripurna Navasana, Ardha Navasana Full Boat pose, Half boat pose
Go cow Gomukhasana Cow face pose
Siddha Semi-divine being, inspired sage, seer, prophet Siddhasana Accomplished pose
Baddha caught, restrained Baddha Konasana Bound angle pose
Padma lotus Padmasana Lotus pose
Matsya fish Matsyasana Fish pose
Matsyendra Lord of the fish, one of founders of Hatha Vidya Matsyendrasana Spinal twist
Janu knee Janu Sirsasana Head to knee forward extension
Sirsa head Sirsasana Head stand
Paschima the west (back of body) Paschimottanasana Seated forward extension pose.
Marichi Ray of light. Name of a sage. Son of Brahma and grandfather of Surya Marichyasana (I,II) Marichi’s pose. Twist
Surya sun Surya Namaskar Sun salutation
Upavistha seated Upavistha Konasana Wide-angle seated forward extension pose
Purva the east (front of body) Purvottanasana Upward Plank pose
Salamba with support Salamba Sirsasana, Salamba Sarvangasana Supported Head-stand, Supported shoulder-stand
Sarva all Salamba Sarvangasana Supported All limbs pose (Shoulder stand)
Eka one Eka Pada Sirsasana, Eka Pada Sarvangasana, Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana One-legged head stand, One-legged shoulder stand, One-legged inverted staff pose
Hala plough Halasana Plough pose
Karna ear Karnapidasana Ear-pressure pose
Pida pain, discomfort, pressure Karnapidasana Ear-pressure pose
Setu Bridge, dam, dike Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Bridge pose
Bandha Construction/formation Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Bridge pose
Mayura peacock Mayurasana Peacock pose
Bharadvaja name of sage Bharadvajasana Bharadvaja’s twist pose
Mala garland Malasana Garland pose
Hamsa swan Hamsasana Swan pose
Pincha chin or feather Pincha Mayurasana Forearm balance pose
Kurma tortoise Kurmasana Tortoise pose
Skanda name of Kartikeya the god of war Skandasana God of War pose
Hanuman name of a powerful monkey Hanumanasana Monkey pose
Dwi two, both Dwi Padda Viparita Dandasana Two-legged Inverted Staff pose
Viparita reversed, inverted Dwi Padda Viparita Dandasana Two-legged Inverted Staff pose
Sava corpse Savasana Corpse pose
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Invocation to Sage Patanjali

At the beginning of Iyengar Yoga classes, we chant an invocation to sage Patanjali – the father of yoga.

Visit our schedule page to find out when we teach Iyengar Yoga at LiveYoga Amsterdam.
Every other week we have workshops based on the Iyengar Style of Yoga. Visit our Event page.

ABOUT SAGE PATANJALI

According to Indian mythology, Patanjali was the incarnation of lord Adisesa. Legend says he fell into the praying hands of Ganukia who had no children. One day she was praying to the Sun God while a little snake in the water in the palms of her hands turned into a human shape. She raised him as her child and named him Patanjali; pata = fall, anjali = the folding of the hands during prayer.

Patanjali is the author of three important commentaries; the Mahabhasya, on grammar for right speech, Ayurveda, medicine for health, and The Yoga Sutras – showing how through Yoga practice we can gain control on our mind and emotions, overcome obstacles and attain union with the divine.

INVOCATION TO PATANJALI | ENGLISH TRANSLATION

patanjali invocation

Salutation to the noblest sage – Patanjali, who gave us yoga for serenity of mind, grammar for purity of speech, and medicine for the health of the body.

I prostrate before Patanjali, whose upper body has a human form, whose arms hold a conch and disk, and whose crowned by a thousand headed cobra,

O incarnation of Adisesa, my salutations to Thee.

ABOUT THE SYMBOLS IN THE INVOCATION:

The conch and the disk are symbols for alarm and destruction in the case of a danger such as evil thoughts or disease. Through the practice of yoga, one learns to recognize and eliminate these evil thoughts or diseases and reach God.

The Cobra has many symbols, every religion had some sort of serpent worship. In the ‘Hathayoga Paradipika’ the Lord of Serpents, Ananta (=infinite, eternal), supports the earth and protects it. It is believed that snakes shed their skins and emerge as new, therefore they are a symbol of eternity, fertility, regeneration, evolution and wisdom. It’s venom is poisonous but medicinal, it represents the practice of Yoga in which we learn how to convert emotions like anger, greed and lust to control, contentment, love and compassion.

The Human Torso symbolises the essence of Yoga, our evolution through the yoga practice. As Patanjali transformed from a small snake into a human body, so does anyone can grow, expand their intelligence and transform.

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Pratyahara: What It Means To “Withdraw”

In a world of information overload, the yoga practice of pratyahara offers us a haven of silence.

During my first few months of yoga classes, the teacher taught us to backbend deeply during the first step of Sun Salutation. Not only were we encouraged to bend backward deeply, we were also taught to drop our heads back as far as we could. Occasionally a student would pass out in the middle of the movement. Luckily, no one ever hurt themselves in their fall to the floor. I was intrigued to discover that other students in the class perceived the fainting not as a physical problem, but as some form of spiritual event.

For many years I’ve suspected that this sudden fainting—this withdrawal from the world—was not a spiritual event at all, but simply a physiological one. People probably fainted because taking the head back can momentarily block the vertebral arteries in the neck, reducing the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain. As I look back, however, I think my fellow students’ confusion mirrors the confusion we all have about the yoga practice of pratyahara—about what it means to withdraw from the senses and the world.

Find our Yoga Nidra and other Mindfulness classes that promote Pratyahara on our Schedule Page.

What Is Pratyahara?

In the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali—the most ancient and revered sourcebook for yoga practice—the second chapter is filled with teachings about the ashtanga (eight-limbed) yoga system. The system is presented as a series of practices which begin with “external limbs” like ethical precepts and move toward more “internal limbs” like meditation. The fifth step or limb is called pratyahara and is defined as “the conscious withdrawal of energy from the senses.” Almost without exception yoga students are puzzled by this limb. We seem to inherently understand the basic ethical teachings like satya (the practice of truthfulness), and the basic physical teachings like asana (the practice of posture), and pranayama (the use of breath to affect the mind). But for most of us the practice of pratyahara remains elusive.

One way to begin to understand pratyahara on an experiential level is to focus on a familiar yoga posture, Savasana (Corpse Pose). This pose is done lying supine on the floor and is the practice of relaxing deeply. The first stage of Savasana involves physiological relaxation. In this stage, as you become comfortable, there is first an awareness of the muscles gradually relaxing, then of the breath slowing, and finally of the body completely letting go. While delicious, this first stage is only the beginning of the practice.

For years I interpreted the teachings I heard about pratyahara to mean that I must literally, physically withdraw from the world in order to be a true disciple of yoga. I reacted with dismay to this teaching. I was an engaged person, busy studying physical therapy in school to improve my yoga teaching. In addition, I was married and contemplating having several children. I sometimes worried that unless I separated myself from all these commitments, I was doomed to be an inferior yoga student.

Today I feel differently. I realize that life involves interactions with other people, and that often those interactions include an element of conflict. In fact, I don’t even need another person to be in conflict. I can be, and occasionally am, in conflict within myself. Sometimes I’m tempted to withdraw to avoid these conflicts, but I know that this withdrawal is not what pratyahara is about.

I like to think that for Patanjali pratyahara meant something different than a simple withdrawal from life. To me, pratyahara means that even as I participate in the task at hand, I have a space between the world around me and my responses to that world. In other words, no matter how much I practice meditation and postures and breathing, there will still be many times when I act in response to people and situations. Responding to the world isn’t a problem in and of itself; the problem comes when I respond with knee-jerk reactions rather than with actions that I choose.

Ultimately, the practice of pratyahara—in fact, all the practices of yoga—enable me to choose my responses instead of merely reacting. I can choose to dance with any stimulus that comes my way, or I can choose to step back and not respond to that stimulus. The variable is not what’s around me, but how I choose to use my energy. If I retreat to a cave in the mountains, I can still agitate my nervous system; I can still generate thoughts and relive past reactions. To me, practicing pratyahara doesn’t mean running away from stimulation (which is basically impossible). Rather, practicing pratyahara means remaining in the middle of a stimulating environment and consciously not reacting, but instead choosing how to respond.

How To Practice Pratyahara

I also incorporate the practice of pratyahara into my asana practice. When I remain still within a pose, I often have numerous thoughts. Sometimes I’m in conflict about whether to stay in the pose or come out of it. Sometimes I catch myself judging whether I’m doing the pose well or not so well. At these times, when I realize my mind is busy, I practice pratyahara by withdrawing my energy from my thoughts about the pose and focusing instead on the pose itself.

Another way I have begun to practice pratyahara is to pay attention to my need to seek out stimulation as an escape. I try to notice when I want to escape from my life by finding highly stimulating environments. For example, sometimes I want to go to a movie to escape; sometimes I want to go to the mall. I don’t think going to the mall or to a movie is in and of itself problematic. But when I use these stimulating activities to escape, it can interfere with my intention to be consciously present in every moment.

When I was a child, I loved to go on carnival rides. The stimulation of the roller coaster would shut out all other awareness. Now that I am a student of yoga, I am more aware of the urge to drown out my conflicts with overstimulation. Whenever I can notice my attempt to escape into stimulation, I am using pratyahara as a powerful tool to improve my daily life. In these moments I begin to understand the difference between withdrawing and escaping, between pratyahara and forgetting my practice. Learning to incorporate my yoga practice into my daily life in this way is a challenge, but it is a challenge that gives meaning and direction to my life.

Taken From: https://www.yogajournal.com/

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How Often Should You Do Yoga?

For many of us, especially those of us who sit at a desk all day, a consistent goal is to add more movement to our lives. And when people go looking for a new exercise program, many turn to yoga thanks to it’s huge list of benefits, such as weight loss, increased strength, and stress relief. But this new exercise routine brings up some questions, like how often should you do yoga, where should you do it, and how can you avoid injury.

To answer those questions and more, we turned to the experts.

No matter how often you want to practice, you can find classes that will fit your practice within our studio! 

How many times a week should I do yoga?

The answer to how often you should do yoga is dependent upon many different factors, including how much time you have, your ability to commit financially, your personal goals, your fitness level, and your experience with yoga.

So although there’s not exactly a magic, one-size-fits-all answer to this question, Lizzie Brooks, E-RYT yoga teacher in Austin, Texas, provides some helpful insight into how often you should do yoga. “Some yoga is always better than no yoga. So if you can only do one class a week, obviously that’s better than none,” she says.

However, since your body has a habit of reverting back to old tension patterns, you might want to make an effort to do yoga more than one day a week. “If you can up your yoga to at least three classes a week, your body and brain will ‘remember’ the poses better,” Brooks adds.

 

How much yoga should I do as a beginner?

People who are just starting yoga can follow the same guidelines listed above, with a few additional suggestions.

According to Yoga52 instructor Odette Hughes, yoga beginners should listen to their bodies to know what’s right for them. “Starting with one class a week is a good general guideline so that you can gain familiarity with the postures and new ways of moving,” Hughes says. “When you start feeling like you need more challenge, then start to increase your practice duration or do a harder class.”

But be cautious of overloading right out of the gate. “I see folks go hard and fast for months only to burn out,” Brooks says. This is where “listening to your body” really comes into play. If you feel like your body needs time to rest between yoga classes, then let it rest. If you feel discomfort or pain in a pose or movement, then modify it or opt out of it.

“Pain is your body’s signal that something is not working for it,” Hughes says. “Even if another person doesn’t feel the same thing in the same pose, you need to listen to your own body. As long as you do this and don’t push yourself too hard, yoga will be therapeutic and not too taxing to your body.”

 

Can you get injured by doing yoga too much or too little?

As with most everything in life, balance is key. Both too much and too little movement can be detrimental to health, and this holds true for yoga, too.

“Our muscles become achy and imbalanced when we don’t move enough,” Hughes says. “Our cultural habit of sitting for hours every day really harms our body and often contributes to pain we experience.” Adding some yoga into your routine is a great way to help you move more throughout your week.

As to the reverse, it’s also possible to do too much yoga. “You can injure yourself in any type of exercise,” Brooks says. “I see students pushing way too hard in poses and I remind them to pull back.” Instead of thinking that more is always better, listen to your body and slow down if it feels like you’re doing too much.

 

Do I need a yoga instructor, or can I do yoga at home?

Though a home practice gives you tons of flexibility with your schedule, having a teacher guide you through your yoga practice also has a lot of benefits. “I am a huge fan of a home practice, but I feel that going to public classes first can give a student a bit more guidance and insight on healthy movement,” says Brooks.

However, yoga studios can be expensive and inconvenient. Luckily, if you find the right at-home yoga materials, you can get the benefits of an instructor wherever you are. Take Yoga52 for example, which can be streamed from any device connected to the Internet. “This program gives you all the benefits of yoga with an instructor thanks to the very precise and thorough instructions,” says Marie Grujicic-Delage, a Yoga52 instructor.

This gives you the best of both worlds: starting yoga with an instructor and doing it from the comfort of your home on your own schedule.

 

The Takeaway

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how much yoga is right for you. What’s most important is listening to your body and adding more movement as it’s ready. Start somewhere, and find how much yoga is right for you.

Taken From: https://www.openfit.com/

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