hipopenerAt this point, I haven't met a single person who hasn't heard of yoga, but being a yoga teacher, I get a lot of questions and comments about what exactly you do in yoga class. It is assumed that yoga is stretching and breathing and by practicing you will become healthier, calmer, and generally a better person. That is all very true, but what does yoga really mean? 

Yoga: Divine union. From the Sanskrit root verb "yuj" (to yoke, join, or unite). 

Yoga is an ancient science developed thousands of years ago around India, although the exact origins are uncertain. Yoga is for every person in every age; therefor yoga keep changing just as time keeps passing. What ancient yogis did many years ago may not exactly be what we are doing today, and that's ok. What's important is that the essence of yoga is still here. Yoga is and always will be a way for us to connect to the source. 

The teachings of yoga are based on many different philosophies and religions, but Yoga is NOT a religion, rather it is a discipline, one that leads to ultimate freedom and the movement of energy. 

Patanjali was the first to write down the teachings of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras. Traditionally they were passed down orally from teacher to student. Each Sutra says in some way what Yoga is and how to attain that divine state. 

Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind or the restraints of the modifications of the "mind-stuff". In clearer terms, when you can control the rising of the mind, you will experience Yoga or Union. So what is uniting? Well, the union ultimately happens between the individual consciousness (jivatman) and the universal consciousness (paramatman). Yoga aims at changing the individual, (that is why our practice consists of asana, pranayama, chanting, and meditation). Yoga does not bother much about changing the outside world. 

There is a Sanskrit saying, "As the mind, so the man; bondage or liberation are in your own mind." So whatever you think you manifest, If you think you are bound, you are, if you think you are liberated, you are! Things outside ourselves neither bind nor liberate us; only our attitude towards them does. The practice of Yoga brings clarity to the mind so that we can see and experience this. As Gandhi said, "be the change you wish to see in the world, for you cannot change the world if you cannot change yourself." Gandhi was a great Yogi, and his practice was Karma Yoga or selfless service to others. He also studied many great texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, so he was also a practitioner of Jnana Yoga. 

Most westerners practice Hatha Yoga (postures). There is also Bhakti Yoga (devotional/chanting), Jnana Yoga (knowledge/study), Karma Yoga (service), Kundalini Yoga (awaken and shake), Raja Yoga, also known as Ashtanga Yoga (8 limb path); the list goes on and on. It really doesn't matter what you practice, as long as what you do is focusing the mind and leading to that state of Yoga or now as we understand it, divine union. 

Yoga is basically an opportunity to return. To return to yourself and source. 

My flow is a mixture of Earth Medicine such as aromatherapy and tinctures, as well as breathwork, meditation, grounding, and emotional release. You will leave feeling connected to yourself, and the world around you.