Kundalini Yoga Classes

Kundalini yoga involves movement, breath work, relaxation, chanting and meditation. It is a healing practice and it creates a shift in your energy, you definitely feel different after practicing. Kundalini yoga is for everyone, it can be a very strong or a gentle practice, and everything in between- depending on what you need and enjoy. Kundalini yoga is an ancient practice that comes from India and was brought to the west in the 1960s by the master of kundalini yoga “Yogi Bhajan”. I pray to Yogi Bhajan and his presence guides me through the class.

In kundalini yoga we do “kriyas”. A kriya is a set of exercises done for a specific purpose, and there are thousands of kriyas. So there are kriyas for each chakra, there are kriyas for the immune system, for mental health, for digestion, for releasing addictions, and for general health and balance and there are kriyas for many other areas. The classes I teach are suitable for beginners through to advanced, I guide you to work at your level. I love kundalini yoga and I have been practicing it most days for the last 14 years. This has been a very healing and empowering experience for me and it brings me joy to share this beautiful yoga with others.

Kundalini classes are offered on Mondays between 3.30pm to 5pm – Wednesdays from 7am to 8.30am and 3.30pm to 5pm.

Yoga in Winter

The seasons are changing – Winter is about to arrive!!!

The Kapha dosha (energy that defines a persons makeup) dominates and with its characteristics of coolness, dampness, heaviness and sluggishness it’s no wonder you want lock yourself away. In the colder months the natural instinct is to rug up in front of a fire-place with a warm cup of tea and hide away from the winter weather, the desire to hibernate has arrived! A nice but unrealistic notion! It’s very important to remember that winter is not a time to stop your Yoga practise, it’s time to change your practise in accordance with the season.

You can’t escape what the universe is offering, your part of it, you still have to function and go about your daily life regardless of the weather. You can partially withdraw from life over winter but to do so you have to live an artificial life, fake heating, fake lighting, eating unseasonal foods, the list goes on. You may be able to exist like this but its false, this is not living, it’s out of step with the universe and it will have diminishing effects on your wellness.

A winter practise helps you keep warm. Muscles produce heat in the body when they contract, the process of converting chemical energy to mechanical energy produces heat, this increases the flow of blood through your body, which keeps you warm. Intelligent movement will help prevent muscular-joint pain and stiffness, your immune system remains strong and in conjunction with a healthy diet will help prevent the usual winter illnesses.

The human body is meant to move, its that simple. As soon as mobility is lost, wellness declines.

Have you noticed how people walk around in contracted bodies during winter, shoulders hunched, upper backs rounded and arms wrapped across the their chests all in an effort to maintain body heat. This “closed” gesture in movement will biomechanically destroy posture and at a deeper level prevent the flow of subtle energy throughout the body causing a decline in function and wellness.

Dull, gloomy and cold weather may make you feel low and lethargic but there’s nothing more uplifting and mood changing than your regular Yoga practise.
There is a science behind the sequencing of your Yoga class, hopefully your noticing that your practise has been altered to cater for the change in season. An intelligent and well structured Yoga sequence is easy to maintain in winter or any other time of the year if you maintain your motivation. You can stay strong and healthy if you keep moving and dont allow the cold weather to hinder your practise.

Stay warm, keep moving and be gentle with yourselves.

 

Not “Chic” but “Real”

Hey Peninsula Yogis, looks like we missed out on being rated as one of the Central Coasts “chic” yoga studios. Upon hearing this news I thought I’d better find out exactly what “chic” means, some of the descriptions are,- “stylish, elegant, sophisticated, dapper, debonair, attractive, stylish, fashionable, ultra-modern, trendy, snappy”.

All things that we definitely are NOT.

Our studio sits in a pot holed back lane, with garbage dumpsters and possibly the Central Coasts ugliest building for a view. We have a resident homeless man camped across the road. We hear all the rantings of a rather cranky local business man and a lot our classes are accompanied by the vibrations and hum of industrial washing machines. We encourage GREAT jokes, conversation and interaction.

Where definitely not “Chic”. We must be doing something right though! ! Most of our classes are full, we’ve been established for over 12 years, the studio goes from strength to strength.

The success of our studio is an endorsement for traditional yoga without gimmick, yoga designed for real people offering functional, practicable and structured movement which considers the strengths and restrictions of each individual.

 

View from studio door

Kundalini Classes

KUNDALINI YOGA

Kundalini Yoga is now being offered at Peninsula Yoga

Kundalini classes offer an uplifting blend of spiritual and physical practices, Kundalini Yoga incorporates movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and the chanting of mantras, such as Sat Nam, meaning “truth is my identity.” The goal is to build physical vitality and increase consciousness.

Monday and Wednesday at 3.30pm.

Satya (Truth)

SATYA – (Truthfulness) is the second of “yamas” (restraints) documented by Patanjali in his classic treatise the Yoga Sutra. The yamas are things that you shouldn’t do and along with the Niyamas constitute yoga’s ethical guidelines for living.

The concept of Satya or truth is wide-reaching and very detailed, being truthful to yourself, to others in both actions and words. Apparently we start to understand the concept of untruthfulness around the age of 3, like any behaviour if its practiced enough, the better you develop your lying skills and the more deceitful you become.

Certain personality types will feel their superior to others and their particular style of untruthfulness is somehow a noble course and justified through their deflective and hypocritical behaviours.

Remember the person who berates and accuses the most often and the loudest is usually doing the exact thing there accusing someone else of doing.

Be truthful to yourself, believe in yourself, be gentle with yourself.

Drishti (Gaze Point)

Yoga asana (movement) is much more than exercise. If practiced correctly it’s a moving meditation or a relaxation in action. Mindful, intelligent and structured movement is what separates asana from an exercise routine.

An understanding of the 5th limb of yoga “pratyahara” meaning ‘withdrawal of the senses’ is crucial in developing a yoga practice. Pratyahara forms a link between external and internal focus which moves the practitioner to higher states of concentration and meditation.

A technique used to develop focus and concentration is drishti or gaze point (conscious seeing), the drishti established reflects the alignment of the pose, there’s 9 drishti’s relating to various parts of the body, candles and mandala’s can also be used. If your eyes are darting around the room while your practicing your scattering your energy. Establishing drishti allows your mind to focus on a single point without distraction from other external stimulus. Where ever you focus your gaze (drishti) your energy (concentration) will naturally be directed to that place.

I’ve had a few interesting drishti fails in my classes. One person established a drishti on a billboard advertising pizza outside the studio, I realized her mind had definitely drifted from practice when she sat on her mat and ordered a pizza mid class. Another person thought that I was jealous of her because she felt her asana practice was superior to mine. It may well have been true but making that comment is ego driven and indicates a lack of understanding of the body-mind connection.

As you move through the various poses the bio-feedback from your body allows you to discover your inner world. Your trying to make your body comfortable in what you might be finding to be an uncomfortable position. Your assessing whether you can take yourself deeper or do you need to practice a modified version of the pose, do you need to come out of the pose completely, what sensations are you experiencing, where can you strengthen or relax your body, where can you direct your breath, have you established a gaze point.

The aim of asana practice is the body-mind connection, being present, being now! You can’t change the past it’s happened, you can’t live in the future, it hasn’t happened. What you have is the present moment. Yoga offers all the tools to live in the “now” particularly if you take your moving practices beyond the physical

Vrksasana

Yama – Brahmacharya

The Yama’s and Niyama’s offer essential blueprints for any practitioner of yoga, quite simply they outline yoga’s moral and ethical codes for living. Patanjali codified this series of ethics very succinctly in his classic treatise ‘The Yoga Sutra’. Quite simply Yama’s are things you shouldn’t do (restraints) and Niyama’s are things you should do (observations)

The Yama’s comprise Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truth), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (chastity, marital fidelity or sexual restraint) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)

The 4th Yama (brahmacharya) is quite pertinent at the moment considering revelations of sexual misconduct by some high profile men, the world of yoga hasn’t been spared. Photos of Pattabhi Jois indecently assaulting students under the guise of “alignment adjustment” have been well documented, the deeds of Bikram Choudhury are sickening. 

The concept of brahmacharya is very wide. It forms part of the ashrama or age based stages of human life, a component of this stage is celibacy. Another connotation of brahmacharya is the principle of celibacy when unmarried and fidelity when married in conjunction with leading an honourable and simple life. 

All very virtuous concepts and certainly not unreasonable behaviours. Undoubtedly when the principles of brahmacharya are not adhered to every other yama is breached. How can you possibly be considered a truthful and non-violent person if you’re not practising brahmacharya or being unfaithful in a relationship

Who sets the standards? Who judges? Society sets certain guidelines of acceptable behaviour but does the standard of society match the individual. Does karma play a role, it certainly has a balancing affect. Is self-assessment an adequate bench mark to determine yama compliance, probably not particularly if you don’t have a discerning mind. Individual thoughts and paradigms are developed over years of nature and nurture experiences. The mind’s “inner” critic with it’s cycle of negative and soul destroying dialogue can take people into a spiral of depressive thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. An over inflated ego can lead to feelings of superiority and a sense of entitlement, as the saying goes “Do what I say not what I do”. A person who berates and accuses the loudest and most often is usually doing the exact thing their accusing others of doing. Self assessment can be flawed due into individual belief systems.

The concepts of YAMA and NIYAMA will be just one topic of study offered in our upcoming yoga teacher training.

For more information and to receive a free information brochure click on to the link below.

 

http://info.adoreyoga.com/yoga-teacher-training-woy-woy

 

 

 

Asana is NOT yoga

Contemplating how to answer the question, “Am I good at Yoga?” A strange and ego driven question which is nearly impossible to answer.
Attending a yoga studio a few times a week and practicing an asana class doesn’t constitute “yoga”. The philosophy of yoga goes well beyond the physical aspects which are emphasised in the west.
Even the question “Am I good at yoga asana?” isn’t easy to answer. A person may have perfect alignment in a pose but the teacher has no idea what level of mindfulness has been established. Your posture, gaze and breath are indicators but only the practitioner knows their level of mindfulness.
Even asking the question “Am I good” indicates an over inflated ego and yogic deficiency. Don’t over analyse but feel the practices and benefit.